BlaineConservatory open for dancing, lessons

Published on Thu, Oct 12, 2006 by ack Kintner

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Blaine Conservatory open for dancing, lessons

By Jack Kintner

The arts scene in Blaine has taken a grand jeté, or leap forward with the opening of the Blaine Conservatory, a dance studio in an extensively remodeled building next to the Blackberry House at 335 H Street.

Classes began last month, and an open house is planned for Saturday, October 21.

Under the leadership of Kelly Henson-Renoud and Diane Lundgren, the studio offers nine different levels of classes in both ballet and tap for everyone from pre-schoolers to adults.

Lundgren, interestingly, received her bachelor of arts degree from the Cornish school in Seattle, an institution founded by Nellie Cornish, the daughter of Blaine’s first mayor.

Lundgren’s impressive resume includes time leading in the Richland Ballet Theater in Washington where she was commissioned to write an original score and choreography that got the group into the prestigious and very choosy National Association for Regional Ballet.
Lundgren’s students, one of whom in Richland was Henson-Renoud, have gone on to study and perform in professional ballets all over the world.

'Henson-Renoud, after spending time as a performing member of the Richland Ballet Theater, became ballet mistress for the Bellingham Ballet Theater based at Sudden Valley.

She and her husband Winston bought the H Street building last year from its former owners who had abandoned partially completed plans to turn it into a music store. A lot of work went into what’s more than just a remodeling of an old house.

It’s been transformed into another world thanks to lighting from big chandeliers and several big skylights that shine down on a specially built sprung floor designed expressly for dancers who can weigh anywhere from 40 to 200 pounds.

The front door leads from the substantial front deck to a reception area that is also a viewing gallery, and to the side are dressing rooms and lockers for students.

In a nook off the floor is a small and cozy reading area where Lundgren and Henson-Renoud can read to their younger students and other dancers can take a break.

The school has a nine month season that parallels the Blaine public schools schedule. Fees start at $35 per month and can be lowered with prepayment discounts.

If you have too many aspiring Anna Pavlovas or budding Barishnikovs, there is a maximum charge of $179 tuition per family.