Dance provides alternative creative outlet for children

Published 9:32 am Monday, September 14, 2015

Last Wednesday, the newest resident of Dowagiac’s historic downtown was officially welcomed to Front Street.

While new to the city’s central business district, the occupants of the former LPL Financial office at 212 S. Front St. are hardly strangers to the Dowagiac community — in fact, they’ve been sharing the joys of dance with local residents for the past 10 years.

The staff of Miss Michele and Company celebrated the opening of its new downtown dance studio last week, with a ceremonial ribbon cutting event hosted by the Greater Dowagiac Chamber of Commerce.  Owner Michele Winchester plans on opening her facility for class beginning on Monday.

Winchester, who grew up in Dowagiac, is hoping to make the new studio space the permanent home of her dance company. She has relocated three times since opening the business 10 years ago at the Federated Covenant Church, most recently operating inside space at the former National Copper Building, now known as the Business Center of Southwestern Michigan.

With the move, Miss Michele and Company joins another dance company, MKSOD’s Dowagiac studio, downtown.

While the location may be different, the mission that Miss Michele and Company remains the same as it ever was — providing dance instruction to girls, teens and adults.

For youngsters looking for an outlet to pour their excess energy and creativity into, dance is a perfect recreation for them to get into, especially for those children who struggle with the demands and competitive nature of most school sports teams.

In addition to improving coordination, memorization and other important skills, dance gives young girls a chance to socialize with peers they may have not have met otherwise. At Miss Michele’s alone, there are students from not only Dowagiac, but also from Cassopolis, Decatur, Marcellus and even Eau Claire.

Despite the time commitment and dedication, the work that dancers put into their routines always pay off when they get to show off their skills to the public — to their proud family and friends.

We congratulate Miss Michele and Company on taking the next step of their journey, and we hope that it and other local dance studios continue to do what they do to improve the lives our children.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.