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January 24, 2022

Space to Move

From 360° Asheville School Views Magazine, Winter 2022

“We move through our daily world, and our body supports whatever field or passion we decide to pursue, so educating the body is critical,” says Kathy Leiner, who started Asheville School’s dance program and is the Chair of Fine Arts. “What I love about dance as arts education is how we build skills that support daily life and how dance fosters the development of the mind, body, and spirit.” 

Under Leiner’s leadership, dance continues to be a part of the Winter and Spring performance calendar. The program has played host to artists for week-long residencies, including Nelson Reyes, a Cuban dancer, and Kelly Bartnik, a New York City artist from the original cast of Sleep No More. Dancers also participate in the winter musical and a spring season original dance production. “Last year CATS captured my heart because of all the hoops we needed to jump through to make it happen,” Leiner says. “Thanks to John Crawley’s vision and the talents of his choral students, we were able to safely produce a musical during COVID. Being an all-dancing musical, with fur, and wigs, and masks, and no real breaks between the dancing, the students did incredible work.”

Leiner says one of her favorite dance spaces is a nearly forgotten corner of the school. “We are so fortunate to have such a fantastic theater space, but I especially love the little rehearsal space carved out of the upper loft of the tech shop backstage,” she says. “For years it was a storage space, full and inefficiently used, but it has great light from the windows in the back of the building. I recruited our tech and maintenance crew a few years back to help clear it out so we could have a space with mirrors and a marley floor for dance practice. It’s a small space but it feels expansive with the light, the high rafters, and the beautiful old brick wall. Everyone who walks in loves how it feels—it’s an inspiring, quiet retreat to let the creativity flow.”