Keeping in step

Annie Marshall, left, director of the annual Firehouse Christmas special “The Nutcracker” recently opened her own studio called Miss Annie’s Straight Up Dance, located on south Main Street.

Students looking to learn dance need look no further than downtown Del Rio.

Annie Marshall, the director of the annual Firehouse Christmas special “The Nutcracker” recently opened her own studio.

Marshall, owner of Miss Annie’s Straight Up Dance, located on south Main Street, has been directing and teaching dance at the Firehouse the past two years. She was also teaching at Velocity Cheer and Dance prior to her commission at the Firehouse.

Nicki Helmer, community outreach director for the Del Rio Council for the Arts at the Firehouse Gallery, said Marshall has been directing “The Nutcracker” with perfection.

“She is a self starter,” said Helmer. “She has taken over the ‘Nutcracker’ performance that we do every year and … the community loves her and her students love her. The parents love to get involved and help out and she makes it a community event.”

With the growing awareness of Marshall’s knack for teaching dance, she decided to take it to another level.

“I decided that I’m ready to do some more classes on my own,” said Marshall. “I didn’t realize how much I love teaching dance until I went to the Firehouse [where she instructs 40 students]. The kids have grown so much in the last two years and I have been seeing little ballerinas and that has shown me how much I love it. I talked to Georgia Bradford, owner of Georgia’s School of Dance, and she was ready to retire so (I) decided to take over (the studio).”

Liz Overfelt said Marshall was able to help her daughter Viktoria overcome her shyness as she prepared for her solo lyrical performance.

“My daughter started off very shy and she wasn’t very secure, but after several lessons with Mrs. Marshall she had so much confidence,” said Overfelt. “We are so appreciative that she was able to make our daughter feel comfortable. We admire her because she gives that teacher touch with the touch of mommy feeling. She is amazing.”

Marshall grew up in a small town in Kansas where she trained at a local dance studio for 16 years. After enlisting in the United States Air Force her dancing career came to halt.

Upon settling in Del Rio Marshall and her husband had five children. Once her daughters were eventually of age to begin taking dance classes, Marshall was drawn back into the scene as she started teaching dance at Velocity for five years.

Dancing is a type of meditation said Marshall.

“The thing that’s great about dance is that it can make you feel happy. You can do it no matter how young or how old you are. If you go on YouTube and watch these videos of little kids or older people dancing it can make you feel (good) just from (watching) them. So it’s something that can really allow you to feel joy and happiness and I believe that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been open to all types of different dances. When you stop thinking about putting yourself in little boxes and just focus on letting yourself have fun and feel emotion that’s what dance is all about. It’s expressing emotion and I believe everybody enjoys dancing because of that. The basic part of dance is that your able to relax and enjoy things and show apart of yourself that you can’t show in any other way,” said Marshall.

Marshall specializes in lyrical, Hip Hop, Jazz, Tap and Ballet.

Despite opening her own studio, Marshall will still be directing “The Nutcracker” this year, which is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 6.

She said she is thankful to her mother Sharon Boles.

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