Meryl Gendreau’s life has been defined by dance, from training at an early age, to staging with the Island Moving Company in Newport and Providence Ballet, to graduating last spring with a bachelor’s in dance and psychology from Roger Williams University. In July, she took everything she’d learned and loved to start her own studio in Wickford; located on West Main Street, it’s appropriately called Grooves on West.
“The studio is a collaborative dance space committed to dance pedagogy and aiding in the formation of healthy, body-mind-centered relationships with dance,” Gendreau begins. “This space was created to give dancers of all ages and abilities a home to grow.”
Grooves on West runs a schedule of hip hop, ballet, contemporary, modern, and freestyle classes, which are available by drop-in, class passes, or monthly tuition. Gendreau’s favorite part of the experience? That it’s all up to the dancers.
“This could be rehearsal schedules, what performances they do, what costumes they wear, or what teachers they take class from,” Gendreau lists. “Having a say in so many aspects of their dance curriculum has brought out a new confidence in these dancers that I’ve never seen – that is the best part to watch!”
But Grooves on West is about so much more than choreography – it’s about community. You’ll see pop-ups in nutrition and sound baths for the soul and social posts about being better allies. Gendreau also sells branded merch to help raise money for her dog and unofficial studio mascot Maisy, who needs life-saving heart surgery.
“Dance, especially now, can be used as a voice,” says Gendreau. “We are using dance as a release, to take a stand on important issues, and also as a sense of normalcy. Although classes look a bit different now, there is still comfort in returning to the same space at the same time every week to move with people who make you feel safe.”
To learn more about the studio, sign up for a class, and purchase merch for Maisy, visit GroovesOnWest.com.