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Dancer and choreographer Amy Maze is a Black Mountain cultural resource.

The teacher of more than 100 students through her dance program at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, Maze recently returned from a week-long teaching experience at a gymnastics camp in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In addition to her classes and summer camps at BMCA, Maze also teaches dance once a week at OSEGA Gymnastics located in Mills River.

OSEGA owners and coaches Miles and Monica Avery spearheaded the trip, which is Maze’s third overseas experience with the Avery’s; the last two took place in Sundsvall, Sweden.

Maze taught 50 gymnasts basic dance technique and various dance styles as well as choreographing and teaching the end-of-camp performance. The kids loved it.

“Gymnasts are usually a bit uncomfortable with dance,” Maze said. “They are so focused on precision. A gymnast needs to be able to execute tricks and tumbling skills, but they also need to have an artistic side, especially for beam and floor routines. Dancing can offer that. It loosens them up and gives them more freedom to express themselves.”

Though the older students in Denmark were comfortable speaking English, some of the younger gymnasts were not.

“Dance is a universal language,” Maze said. “The students fully embraced learning something new. It was so gratifying to watch them step outside their comfort zone and not only follow along with my choreography, but go beyond what they thought they were capable of. They all felt really proud of their accomplishments at the end of the camp. I know I was proud.”

While in Europe, the four Americans took a side trip to Krakow, Poland and the Auschwitz Memorial historic site, which Maze said was a “very powerful, moving and important perspective-giving experience.”

She will share details of her travels with her Black Mountain students, and brings back a new, deeper perspective on life.

“It was an experience I will never forget," Maze said.

Registration for the dance teacher's classes, which begin on Aug. 19, opens on Monday, July 22.

Maze teaches dance to children ages 3 to 17, as well as leading the BMCA Dance Troupe.

The Dance Troupe is non-competitive and available to any student who seeks more performance opportunities. Locals have seen the red-shirted BMCA dancers perform at Sourwood, Owen High School game intermissions, Holly Jolly and the annual Christmas Parade.

For more information about Maze and her classes go to blackmountainarts.org or call 669-0930.

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