Angela Hicks Visual Performance ArtistPhotograph by Shelly Salter

“I can’t,” laments a four-year old girl in a pink tutu.  “Yes, you can,” answers Angela Hicks resolutely.  “You just need to bend at the knees.”  On this Tuesday afternoon, Visual and Performing Artist, Angela Hicks is teaching more than just ballet to a group of three year old girls attending a “Ballet Fairytales” class at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  Angela is teaching seven tiny dancers that they are the choreographers of their lives story.

“Through dance I have achieved self-discipline as the greatest lesson to guiding me through life. When I practice I am literally looking into a mirror to see where my body moves and imagining where it needs to be.  I apply that to my career and personal life; constantly reviewing where I am today and think what can I do to bring myself where I want to be, need to be,” offers Angela.

“Angela is such a unique talent and teacher,” explains Craig Price Performing Arts Director at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  “She is accomplished in so many disciplines of dance and is able to teach all of these styles to such a broad range of age groups, from young children to adults.”

Angela Hicks teaches Ballet Fairytales at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs

Angela has been dancing since she could walk. “The house I grew up in and my parent’s jewelry store were my first studios. Just counting training in dance schools, I have been dancing a total of seventeen years. At age five I started ballet in a dance academy. I then continued into Pointe, jazz, hip-hop, modern, ballroom, Latin, and Polynesian. Along side of that, I also practiced belly dance from the instruction of my grandmother. She was a belly dance performer and instructor at a belly dance school that was next to her etiquette school in Michigan in the 70’s,” explains Angela.  “When I was thirteen years old, I was dancing behind my instructor in ballet, closely following her steps and thought, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, be a professional dancer.”

When Angela is not teaching dance she is performing at cultural fairs, Zorba’s Greek Restaurant inBonitaSprings, and special events through outFloridaandLos Angeles.  Angela has performed her sword balancing act at an exclusive vintner dinner for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, where attendees paid a minimum of $8,500 per couple to enjoy the festivities.  Angela’s captivating sword balancing dance, performed with her sister Jessica, mesmerizes crowds and was born from her desire to overcome aichmophobia, the fear of sharp objects.   While studying the different styles of belly dance and the props used for shows, she came across the idea of dancing with a sword. Initially Angela dismissed the idea due to her fear, however, one week later Angela had a sharp double edge Turkish Scimitar Sword in her hands and she was ready to break free from her fear. In 2001 Angela began the self-training process of sword balancing, using her grandmother’s old school etiquette technique of balancing books on her head for posture and grace.

 Angela places golden tiaras on the heads of the seven tiny ballerinas sitting cross-legged in a circle around her.  “Now what was that story we were telling?” Angela asks the group.  “Rapunzel,” the tiny voices echo in chorus.  Rapunzel was saved by a prince, however the lesson Angela imparts on her ballerinas is a different one learned from her sword dancing, “You are the most important person you can depend on…make that person strong.”

To lean more about the dance classes Angela Hicks teaches at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs call: 239-495-8989 or visit: http://www.artcenterbonita.org  You can learn more about Angela on her website: http://www.swordbalancer.com/

For those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time between May 1 and September 30, 2011 will receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6-week class to be used by December 31, 2011.  The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members.  Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information.

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