Dancing through lifePublished 11:00am Tuesday, September 4, 2012
From North Carolina to California, Dance has taken Shannon Denzel all over the country, and although she considered starting her career in Los Angeles and even China, she decided to come back to her home town after graduating from St. Olaf College in May.
“I used to think if I came back to Fergus I would feel really smothered, but I don’t feel enclosed at all being back home,” Denzel said. “I think there are some really good opportunities in this small community.”
Denzel will start her career as a teacher at the Fergus Falls School of Dance. She plans to teach about 17 classes per week, and some of her classes are already full.
“Coming back to Fergus was a big decision for me, and working with the school of dance was the main reason I came back,” she said. “The quality of training students get here is amazing. Ramona’s studio is so comparable to schools in Minneapolis or Los Angeles.”
Denzel said she felt more prepared for her college dance classes than most of her peers because of what she learned at the FFSD, and she hopes to pass along the same high level of training she received growing up.
“I want to push the dancers because I know how good they can become,” she said. “It wasn’t very long ago that I was in their place.”
School of dance director and owner Ramona Jacobs said she is thrilled to have Denzel back.
“It’s wonderful when we have kids who want to peruse dance,” Jacobs said. “It has been fun to watch her grow, and I’m excited to see what she has learned in college.”
Denzel began dancing in Fergus Falls when she was four years old, and she said her teachers became like a second family to her.
“My teachers and coaches are the people who raised me in a lot of ways,” Denzel said. “Ramona and Mary (Pettit) have been my mentors since I was old enough to start dance.”
Denzel will begin teaching on Sept. 10 when fall classes begin. She will teach tap, ballet, modern, hip hop, jazz, a boys class and an adult modern class if there is enough interest from students and community members. Registration is open, and more information can be found at www.ffsd.info.
While she wasn’t teaching dance classes over the summer, Denzel jumped right into the community. She was involved with the Summer Arts Academy, Bethlehem Lutheran Vacation Bible School and she got a small part in the movie “The Control Group,” which is being filmed at the Regional Treatment Center.
“There are so many ways to get involved in this community,” she said.
Denzel is also enjoying other perks to being back in her home town. She has enjoyed spending time with her parents, cousins, grandma and friends she hasn’t seen since high school.
While she is enjoying her time in Fergus Falls now, Denzel hopes to eventually move back to a bigger city. Her dream is to some day move to Los Angeles to do choreography for music videos and feature films.