Dancing through the generations

Published 3:32 pm Monday, October 9, 2017

TRYON – They’ve danced in the Nutcracker on Broadway and with the Moscow Ballet in Asheville. This year Dance Dynamics in Tryon is celebrating 25 years of success.

The dance school, located next to the Tryon Antique Mall, has been the dream of Missy Fincher since she was 16 years old. At age 16, Fincher started teaching dance in a one-room branch studio in Landrum. From 1986 to 1992 Fincher ran that branch studio for Marion Feinstein, owner of Miss Marion’s School of Dance of Spartanburg.

“She [Feinstein] told me when I finished college in 1992, she wanted me to take it [the Landrum studio] over,” said Fincher who hopes to someday turn the studio over to her daughter, Alyssa Fincher.

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In addition to Fincher and her daughter teaching, the studio has a ballet mistress named Ronnie Zink who studied and performed  in London, and a hip hop instructor, Katie Holbrook, who received a dance minor from Converse College.

The Dance Dynamics team received several awards at the Dance Masters Competition in Charleston, SC. Kneeling L to R: Emily Bartlett and Makayla Cooper. Standing L to R: Caitlyn Cooper, Annamelia Hooper, Katarina McConnell, Katie Joy Shanahan , and Madison Yellen. (Photo submitted by Missy Fincher)

Fincher herself is certified through Dance Masters of America and specializes in tap and jazz. Her daughter, Alyssa, holds a BA in dance from UNC Charlotte and is certified with Dance Masters of America for jazz, ballet and modern dance. Today the studio holds classes in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, modern, pointe (ballet), hip hop, clogging and acrobatics for as many as 125 students depending on the time of year.

“When I started taking dance at age 4, there were no degrees,” Fincher explained. “So I was certified through Dance Masters.”

Makayla Cooper stands in a heel stretch on the new Marley floor at Dance Dynamics. (Photo submitted by Missy Fincher)

Fincher said that Dance Masters of America is an international organization of dance educators that test and certify dance teachers. They also hold conventions all over the world that include chances for students to take classes from renowned dance instructors.

In November the students at Dance Dynamics will attend a Dance Masters convention in Greenville, which will give them the opportunity to study with Summer Rayl, instructor of the Rally Cats, Clemson University’s award winning dance team. Some of the students will also be competing in regional dance competitions at the convention.

Fincher said her students are ready for the spotlight. In the past not only have they danced on Broadway, they have won regional competitions and they have brought home titles such as Petite Miss Dance, Teen Miss Dance and Miss Dance of South Carolina. They have also competed for national titles in Florida, California, Tennessee and Washington, D.C.

Locally, Fincher’s students have entertained residents in area nursing homes such as White Oak, Laurel Woods and Tryon Estates. They have also danced for the Tryon Christmas Stroll, Super Saturday and the Blue Ridge Barbeque Festival. The studio also puts on an annual recital in May at Polk County High School.

According to Fincher the students receive so much more from their classes than just learning how to dance. “They learn poise and confidence,” she said. “Children involved in the arts are normally academically ahead of other students, very involved in other activities and are leaders of events and groups at school.”

In addition to becoming successful in competitions, many of Fincher’s students have gone on to dance both in college and professionally. Following the Dirty Dancing movie, filmed in Lake Lure and released in 1987, Fincher danced professionally with the Lake Lure Review of Dirty Dancing and traveled with the show. After 25 years of building her dream, Fincher and her students plan to celebrate in May with a big recital featuring a celebration theme.