The Rutherford Report—Mountain School Trains Dancers

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“Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.”

—Jonathan Swift
Mountain School Trains Dancers

When Sharon McCormick and her family moved from Santa Monica to Lake Arrowhead in 1980, Sharon wanted to share her love for dance with the mountain communities by opening a dance school.

But first she had to overcome the widely held perception that dancing was just a fun pastime.

“It’s always fun, but everyone’s interpretation of fun is different,” Sharon said. “It took a long time to change people’s way of thinking.”

When the Lake Arrowhead School of Dance started in 1981 in the large annex a Cedar Glen couple had added to their home, Sharon had a hard time convincing clients their children needed to come to class more than once a week.

As parents and students discovered what it took to really learn dance, they began to come around to Sharon’s way of thinking.

It took two years before the Lake Arrowhead School of Dance hosted its first performance. After that, the school hosted free performances wherever it could find a free venue. Students performed in the Rim of the World High School cafeteria, a local church’s community center and other spots around the mountain.

“We just hunted everything down just to be able to perform,” Sharon said.

In 1993, Sharon and her dancers took the dance school to a new level with the formation of the Lake Arrowhead Classical Ballet Company.

Since then, the Company has hosted numerous classical, contemporary and original performances for the Rim of the World United School District, the Children’s Cancer Ward at Loma Linda University Medical Center, the Palos Verdes Art Centre, the Palm Springs Playhouse and numerous other venues.

The Company’s annual holiday performance of The Nutcracker is its most popular event, and Sharon spares no expense in putting on the production, hiring professional dancers and getting professionally designed sets and lighting.

Sharon could place her students in the classic ballet’s leadings roles, but having professional dancers helps keep her young students grounded.

“I want my dancers to know they can do that, but they really have to continue working really hard after they leave me to reach that level,” she said.

Many of her students have gone on to develop dance careers, performing with professional ballet companies, on Broadway and even becoming dance teachers.

Even if they don’t pursue professional dancer careers, students benefit in many ways from the various skills and attributes they develop through dance.

“They are learning something that is going to make them a more developed person when it comes to the presentation of themselves, self-confidence, organizational skills, commitment and comportment,” Sharon said.

Click here to learn more about the Lake Arrowhead School of Dance.
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