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Moxie Dance Theatre opens in West Linn


Instructor has many years as professional dancer, instructor

by: STAFF PHOTOS: VERN UYETAKE  - Gina Candland and her daughter Fiona play in one of the studios at Moxie Dance Theatre.

Gina Candland has opened Moxie Dance Theatre at 19066 Willamette Drive in West Linn. The studio offers ballet and dance classes for children ages 2 through 10 and play and learn sessions for newborns through 2 years.

Classes offered include Mommy & Me, creative movement, ballet, pointe, modern, theater dance and body conditioning; a pre-professional training program is also offered.

Candland has a long history as a professional dancer. At the tender age of 16, she moved to New York City to study and dance with some of the biggest names in the industry: Alvin Ailey, Steps on Broadway, Twyla Tharp, American Dance Theater and Emmy award-winning choreographer Mia Michaels, who was also a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance.” Her resume also includes being a Radio City Music Hall Rockette.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have these opportunities,” she said.

The life of a dancer does have its drawbacks. Dance companies tour constantly and she said she got tired of living out a suitcase 300 days a year and missed her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Though she loved performing she discovered she had a real passion for teaching.

Candland and her husband, Marshall, moved to the Portland area about a year ago, just before daughter Fiona was born.

“I missed teaching and knew I wanted to have opportunities for socialization for Fiona,” she said. “We started brainstorming. Really a dance studio is used from 3 to 6 p.m. in the evenings. That leaves the rest of the day for a studio to be used for other purposes.”

Candland’s background also includes early childhood development and psychology experience, skills she called upon when designing the play and learn program.

“We want this to be a home away from home for all ages,” she said.

MDT was built with dancers, children and families in mind. The studio has three separate dance spaces with state-of-the-art flooring built in a basket weave formation for optimal shock absorption and injury prevention. The play-and-learn program offers soft play equipment specifically designed for babies.

Classes and play groups are held throughout the week.

A free Daddy and Babies play date is planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 22.

A free contemporary ballet master class for dancers age 10 through adult will be held from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 18. This is for intermediate and advanced dancers.

For a complete schedule, visit moxiedancetheatre.com or Moxie Dance Theatre’s Facebook page or call 503-675-4593.