Finding Balance

Posted on the Broadneck Patch, November 05, 2013
Written by: by Chris Mushinsky

Finding balance is something we all strive to achieve. It is a universal quest that transcends gender, background or walk in life.  For some, finding balance means finding an outlet to express ideas, reduce stress and keep physically fit.  Dance is one activity that offers just such a means to achieve balance.  From those of who dance recreationally to those who take classes and aspire to make dancing a career, there is a common feeling of joy that come from this creative form of movement.

This is why, when Emily Martin and her partner and mother Barbara Martin, purchased an Annapolis dance studio they wanted to remain the studio to reflect their own quest for balance.  After operating for over a year under the prior name, the studio now launches its new name, “Level Dance Project”.

“We selected the name because I have always found my own balance in life through dance and we relish being able to offer the same opportunity to our students. We were fortunate to have had the opportunity to purchase the award winning studio Rohanna Dance Productions (RDP) and after a year now feel the time is right to make the name our own”  said Emily Martin, dancer, choreographer, teacher and studio owner. “We strive to continue the tradition at the studio of allowing each dancer to find his or her own personal best and to use dance as a form of expression that can help our youth as they take their own life journey from elementary school through the teen and young adult years.”

Emily taught at Rohanna before purchasing the studio and prior to that danced and taught dance in New York City with the professional contemporary troop, Pushing Progress.  Each also was a member of the local dance ensemble, Dragon Fly and attended Anne Arundel Committee College with a associates degree in dance prior to moving to New York.

In the last year, under Emily’s direction, the studio participated in the Revolution National Dance competition with 15 other studios and hundreds of dance routines from all over the country and continued its award winning tradition.   The studio placed 1st overall in the large group age 14 category and 1st overall in the small group age 8 and under category. The studio also placed 2nd for their small group age 8 and under tap routine and Emily Martin received the prestigious choreography award for one of her contemporary pieces.

However, competition is not everything and there needs to be a balance in life. For Emily and Barbara Martin, their instructors and students, finding life balance also means giving back to others.  So on November 10th the studio’s competition parents will sponsor a vendor fair from 10AM -2PM.  There is no admission cost to the fair but the studio is requesting that those attending bring a non-perishable food item contribution to the Annapolis Lighthouse Shelter, a non-profit organization dedicated to help rebuild lives with compassion by providing shelter and services to prevent homelessness and empower people as they transition toward self-sufficiency.  “We hope to bring a few car loads full of food to the Light House Shelter from the Fair,” said Vicki Hinkle, mother of one of the dancers at Level Dance Production.  Over 21 vendors will be selling their goods. There will be baked goods, a game room, moon bounce and a consignment booth.

Level Dance Project is also working on an upcoming project. In February 2014 the studio plans to hold a benefit show for a local suicide prevention organization. All proceeds from this show would go to benefit the non-profit suicide prevention organization.  “We are still in the planning stages and hope to announce the details soon.  We want to give our dancers opportunities to give back as giving back is such an important part of finding true balance in life” said Emily Martin.

For more information about Level Dance Productions contact them at 410.349.3100 or go to www.leveldanceproject.com or visit them at 1572 Whitehall Road, Jemal’s Bay 50 Shopping Center Annapolis, MD 21409

For more information about the Annapolis Light House Shelter go to: http://www.annapolislighthouse.org/

Photo from left to right: Christina Kulp, Mariner Reilly, Lauren Monroe, Melissa Valente. Just some of the dancers from  the Annapolis Broadneck area who attended Level Dance Project.

Around Broadneck: Mother-daughter duo dances into new venture together

Posted: August 20, 2012. The Capital Gazette
By WENDI WINTERS, For Capital Gazette

Rohanna Dance Productions co-owner and artistic director Emily Martin with several of her students Thursday. From left, Broadneck High School sophomore Courtney Hinkle, 14, of Arnold; Magothy River Middle School eighth-grader Sara Vavrina, 12, of Arnold; Martin; and Broadneck High freshman Eszti Reilly, 13, of Cape St. Claire.

There are some changes afoot at the Jamal Bay 50 Shopping Center near the Whitehall neighborhood.

Jamie Rohanna founded the successful Rohanna Dance Productions eight years ago and built the studio, located at Jamal Bay 50, into a regionally renowned dance school. She recently decided to devote more of her time to reviving the fading art of tap dance. A few months ago, Jamie sold her thriving dance studio to one of her longtime instructors, Emily Martin, 23, of Glen Burnie, and Emily’s business partner, Barbara Martin.

At 16, Emily enrolled at Anne Arundel Community College and was a member of the college’s dance company led by director Lynda Plavin Fitzgerald. She also studied with the Kirov and Washington Ballet Companies in Washington, D.C. A professional dancer and certified Pilates instructor, Emily is a former member of the Manhattan-based dance company Pushing Progress. For over six years, she has taught classes at Rohanna, even commuting back and forth from New York City during the period she performed with Pushing Progress. Although she returned to Anne Arundel County permanently in 2009 to be closer to her family, Emily still shuttles regularly to New York City to continue her own training and keep abreast with trends in dance instruction.

Barbara is not a dancer, but has been a part of the dance world through Emily. A Realtor in the Annapolis office of Caldwell Banker, she is Rohanna’s business manager.

“Owning a dance studio was one of my dreams,” said Emily. “I love the goals Jamie Rohanna set for the students here and I couldn’t think of a better thing to do.”

Late last week, the spacious dance school was buzzing with dozens of young dancers. All the studios were filled with students enrolled in dance courses led by a troupe instructors from Pushing Progress. “They’re all camping out at a friend’s house this week,” Emily said.

Rohanna has a slate of qualified instructors with Dance degrees and professional dance backgrounds, Emily said. The studio will be increasing its ballet offerings this fall, and continues to offer classes in tap, lyrical, acrobatics and tumbling and a hip hop. For the third year, the studio is offering a weekly special needs dance class.

“It is so rewarding at the end of the year to see those dancers up onstage,” Emily said.

The studio also has a new look. The Cape Hair Scene and Barber Shop, located next to Rohanna for six years, returned to the Cape St. Claire shopping center. The Martins took over the vacant space.

Thinking outside the barre, they turned part of the former barber shop and salon into an expanded lobby and reception area. Tucked behind the lobby they installed a studio space and a small cafeteria.

The Martins’ goal, Emily said, “is to create an atmosphere where our dance students can go to college, and, afterwards, dance professionally.”

Drop by Rohanna Saturday to meet Emily and Barbara. The mother-daughter duo is hosting an open house from 1 to 4 p.m. with goodies from Caroline’s Gourmet Catering. Meet the instructors, view dance demonstrations by current students and, if you register for a course, receive a $10 discount. For more information about Rohanna Dance Productions, visit www.rohannadance.com.