Connecting the Community through Movement

Lexi Wicks, Staff Reporter

The Ellensburg Dance Ensemble is opening The Studio, a new dance studio, right on Main Street. On Monday, April 12, The Studio officially opened up, offering a variety of classes, with the options of hip hop, ballet, contemporary and more. The Studio offers something for everyone. 

Inclusivity is one of The Studio’s primary goals. Sara Bachman-Rhodes, studio director and teacher, expressed how important it was that The Studio become a welcoming and safe place for all.

“I think movement is vital to our health and happiness, and I am from the perspective that all people should have the comfort and place to dance because it is so important,” Bachman-Rhodes said. “This space and this mission allow us to do that, so that people who maybe don’t have a background in dance but really want to be able to move their body without feeling that there is a judgment about it [will know] it is for everyone, and we can all take part and find joy together in movement.”

Photo courtesy of John Durham

The mission of creating a safe place for all also carries over in their set precautions due to COVID-19. Bachman-Rhodes explained that the studio would implement social distancing, requiring facial masks and providing adequate ventilation to keep the air within the studio moving. Both staff and students will wash their hands before and after each class, and the studio will have sanitizing room cleanings between each class and deep cleanings once or twice a day. 

 “[The Studio] is really [making] sure that when people drop their kids off or when adults come, or whoever comes in our doors, we know we are doing everything we can to make sure that they are safe,” Bachman-Rhodes said.

Although the precautions may be a hassle, she looks at this time as a unique opportunity. 

Photo courtesy of John Durham

“People [are] really feeling the need to connect and feeling the need to move… So, I feel like right [now] this isn’t about a specific age group of people,” Bachman-Rhodes said. 

The Studio plans on having dancers from the age of two to adults in their late 70s and 80s. She said she thought this was a “beautiful thing” as it is sure to bring the community together.

CWU students are welcome to join as well. The Studio hopes to offer a student discount and bridge any gaps between the university and the rest of the community. 

John Durham, board director of the Ellensburg Dance Ensemble, aims to aid this connection as he is a CWU alumnus and now a senior lecturer. 

Photo courtesy of John Durham

Durham said during his studies at CWU he felt a disconnect with the Ellensburg community and in the last twelve years of teaching, he still sees that disconnect. 

“I think we can do more and personally I want to be a part of that and our organization wants to be a part of that,” Durham said. 

The future seems bright for both The Studio and the community as it plans to be much more than a dance studio. According to Bachman-Rhodes, although they may be starting with dance they are preparing for many other activities.

Photo courtesy of John Durham

Bachman-Rhodes said they hope to have some drum, musical theatre and art classes as well, thus, allowing The Studio to become a true safe place where people can come to enjoy themselves and find connection. 

As for right now, The Studio only offers a variety of dance classes and aims to bring connection and inclusivity to Ellensburg through movement. You can find more information on The Studio from their website at