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Local woman dances into her destiny at new studio

By KAREN THIEL

For the Washington Daily News

Thirty-five years ago, Myesia Howard Martin was a 2-year-old child who just had to start dancing every time she heard a beat she liked. Since her mid-20s, she has shared her love of motion with children from Beaufort to Hyde counties, using borrowed spaces to train them for everything from parades and cheerleading to fashion shows and dance exhibitions. This week, when she opens Dollz In Motion Dance Studio, she will be stepping high in a whole new way.

“I’ve dreamed of this day,” Martin said of Monday’s opening. “And I’m already dreaming about our first recital!”

Offerings at the studio include classes in ballet or hip-hop for children from 2 to 12 years old, taught in separate age-matched groups that include students whose birthdays are within two years of each other. Martin said pandemic-related features will include class size limits and temperature checks at the door, as well as “payments at the door to minimize exposure.” All classes will be taught by Martin, who said her training comes from a lifetime love of music and motion.

“I was in ballet and tap classes, as well as studying hip-hop when I was younger, and the praise and worship team through my church. I grew up dancing to any kind of beat. I didn’t even have to like the music if I liked the beat. And all that sprung back up with I was older,” Martin said.

Her informal classes for kids began in her late 20s and, over almost two decades, have spread in style almost as quickly as they grew in popularity. Parade photos of her Mini Marines, Mini Band and cheer-leading teams have frequented the front pages of the Daily News and other area newspapers. Her style — and her dancers — have been tapped by the likes of UNC TV’s show Rootle, as well as Beaufort-Hyde Partnership for Children, as part of the partnership’s annual parade.

ATTENTIVE AUDIENCE: Myesia Howard Martin demonstrates hand positioning for some of her ballet students during a recent class. (Shae Moore)

The dance studio’s spring semester registration capacity is already full because her name is out there in the community, according to said Theresa Clayton, who was her director for 11 years at the Care-O-World Early Learning Center in Washington.

“When an event comes up, people know she can deliver,” Clayton said.

Martin has been a teacher at Care-O-World since she was 19 years old.

“I interviewed her for that job, and when she walked in, she just had the most energy I’ve ever seen in one person,” Clayton said. “She still has that energy at 37. Her love for children that day just shone bright like a star and that has definitely not stopped.”

One of the first children to dance through the door next week will be 4-year-old Jordan Lanier, who has known Martin since before she could say her name.

“She has been in that daycare since she was 3 months old, and in Myesha’s performances from 2 years old,” said Jordan’s mother, Claudette Lanier. “Jordan is in anything that Myesha has, whether it’s runways, fashion shows or kiddy proms, and we support her 100% in whatever she does, because Jordan has really come out of her shell with Myesha. She is a miracle.”

And the term “miracle” covers more than Martin’s teaching style with the children she calls “my kids.” Four years ago, two days after giving birth to her youngest son, Martin suffered a rare labor-related “dissection” of her heart, which literally separated, bursting the left valve and flooding her chest cavity with blood. Martin died in the car as her husband rushed her to the hospital, was revived when he sped into the 15th Street fire station and screamed for help, then coded in the emergency room before being brought back one more time and rushed into surgery.

“Four years later, to the day, I will be opening the doors to my dream business,” Martin said of that harrowing experience. “I’m ready for fun. I want to be the teacher who puts my boots on when it rains and goes out to splash, the one who puts a crown on every girl at the end of every show because not everybody can afford a pageant, and I want to be the person who is an inspiration in a child’s life, who will be their mom when their mom isn’t there. Not everybody has that.”

Dollz In Motion Dance Studio is located at 1301 Highland Drive, Suite 101, in Washington. Martin may be reached on line at Dollzinmotion.com and on Facebook at Dollz In Motion Dance Studio, or by phone at 252-402-1881.