Letters 10-24-2016

It’s Obama’s 1984 Several editions ago I concluded a short letter to the editor with an ominous rhetorical flourish: “Welcome to George Orwell’s 1984 and the grand opening of the Federal Department of Truth!” At the time I am sure most of the readers laughed off my comments as right-wing hyperbole. Shame on you for doubting me...

Gun Bans Don’t Work It is said that mass violence only happens in the USA. A lone gunman in a rubber boat, drifted ashore at a popular resort in Tunisia and randomly shot and killed 38 mostly British and Irish tourists. Tunisian gun laws, which are among the most restrictive in the world, didn’t stop this mass slaughter. And in January 2015, two armed men killed 11 and wounded 11 others in an attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. French gun laws didn’t stop these assassins...

Scripps’ Good Deed No good deed shall go unpunished! When Dan Scripps was the 101st District State Representative, he introduced legislation to prevent corporations from contaminating (e.g. fracking) or depleting (e.g. Nestle) Michigan’s water table for corporate profit. There are no property lines in the water table, and many of us depend on private wells for abundant, safe, clean water. In the subsequent election, Dan’s opponents ran a negative campaign almost solely on the misrepresentation that Dan’s good deed was a government takeover of your private water well...

Political Definitions As the time to vote draws near it’s a good time to check into what you stand for. According to Dictionary.com the meanings for liberal and conservative are as follows:

Liberal: Favorable to progress or reform as in political or religious affairs.

Conservative: Disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditions and limit change...

Voting Takes A Month? Hurricane Matthew hit the Florida coast Oct. 6, over three weeks before Election Day. Bob Ross (Oct. 17th issue) posits that perhaps evacuation orders from Governor Scott may have had political motivations to diminish turnout and seems to praise Hillary Clinton’s call for Gov. Scott to extend Florida’s voter registration deadline due to evacuations...

Clinton Foundation Facts Does the Clinton Foundation really spend a mere 10 percent (per Mike Pence) or 20 percent (per Reince Priebus) of its money on charity? Not true. Charity Watch gives it an A rating (the same as it gives the NRA Foundation) and says it spends 88 percent on charitable causes, and 12 percent on overhead. Here is the source of the misunderstanding: The Foundation does give only a small percentage of its money to charitable organizations, but it spends far more money directly running a number of programs...

America Needs Change Trump supports our constitution, will appoint judges that will keep our freedoms safe. He supports the partial-birth ban; Hillary voted against it. Regardless of how you feel about Trump, critical issues are at stake. Trump will increase national security, monitor refugee admissions, endorse our vital military forces while fighting ISIS. Vice-presidential candidate Mike Pence will be an intelligent asset for the country. Hillary wants open borders, increased government regulation, and more demilitarization at a time when we need strong military defenses...

My Process For No I will be voting “no” on Prop 3 because I am supportive of the process that is in place to review and approve developments. I was on the Traverse City Planning Commission in the 1990s and gained an appreciation for all of the work that goes into a review. The staff reviews the project and makes a recommendation. The developer then makes a presentation, and fellow commissioners and the public can ask questions and make comments. By the end of the process, I knew how to vote for a project, up or down. This process then repeats itself at the City Commission...

Regarding Your Postcard If you received a “Vote No” postcard from StandUp TC, don’t believe their lies. Prop 3 is not illegal. It won’t cost city taxpayers thousands of dollars in legal bills or special elections. Prop 3 is about protecting our downtown -- not Munson, NMC or the Commons -- from a future of ugly skyscrapers that will diminish the very character of our downtown...

Vote Yes It has been suggested that a recall or re-election of current city staff and Traverse City Commission would work better than Prop 3. I disagree. A recall campaign is the most divisive, costly type of election possible. Prop 3, when passed, will allow all city residents an opportunity to vote on any proposed development over 60 feet tall at no cost to the taxpayer...

Yes Vote Explained A “yes” vote on Prop 3 will give Traverse City the right to vote on developments over 60 feet high. It doesn’t require votes on every future building, as incorrectly stated by a previous letter writer. If referendums are held during general elections, taxpayers pay nothing...

Beware Trump When the country you love have have served for 33 years is threatened, you have an obligation and a duty to speak out. Now is the time for all Americans to speak out against a possible Donald Trump presidency. During the past year Trump has been exposed as a pathological liar, a demagogue and a person who is totally unfit to assume the presidency of our already great country...

Picture Worth 1,000 Words Nobody disagrees with the need for affordable housing or that a certain level of density is dollar smart for TC. The issue is the proposed solution. If you haven’t already seen the architect’s rendition for the site, please Google “Pine Street Development Traverse City”...

Living Wage, Not Tall Buildings Our community deserves better than the StandUp TC “vote no” arguments. They are not truthful. Their yard signs say: “More Housing. Less Red Tape. Vote like you want your kids to live here.” The truth: More housing, but for whom? At what price..

Home · Articles · News · Features · Soul Step Urban Dance is Phat
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Soul Step Urban Dance is Phat

Valerie Kirn-Duensing - March 2nd, 2009
Soul Step Urban Dance is Phat
Valerie Kirn-Duensing 3/2/09

A dance studio typically evokes images of pink leotards, satin ribbon toe shoes and minions of little girls lined up with their hair pulled back into tight little buns. At Soul Step Urban Dance Studio you need to stop, rewind and erase those images. It ain’t like nuthin’ we’ve seen here in Northern Michigan.
Soul Step is the brainchild of Traverse City native Emily Fine who cut her teeth dancing with the Dance Center and Dance Arts Academy throughout her childhood and teenage years. After graduating from Traverse City Central High School, she headed west in 2002, to San Francisco to further her studies in dance.
“I first fell in love with hip-hop class here in Traverse City,” said Fine. “When I got to San Francisco, that interest just grew to the point where it became my focus.”
Soul Step Urban Dance Studio opened in September when Fine and husband, Jason, moved back to the area. Class offerings are beginning hip hop, street jazz, freestyle funk, dance foundations and urban elements. No ballet. No tap. No little girls in pink tutus.
In fact, the studio is actually adult-centered, with a mature, open-minded, unintimidating atmosphere. Fine wanted to create a space where people could try new things without being self-conscious or have fear of judgments. She also wanted it to be inexpensive and thus established a drop-in dance policy. The cost is just $10 per class. Stop in when you can or when you feel like it. Multiple class cards can be purchased for quantities of eight to 44 classes with increasing incremental price breaks.
Younger students (those aged 8 to 14) will get their chance to try urban dance moves starting in March when Fine will offer a Saturday afternoon hip hop class.
“I certainly don’t want to exclude young dancers, it’s just that they already have so many options here in Traverse City,” said Fine. “My focus for now is on adults. I want to inspire positive change and promote creativity. Dance is so therapeutic. My clients can come in and forget about their problems for an hour or two.”

For those with little or no dance training, Fine recommends her Foundations class. While focusing on and breaking down basic aspects of dance such as core strength, balance, flexibility, and body isolations, participants will get to know their bodies and find a new understanding of dance and movement.
First time dancers will also feel right at home with Beginning Hip-Hop. This class is all about having fun and getting your groove on, while learning the fundamentals of hip-hop dance. From old school popping and locking to music video style moves, the diverse range of movement allows you to explore and in time, incorporate you own style. Plus, it is a good workout.
Intermediate to Advanced Hip-Hop classes simply build upon basics and fundamentals established in the beginning class. Although Fine encourages anyone to drop in and at least give it a try, especially if you have some previous dance experience.
The real fun begins with her Freestyle Funk class. Set to a funky-fresh soundtrack, students will be dancing as soon as they walk in the door. This is a high-energy class that focuses less on technique and more on exploration of individual styles and freely feeling the music.
Street Jazz is contemporary jazz mixed with isolations and syncopations of hip-hop. It is designed for all levels of dancers ranging from first timers to advanced.
Urban Elements is one of the newest dance forms out there. It is an exploration of the diverse language of hip hop, including club and house style dancing. Expect anything from Michael Jackson’s moonwalk, to b-boy top rocks.
“Hip-hop is so misunderstood,” said Fine. “Mainstream media just trashes it. I want to represent it in a positive light.”

Hip-hop first surfaced in the 1970s in New York City as a style of music, dance, dress and even behavior. The phrase “hip-hop” was actually first used in “scatting” sequences, which are moments of improvisation when the “MC” or DJ speaks rhythmically over the top of the musical beat.
At the same time a similar phenomenon was happening on the west coast, except its version had a decidedly funky beat to it and introduced the main stay dance moves of “pop” and “lock.” Over time, the dance forms of the west and east coasts were linked by common interests in music and now the term ‘hip-hop” incorporates influences from the ‘70s from both areas and there is less distinction between the two.
According to Fine, hip-hop is an amazingly creative, energizing and empowering form of dance. It allows for much more improvisation and personal interpretation than any other form of dance she knows of. Because it is so high energy, it is also a very effective cardio workout.
For now, Fine works part time at Oryana Natural Foods Market by day and teaches dance by night. She has big dreams of using dance to inspire positive change in people’s lives.
“I was definitely inspired by my first dance teacher to have my own studio,” said Fine. “I feel lucky that one of my dreams has already come true.”
You can check out Soul Step at
www.soulstepdancestudio.com or call the studio at (231) 421-5656. Soul Step is located at 1249 Woodmere in Traverse City.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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