The dancers enter the studio, the air begins to buzz. A hum builds as they stretch their legs, flex and point their toes, and study their form carefully in the wall of mirrors. The string of lights across the wood ceiling casts a warm glow. Their director pushes play on the music, and as the sound begins to swell, they start to dance in unison.
Unity Dance Troupe is a not for profit organization that looks to provide a place where dancers can expose the heart of God through dance, while developing their technique and skill as a dancer, according to their website.
Unity provides a space for dancers of many ages and walks of life to grow their skills and love of their craft.
Co-Owner of Unity Austin Burleson said the troupe has an active work-study program.
The program allows students to pay for their classes through working around the studio doing chores such as cleaning bathrooms, sweeping the floor, helping load the truck, or doing technical work for the troupe.
'The work study program allows these guys to experience what the real world's going to look like whenever [they] get out there," Austin said.
Austin said they hope to see more students getting involved in their mentorship programs as well as taking classes.
"[We] create a very welcoming environment because we allow everyone to join, so you can have zero experience, or you could have danced 20 years," Unity Dance Troupe Co-Owner and Director Alexis Burleson said.
Burleson said their number one goal as a troupe is spiritual life.
'Out of your heart springs life. Without your heart being really taken care of and sought after, your dancing's not going to matter,' Alexis said.
Unity is a place to feel empowered said Lee senior Madeline Chamberlain.
'When I get back into thinking I'm not powerful, I can't do anything, and I'm not worth anything in a spiritual sense, [I] can look back at these roles.' Chamberlain said. 'You can no longer say you are not qualified or you are not good enough; you don't have that option anymore.'
Justin Waggoner, Lee graduate, said when he joined Unity he was able to let his walls down while dancing.
'What's cool about Unity is I feel like I finally met people who understand God the way I always did,' Waggoner said.
Unity's latest production 'The Veil: Redemption of Creation' will be performed in the Conn Center on Feb. 5-7.
For more details go to www.unitydancetroupe.com