East Portland performing arts center offers new season of classes

Did you know that Portland Metro Performing Arts dance troupe is celebrating its 30th season? Learn about their special fall performance, other classes available – and how your kids will benefit! …

Even tots like Chloe Jeanmarie can learn crafts, like how to make paper flowers, at PMPA. “It’s fun,” she says.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Not long ago, we stopped in to visit our friends at the Portland Metro Performing Arts (PMPA) Center, and to attend their Fall Open House.

“We’re happy families are coming by today,” said Executive Director Nancy Yeamans. “They’re learning about our programs and sampling our classes.”

This unique institution – located in the heart of the Gateway District – offers dance, music, theater, and visual arts classes – mostly for kids, but people of all ages are welcome to participate in some of their programs.

Dance company celebrates third decade
Yeamans told us enthusiastically about the PMPA dance company’s 30th anniversary season, now underway.

“At our Dance Mosaic concert in November, we’re doing two totally different programs,” Yeamans said. “We’re inviting alumnus dancers – many of them who now perform with major companies – to rejoin us for a homecoming.

At the Dance Mosaic shows, scheduled for Nov. 16 and 17, professional dance alumnus will join with the current company for solo and group performances. “Over the years, we’ve had 150 members in our dance company,” the executive director added.

The PMPA intermediate/advanced ballet class practices jumps, steps and routines, under the direction of teacher Christina Hintz.

Relevance of PMPA offerings
“Most schools don’t provide these programs, Yeamans told us. “Some schools have music or art instructors – but I can’t think of any with dance teachers. The kids are losing out if the parents can’t provide additional arts enrichment for their children.”

Art, she added, helps young people find their “voice”; that is, it helps them express what they feel. “This is especially important for young people. They often can’t express, in words, what they feel as they can with art. And, what we teach also helps students do better in math, sciences, and English, because it gives relevance to their school-day curriculum.”

Although PMPA classes have begun, students may still join classes on a space-available basis.

For more information, CLICK HERE to be taken to their web site. Or, call their office at (503) 408-0604.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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