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New dance company coming to Erwin

By Richard Rourk

A local studio is offering residents of Unicoi County a chance to shake off the pandemic and post holiday blues.

Absolute Arts Dance Company, 361 Okolona Drive, in Erwin, is offering several dance class options for 2021 – from seasoned dance instructors who have decades of dance experience.

“Myself and Cheryl Willingham (Absolute Arts Dance Company co-director) share over 40 plus years of combined teaching experience of both directors,” Absolute Arts Dance Company Founder/Artistic Director Erin Weatherford told The Erwin Record. “We are winning choreographers at regional and national dance competitions. We have taught in the Tri-Cities, Virginia, and Florida. We have danced at Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Disney, Universal Studios and in New York City.”

According to Weatherford, who is the color guard instructor at Unicoi County High School for the Blue Devil Band, Absolute Arts Dance Company offers unique opportunities for their dancers.

“We offer two programs paths,” Weatherford said. “We offer performance and competitive dance opportunities. We plan to build our team and travel competing in regional and national competitions. Also we offer online dance education for anyone that can’t make it to the studio.”

Weatherford confirmed that her dance studio is very inclusive.

“Our mission is to inspire the young and young at heart of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and abilities to be their best selves, feel encouraged and supported and gain confidence,” Weatherford said. “Our students will flourish in a positive environment where personal growth and grace are the focus, using the dance arts as the springboard for self-esteem, camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment.”

Absolute Arts Dance Company offers many dance styles from the most novice to the most advanced student.

“We offer ballet, pre-pointe, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, musical theater, improvisations, dance team prep and conditioning, stretch and technique classes,” Weatherford said. “We have students that are 2-and-a-half-years-old all the way to adulthood. You are never too old to dance.”

According to Weatherford, it takes a dedicated team to make Absolute Arts Dance Company a success.

“I have to acknowledge our loyal staff – Misty Haun, Eliza Carr, Morgan Keheley, Claire Bolus, Emy Johnson, Carys Scalf, Gabriel Chandler and Kate Hollenbeck,” Weatherford said. “I would like to thank Jeff Weatherford, Thomas Yon and Ralph Willingham for the countless hours of hard work on the renovations and all the work they have done to make this happen. Also, a big thank you to Dirk Rybak, Wesley Bradley and Chris Scalf for everything.”

Things are moving fast for Absolute Arts Dance Company and interested prospects can get information or join at

“We have a Ribbon Cutting Celebration with the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce on Dec.17 and an open house and registration on Dec. 19,” Weatherford said. “We are open Monday through Thursday from 4-8 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. until noon. You can follow us on Facebook at AADanceCo or on Instagram at absoluteartsdc.”