Two women in Vermont’s dance community have created a reality they have long wished for: the opportunity to take dance classes with other adults on a schedule that works for their busy lives.
On May 29, Megan Stearns of Hinesburg and June Beuchner Carney of Williston opened Lines Vermont in South Burlington. Located in the former Kids City location on Farrell Street, Lines is a joint retail store and dance studio designed primarily for adults.
“The offerings for adult dance classes were quite limited in Vermont, so I ended up taking most of my classes with teenagers,” explained Stearns. “The girls are wonderful but looking at your 30-something body in the mirror standing next to teenagers isn’t the most confidence-building experience.”
Since its opening, Stearns reports that the studio is serving dancers ages 12 to 80. The studio offers classes in a wide array of dance disciplines including ballet, jazz funk, hip hop and tap, in addition to fitness classes such as Pilates, yoga and barre.
Lines Vermont also hosts master classes with visiting professional dancers from across the U.S.
Most recently, the studio had close to 80 attendees for master classes taught by two principal dancers from the American Ballet Theater.
Stearns began her dance training on Long Island, N.Y., at the Seiskaya Ballet Academy. When it came time to make a decision about pursing a professional career in ballet or going to college, Stearns says she chose the latter, expressing a desire to expand her horizons. After not dancing for nearly 10 years, she moved to the Green Mountain state in 2010 and began taking adult ballet classes at South Burlington’s Spotlight Vermont. Along with performing in music videos and teaching at several dance schools around the state, Stearns originated the principal role of Farmer in Farm to Ballet.
Originally from Syracuse, N.Y., Carney trained at the Center of Ballet and Dance Arts followed by the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. Along with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance performance at SUNY Purchase, Carney attended the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Steps on Broadway in New York City, both on full scholarship. She has performed and taught dance in New York City and is an independent certified personal trainer and fitness instructor. Carney relocated to the Green Mountains in 2004 and began her Vermont career choreographing and teaching master classes and dance intensives.
“Most of our teachers [at Lines Vermont] have backgrounds as professional dancers and all of them have more than a decade of experience in the discipline they’re teaching,” said Stearns. “Also, nearly all of them are experts in multiple dance disciplines, making them versatile and well-rounded instructors. Among our top considerations in selecting teachers was the level of respect, professionalism, supportiveness and joy they bring to their classes.”
Just across the hallway from the studio is the Lines retail store, a dance apparel and footwear boutique, which is a reincarnation of Carney’s Williston business, Lines for the Body.
“We serve students from dance schools across Vermont and from northern New York and New Hampshire,” explained Carney. “Finding a larger space for the store that’s convenient to the highway and pairing it with a studio that’s not affiliated with a specific dance school – where students from any school can come and take class – felt like the right next step in our evolution.”