Marana’s annual Holiday Festival attracts residents and visitors from across southern Arizona. For years, this event has served as a showcase of talent with performances from the many music, dance, and choral groups that call Marana home. This year, for the first time, ShowBiz Academy of Dance will join the festivities and will surely delight any holiday reveler. On December 5, they will take the stage outside the Marana Municipal Complex and share with the community their considerable talent.
Five years ago, Meghan Lloyd had an idea. Considering that she spent most of her time in a microbiology lab on the University of Arizona’s campus, this shouldn’t be surprising. She had lots of ideas. This idea, though, had nothing to do with cells or DNA or mitosis. This idea was about dance. For years, she had spent hours in ballet slippers or tap shoes, but so far, dancing was only a hobby. “Suddenly, I just decided, I wanted to go on an adventure,” she recalled recently. “With very little warning, I dropped out of my graduate program and decided to open a dance studio. Five years later, I couldn’t be happier with that decision.”
Meghan may have abandoned the lab, but in many ways she still approaches her professional life with the mindset of a scientist. She carefully monitors her brainchild with the care and diligence of a researcher watching over an experiment. Every afternoon, the young students of her studio migrate from the classroom to the dance room, where the real work begins. Almost every day, they refine their relevés, perfect their pirouettes, and practice their poissons. Eventually, their routine will include not a single faux pas. Keeping an eye over it all is Meghan, helping her students discover their potential.
“I want them to be good dancers, and I want them to be good people,” reflects Meghan. The point of ShowBiz Academy isn’t to turn young students into professional dancers, but to provide them with a healthy, positive, and creative outlet. “Many of my students are young women, and what I really hope is that dance gives them greater confidence, time and stress management skills, and a sense of teamwork. As a grad student, I was the only woman in my research lab. I want these girls to know that their gender should in no way affect what careers they wish to pursue.”
With such lofty ambitions, Meghan is unwilling to restrict her studio’s vision only to dancing. “We see ourselves as members of a larger community, and we feel it’s our responsibility to contribute to this community.” Every year, ShowBiz Academy’s Premier Company performs at a charity benefit for Wings for Women, a local non-profit that helps impoverished and homeless women find safe and permanent housing. Like many groups in Marana, they also make considerable contributions to the Food Bank, and they participate in the Salvation Army’s holiday Adopt-a-Family program. “All these efforts are intended to help my students look beyond themselves and connect with those around them,” explains Meghan.
ShowBiz Academy is a group that values giving back to their community, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that they would choose to perform excerpts from a ballet that extols the virtues of gift-giving. When they take the stage, they will perform “Chinese Tea” and “Russian Candy Canes” from Act II of The Nutcracker. Onlookers will surely enjoy the grace and poise of these performers as they carefully execute the maneuvers of Tchaikovsky’s classic work. For those eager for more after their brief performance on Saturday, ShowBiz will be hosting a Winter Wonderland the next day, featuring performances from many of their talented dancers. This showcase will be held at Canyon del Oro High School at 4pm on Sunday, December 6.
The Holiday Festival and Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on Saturday, December 5, from 3-8pm, at the Marana Municipal Complex, 11555 W. Civic Center Dr. ShowBiz Academy is sure to provide an incredible display of talent and dedication that’s not to be missed. Join your neighbors as you kick off the holiday season and delight in the graceful skills of ShowBiz’s talented dancers.