Culture Spotlight: Malashock Dance
Posted on March 10, 2018
Three decades ago, John Malashock smoothly segued from an impressive professional dance career into creating one of the most renowned teaching studios in San Diego, Malashock Dance. Located in Point Loma at Liberty Station, Malashock’s current classes range from contemporary beginner and ballet to adult hip-hop and even toddler-focused. Students hone their craft, dancing in performances and workshops, participating in arts festivals, collaborating with other cultural organizations, and developing choreography work for film and TV.
“Once I’ve chosen music or have it written for me, and know what themes I want to convey, I go into the studio with my dancers and invent the choreography without over-thinking things,” Malashock explains. “For me, music always comes before the dance, and it ‘guides’ me on what to do. In that simple way, dance is, by its nature, a collaborative art form. I think of music and dance like a perfect pairing between food and wine.”
Malashock works to engage his students in fresh, unique choreography, while still employing techniques he mastered dancing professionally in New York City and touring with dance legend Twyla Tharp.
Recent additions include outreach programs like Dance ABILITY for people with disabilities, and educational ones like Math in Motion, bringing free or low-cost dance programming into city schools. Molly Puryear, who is responsible for the studio’s educational programming, says the Math in Motion program is rapidly growing in popularity. “Kids are simultaneously learning dance and math, so they learn how math plays a part in creating and sequencing dances and how dance can reflect abstract ideas. It gives kids who might not be interested in dance something familiar to latch on to, and also gives students who excel in the performing arts a place where they can shine during their school day,” Puryear says.
“Our outreach programs are really gaining a lot of momentum,” continues Puryear, who also helped create the Malashock Dance School in 2007. “We’re proud of the impact they have on the schools and students. This year, we’re launching a new program in partnership with TranscenDance, where students will create and teach dances to professional dancers. They get to see their choreography performed by professionals and presented in a public performance.”
To celebrate 30 years of Malashock Dance Studio’s award-winning work, Malashock has created a new show made up of three separate choreographic works, which will be performed at the Lyceum Theater March 17-25. Then, on May 26, the “Art of Dance” fundraising gala will take place at The Abbey on Fifth, featuring fashion, dance, and art in a festive party environment. Proceeds will funds to support education outreach programs and scholarship funds that make the art of dance and its life-changing experiences accessible to all. 619.260.1622, malashockdance.org Ryan Thomas