The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

February 17, 2012

ECC dance program gets under way



Edgecombe Community College’s dance program, designed to help build its expanding performing arts program, gets under way Saturday.

Two years ago, the college added a weekend community theatre program to its continuing education curricula. Last year, it added an associate’s degree in theatre arts for college transfer students.

And now, students will study ballet, jazz, tap, and musical theatre over three weekends, beginning Saturday and Sunday and continuing February 25-26, and March 3-4.

“Originally, we were going to add a dance class for beginners, but when we realized the level of talent we had available here, we decided to take it up a notch,” said college president Dr. Deborah Lamm. “Now, we can also provide instruction for professional dancers.

“With our instructors, we can offer master-level dance classes.”

Dirk Lumbard, the lead instructor for the new dance program, has performed on Broadway and taught tap and theatre dance across the United States and Europe.

Lumbard splits time between his homes in Edgecombe County and New York City, where he has performed in six Broadway plays. With 30 years of experience, Lumbard has performed in, directed, and choreographed shows for both national tours and regional theatres.

Josh Chambers, another instructor for the program, performs with the Greenville Civic Ballet. Before that, he had his own dance studio in West Virginia and pioneered a public middle school dance program there.

“There are certain areas that I’m weak in and he’s strong in,” Lumbard says of Chambers. “I think we’re a good match.”

The class will be divided into four styles of dance — tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theatre. Students can participate in one, some, or all of the styles. Instructors also are considering teaching stage performing, such as hat tricks and juggling.

The musical theatre portion of the class will focus on a complete choreographed number from a Broadway show.

“Dance is a part of our theatre program, and it’s a particular area that is not offered by surrounding community colleges,” Lamm says. “We think we can fill a void.”

Lumbard says that students thinking about the class don’t have to be an accomplished dancer. The class is targeting both the experienced and the inexperienced dancer.

“We’re looking for dance studio teachers who are seeking more credentials, as well as those with no dance experience who want the foundations and building blocks of the techniques and principles of dance,” Chambers says.

The cost of the weekend course is $65. The class meets Saturdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays 2-4 p.m.

    Lumbard points out that private dance lessons of this caliber typically cost $75 an hour in New York.

    For more information on Edgecombe Community College’s new performing arts program in dance, contact J. Lynn Cale at 823-5166, ext. 327, or