Imagine this: an entire company of young dancers are onstage, taking their final bows as the audience applauds. Then the curtain comes down, and the players look at each other with joy. They have realized that they have just accomplished magic – performing a full-length ballet in the historical Thespian Hall.
Year after year, Boonville’s Turning Pointe Dance Studio strives to create that exciting moment. The studio offers classes in ballet, tap, jazz, pointe and hip-hop for dancers ages three and up, and prides itself on building confidence and having fun for all ages.
“Dance is for anyone willing to rise to the challenge,” says Joanie Coble, owner and dance instructor at Turning Pointe.
Coble trained with teachers such as Robert Davis, Christopher Flynn and jazz master Gus Giordano, and was a soloist for four years with the CMU Orchesis Dance Company. Upon graduating from Central Michigan University, she moved to Kansas City, where she would meet and marry a Boonville native. When she came to a turning point(e) in her personal life, she decided that Boonville was the place to stay, raise her kids and start her life’s dream – opening her own dance studio.
“Opening the studio was one of the scariest things I had ever done,” Coble says. “But it changed my life in a beautiful way.”
After choreographing for the Boonville Community Theater’s production of Oklahoma, she was impressed by the enthusiasm and local talent. With help from her parents, she rented a space by the courthouse, created flyers and (in her own words) set out to stalk the community.
“I was kind of creepy,” admits Coble. “If I saw a kid dancing around in public, I handed their parent a business card.”
In the summer of 1995, she opened her studio to 20 dancers. By fall, she had expanded to 45. Today, more than 100 dancers attend Turning Pointe’s weekly classes and participate in an end-of-year recital, which features dances in tap, jazz and lyrical, as well as a full-length ballet. The enthusiasm seems to grow each year – and often affects members of the community. This year, Boonville crossing guards even dressed up to match the featured ballet, The Wizard of Oz.
“There is enthusiasm because we have fun,” Coble says. “The parents, community and dancers are a powerful magic here.”
Coble is far from Dance Mom’s Abby Lee Miller. The Turning Pointe studio makes sure to emphasize inclusiveness and build self-confidence. She loves that her dancers are happy to come to class, have fun and make life-long friendships, and enjoys the passion that each individual dancer brings to the studio.
“I have seen dancers take flight and dance far beyond their natural ability because they just felt it so hard,” says Coble.
She has enjoyed working with the community for 22 years – and is looking forward to at least 22 more. The studio will move to a new location on Main Street this summer and is adding new classes such as acro-dance. However, Coble is careful to remember the magical experiences and attitudes that inspired the studio in the first place.
“Arrive with a smile, leave with a smile,” says Coble “Everyone is welcome at the Turning Pointe!”
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