ANDERSON – When Myrisha Smith, originally from Illinois, moved to Anderson nine years ago, she saw a need in that community, and in 2015, she launched the nonprofit William Harvey Dance Academy.
“I went to college with a guy named William Harvey here at Ivy Tech, and we kind of did everything together like our business proposals,” Smith said.
Harvey has since passed away and Smith felt the academy would be a fitting way to honor him.
Smith was a member of the dance team and the cheerleader team as a child and also started his college dance team.
“We started the team in college, just a few of us,” Smith said. “We all got together and have been there ever since. “
The William Harvey Dance Academy offers a wide range of genres including hip hop, jazz, basic ballet, contemporary, and step.
“We do pretty much everything. I’m trying to get them out of the basic hip hop that you see all the time, ”Smith said. “I try to teach them the technique and what the dance really means.”
For the academy, the parade season is the most important time of the year.
“The 4th of July parade in Chesterfield, we’ve won it every year since 2015,” Smith said. “They really like us there.”
The academy placed first, second and third at the Circle City Classic, one of Indiana’s biggest parades.
“We’re doing the Alexandria Christmas Parade,” Smith said. “We won the award for the best walking group for that. We had the Soul Fest parade. We won first place this year.
In addition to competitions in the state, the group also traveled out of state to attend the Halloween Parade and the Centralia Fall Festival in Centralia, Ill., The city native of Smith.
“We have won second place twice and this year we have won first place,” said Smith. “This year we came away with four trophies for first place.”
In addition to numerous prizes during competitions, the group also receives a lot of positive feedback from the community.
“They are in love with our group,” said Smith. “Nowadays a lot of dance teams sometimes get into inappropriate styles, so they like to see the styles synchronized and different and see that they are doing something different.”
In addition to dancing, Smith also teaches the team the importance of good grades and community service.
“Here in July I took nine to South Philadelphia. We worked with a community organization there and we cleaned up their streets, ”Smith said. “We helped with their summer program and it was really huge.”
William Harvey Dance Academy teaches from the age of 4, registration fees are free and the team is always accepting new members.
More information can be found on the academy’s Facebook page, “William Harvey Dance Academy Inc – Infantry”.
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