M’kenna Grace Sorensen says that she basically danced out of her cradle; she started taking classes when she was a toddler. At just 14 years old, she began teaching at Salt Lake City-area studios such as the Linda Fenton School of Dance and American Expressions in Dance.
Sorensen said she got involved with as many studios as possible so she could learn how each was run, as she knew from a young age that she wanted to own her own studio one day–a dream that is now reality. Sorensen opened her Moab ballet studio The Pointe Place last year and instructs all its classes. The studio is located within the Portal RV clubhouse (1261 N. Hwy 191, Moab).
The Pointe Place is a “non-competitive, classic ballet” studio, and Sorensen further emphasized the positive atmosphere she cultivates.
“A dance studio should be a happy place,” she said, adding that she teaches her dancers to be kind to one other and to avoid “getting lost in perfectionism.”
Her goal, she said, is not solely to teach dance but to instill qualities like perseverance and commitment to doing one’s best.
Sorensen said the studio “just kind of happened” after she moved to Moab with her family in 2017 and started doing private lessons for the daughters of a friend. Word got out and interest grew, culminating in her studio’s opening in August of 2019.
Right now, The Pointe Place is enrolling for several summer camps: a one-day event based on the animated film “Frozen” for kids ages 4 to 6 and a 3-day long “classic summer intensive” for ages 10 and over that will cover fundamentals of ballet.
Enrollment is also ongoing for the 2020-2021 season which will culminate in a spring performance of Cinderella. While enrolling sooner is better, Sorenson said that she can potentially take new students until the winter holidays.
Up until the holidays, dancers will be focusing on ballet basics like technique and vocabulary but, after that, it will be time to prepare for the performance and order costumes, so enrollment will be closed.
“I do have a few girls who are going up en pointe” to perform the lead roles in Cinderella, she said. Dancing en pointe is an advanced ballet technique where dancers use the tips of their toes.
Sorensen herself danced in Cinderella as a principal dancer and teacher at the On Pointe School of Ballet in West Jordan. She also collaborated on productions of Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, and Coppelia.
Sorensen said Coppelia is her “favorite ballet of all time.”
“It’s lighthearted and happy,” she said, adding that, in a reversal of typical stage narratives, the leading lady is the one who saves the man. Speaking of male leads, Sorensen said she would like to see more boys get involved in ballet.
Sorensen is taking extra precautions in her classes in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. She said she and her assistants wear masks and students are encouraged to wear masks but are not strictly required to do so. She added that they are not currently using the barre (a handrail commonly used in ballet practice), nor incorporating moves that require the dancers touch one another.
Dancers’ temperatures are taken before each class, and Sorensen said she asks parents to be mindful and do what they can to prevent potentially exposing the studio to coronavirus so the studio can avoid shutting down.
Sorensen added that she just opened a beginners class for adults and is looking for adult students.
For more information, Sorensen may be contacted at (801) 889-0172. The Pointe Place’s website is www.thepointeplacemoab.wixsite.com/mysite and it may also be found on Facebook.
“A dance studio should be a happy place.”
– M’kenna Grace Sorensen
The Pointe Place offers ballet classes and camps
Where: 1261 N. Hwy 191, Moab
Contact: (801) 889-0172, www.facebook.com/thepointeplacemoab