Facing and en Face.
Fistula and Failli.
Gingiva and Glissade.
Alveolar and Allongé.
Apex and Adagio.
Bruxism and Balançoire.
Sara Stuefen may be one only a handful of people in the world who can explain these all of the above terms without first consulting a dictionary – or a lexicon of dance or dentistry.
That’s because the Vinton dentist is also a ballerina.
Stuefen was among nearly a dozen members of the adult ballet class who recently performed in the Pointe School of Dance recital at the Paramount Theatre in Cedar Rapids.
She was dancing long before she became a dentist.
“I know I wanted to dance before I was allowed to,” says Stuefen. “I was too young for classes and then my studio at the time let me start when I was 3. “It’s a great way to clear your mind and just think about your movement. I was very shy as a child and I think it gave me an outlet to put myself out there in front of people and work through my shyness a little.”
Dr. Stuefen’s teacher at Pointe says she is the only dentist in the troupe, which includes a variety of dancers between age 18 and 50 and a variety of professions as well as levels of experience. There are two men among the dancers in this year’s class.
“We have a huge variety in experience,” says Josie Selck, who teaches the adult ballet class at Pointe. “Some danced when they were younger and are now getting back into it. We also have people who have never danced a day until they came to class.”
Even those who have only seen ballet on TV can soon be dancing it, says Selck.
“Anyone can learn,” she says, “It’s a fun atmosphere. We have met so many people and now they all friends. It’s a lot of fun to teach them.”
Stuefen clearly enjoys dance, says her teacher.
“Sara is a hard worker,” Selck says. “I can tell she loves it. She comes every week and works so hard.”
The instructor has also seen Stuefen grow in her ability, as well as her belief in that ability.
“I have seen her confidence grow,” says Selck. “Sometimes, we as adults second-guess ourselves more. Sara is a wonderful person, always there, working hard. I can tell she loves it.”
Another benefit of working with dancers with a variety of skill and experience levels, says Selck, is that teaching the newer dancers helps the more experienced ones as they demonstrate and explain ballet.
Dr. Stuefen says she does not have a favorite dance.
“There have been so many great dances through the years, it would be impossible to pick a favorite,” she says.
Both Dr. Stuefen and her teacher encourage others who have never danced ballet to try it.
“We had some beginners in our class. There is a learning curve to some of the terminology but that is just like anything. I would say if they are interested to go for it,” says Stuefen.
“I try to make sure we offer differing degrees of difficulty,” says Selck,. “Our goal is to challenge, but not overwhelm. So, we offer them options to make it more comfortable for them: Slower moves, fewer turns.”
Those who think they may be interested, but are not sure, are invited to a free trial session.
The Pointe offers and 8-week summer course. The year-long course that Stuefen and her troupe just completed begins after Labor Day.
For more information, visit the Pointe web site HERE.