This September, Playhouse 395 welcomed back accomplished dancer and choreographer Dennis Wayne. The mountains are to thank for his annual sojourn back to the Owens Valley: After discovering the beauty of the Eastern Sierra a few years back, Wayne has called Mammoth Lakes home for part of each year and local dance enthusiasts are thrilled he has chosen this region to share his talent, skills and love of dance.
Wayne has a long history in the professional performing arts world as a top American dancer, choreographer, teacher and coach. He was a principal dancer with the Harkness Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet and the American Ballet Theater. Along with Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, he founded his own company, Dennis Wayne’s Dancers, which performed in more than 160 cities worldwide between 1975 and 1989.
In 1995, he was the founding director of the Children’s Cultural Center in West Palm Beach, Fla. where he continues to teach. Here in the Eastern Sierra, Wayne’s busy schedule includes classes in Bishop, a Powerbarre group in Mammoth Lakes and weekend trips to Reno where he serves as instructor and coach for the Nevada Ballet.
“Wayne’s wealth of experience is a rare find in our small Eastside town, and his engaging style is an inspiration to students of all ages and levels of experience,” said Playhouse 395 member Emily Johnson.
When asked about teaching dance, Wayne said, “I feel it is my responsibility to pass the knowledge that was given to me by my own teachers on to the younger generation.” Wayne’s mentors include greats such as Martha Graham and George Balanchine.
Playhouse 395 choreographer Tanya Zaleschuk noted that one of the key benefits to studying with a teacher of Wayne’s caliber is that “students learn the correct form and develop the muscle memory of healthy movement patterns that will prevent injury and enhance performance.”
Comments from enthusiastic students in his classes range from “Dennis is fun!” (from a 6-year-old dancer), to “I take classes in New York when I am there, and Dennis is every bit as demanding” (from an adult student).
Wayne is currently offering a variety of classes: Ballet for 3- to 6-year-olds, Powerbarre, and Adult Ballet. No previous experience is necessary and all classes take place at the Playhouse 395 Performing Arts Studio on West Line Street in Bishop.
A detailed class schedule and enrollment information may be found by visiting www.Playhouse395.com  (click on the Performing Arts Studio tab), or by calling the Studio at (760) 920-9100.