Christian dance, art studio now schooling students

A new dance and Christian art studio is now welcoming students. River Fine Arts owner Lauren Knowles wanted to create a unique dance and art studio for the ministry in town. People can stop from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday for an open house. The studio will also have a groundbreaking ceremony from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday. Kids can try on dancing shoes and eat cookies at Monday’s event.

Knowles moved to Midland in 2009 to teach dance after earning a college degree in dance. She and her husband, Nathan, moved to Ohio for a while, but returned to Midland after accepting a position at Christmas in Action as director of operations. The studio she worked in in Midland had closed and she took time to start a family.

“The dance ministry has been a missing part of my life,” she said. “I danced for so many years and loved running the fine art studio. I had been looking for a way to get there for a while. I wanted to go back to the intersection of the arts and the ministry.


The space was once a ballroom dance studio at 4400 N. Big Spring St., suite C-38. The studio will offer lessons for toddlers with their parents up to the age of 18. Dance lessons include ballet, tap dance, jazz and hip hop. Knowles will be offering a dance class for mom and me, a teddy bear class, where the boys can come work out, and a sibling class, where siblings ages 3 to 7 can dance together. Art and theater classes will also be offered at the studio.

“We are starting with a mom and me baby class and my little boy will help me teach the class,” she said. “We have regular ballet and tap dance lessons, where they come to learn the basics and do the performance recital in the spring. Then we have dance ministry classes from 6 years old which are free. We have acting classes, which will cover acting, costumes, sets and props where they can build a show and perform every year.

Currently, the studio has an art class on Fridays called “Make a Mess,” where preschoolers can come in and do ridiculously fun, silly projects that parents don’t want in their own homes. she declared. It focuses on sensory and practical projects. The other art courses are a blended approach as well as for students of different levels and backgrounds.

The Bear Cubs dance class will be for little boys who want to tap and dance but may not want to sit still or do perfect foot positions, she said. The class will also have themes like dinosaurs and outer space. The Sibling Course is a great opportunity for older siblings to mentor and mentor their younger siblings while the younger ones are excited to do the same as their older sibling, she declared. There will be a class where students can participate in entry level Bible study and dancing.

The fine arts of the river are named after the Bible verse from Ezekiel 47: 9 which states “Every living thing that gathers where the river goes will live …”

“The idea is that the river mentioned in this verse comes out of the throne of God and that whatever grows beside the river is abundant and life-giving,” she said. “The idea is that we plant the program but not just the program but the children, families and teachers by the river of God to draw inspiration and strength from Him.”

She said The River Fine Arts will focus on all students and not just on dance competitions.

“We have wonderful dance studios for a wide variety of dancers in Midland,” she said. “But no studio approaches it from a ministry perspective. We will be very focused on the whole student with their dance or art technique as well as how to develop each student for what their goal is and support them in their goal later in life.

However, the studio doesn’t just focus on a traditional type of dance ministry.

“When people hear about the dance ministry, they think of waving flags, scarves and streamers,” Knowles said. “That’s not the whole picture though. Of course, in the studio people will hear Christian music, but we are not strictly Christian music. We focus on great music. We are an art that serves a purpose.

She added that some classes could play Hillsong United music while others will dance to the best 50s tunes while learning their tap routines. She said she wanted to focus on teaching students how to be culturally aware consumers around them. The River Fine Arts has two dance studios and an art room. Parents can watch their children in the lobby where a live broadcast of each class will be shown on the lobby TV.

Students will have a traditional recital in the spring, but she is also working on having a Christmas show every year. Classes start August 16.

More business news

–Midland Meat Co. will construct a new facility behind the current building. Owner John C. Scharbauer said current plans are for them to complete the building before Christmas. He said he also had plans for northern Midland around The Half Acre.

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