Home > Uncategorized > Studio Zahiya Dancer Profile: Michele Dohse

Studio Zahiya Dancer Profile: Michele Dohse

Michele dancing with Bala!

Name: Michele Dohse

Profession: Legal Assistant

Volunteer Work: RiverLink, Carolina Mountain Club, Asheville Middle School media center, Asheville City Schools Foundation tutor program

Family: Michele and her husband, Till, have 3 children: daughters Sonja, 23, and Katja, 20, (both dancers) and son Sasha, 17 (who is more into climbing).

Michele Dohse met her husband of 26 years, Till, dancing.

They first clicked at the International Folk Dance group that met on the N.C. State University campus in the 1970’s when Michele was in high school. The duo advanced to more challenging classes, including a series of Hungarian Dance workshops in Quebec. After they survived Hungarian dancing together, they decided it was time to get married.

“We told each other it was never going to get any worse than that, and strangely enough, we were right,” Michele said.

In her 35-year exploration of clogging, jigue (French-Canadian step dancing), swing, contra, belly and bhangra, dancing has enriched Michele’s life in many unexpected ways. She credits the upper body isolations of belly dance with curing her incipient carpal tunnel syndrome.

Belly dancing also came along at just the right moment when her daughters were teenagers. “It provided them with a positive body image and circle of caring women friends at a vulnerable time,” she said. Belly dancing was also a way for them to connect with their mother, as they encouraged Michelle to return to a style of dance that she had last experimented with at age 19.

The main dance genre she practices with Lisa Zahiya is bhangra, a folk dance that originated in the Punjab region of India. Bhangra has grown worldwide popularity in recent years, especially when mixed with hip hop in dance clubs.

“With bhangra I feel I’ve come full circle back to the folk dance I loved in my teens and twenties,” Michele said. “There is something exuberantly earthy about it, and the music and its rhythms are irresistible. It blends a village festival feel with an urban party groove, and all kinds of interesting and exciting things happen at that border.”

“I like the energy and pacing of Lisa’s classes,” Michele continued. “She’s always changing it up, mixing hip-hop, bhangra, and Bollywood, and varying the pace. Lisa does a great job of breaking down complex moves into more ‘digestible’ pieces and also stresses each dancer do what feels right for her or him. We also learn tidbits about other cultures and the context of the dance.”

For about a year, Michele danced with Lisa’s bhangra & Bollywood troupe Bala!, which performs at festivals and club events. “The energy of bhangra is so infectious there is an instant connection with the audience,” she said. It was a great feeling to be part of a very close-knit group.” She stresses to anyone considering joining a performance troupe that it requires a commitment of time, energy and money and should not be undertaken lightly. The troupe members are depending on your participation.

The dance forms that Michele concentrates on may change, fade from her life, or circle back and return later. But the bonds that she has created in class, whether they be with her family, troupe members or an array of talented dance teachers, will remain.

written by Megan Riley, www.wncmretc.com

Categories: Uncategorized
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