Expressions In Rhythm Studio

by Terry Watson | February 20th, 2018
Belindaand Preston Brown

Belindaand Preston Brown

Expressions in Rhythm Studio (EIRS) is a technique driven performing arts studio in the heart of Raleigh, NC. They provide a positive atmosphere with instructors that encourage students (affectionately known as “Expressers”) to maximize their talents and have fun with optimism, to celebrate their achievements, and by rewarding efforts, rather than success. Their focus is creating compositions that integrate the elements of music, dance, and theater to students through trend-setting performing arts education. They allow students to learn and express the art of standing out through the performing arts. Their program includes recreational classes and a nationally-award winning competitive dance program reserved for dancers who wish to take their skills to the next level.

They are a multi-cultural performing arts studio that speak to the African-American experience. Some of the programs offered include Acro, African, Ballet, Djembe Drumming, Hip Hop, Jazz, Liturgical, Lyrical, and Tap. Expressers discover traditional West African dances in African, play authentic West African rhythms in Djembe, exalt God in Liturgical, and learn about African American culture in Hip Hop. EIRS supports the dance education students receive from Wake County by expanding their performing arts experiences and partnering with these schools through its Express After School Program. This ensures that children in their community expand their dance education by complimenting curriculum that is already in place. They teach Expressers as young as two years old and have classes available for our more seasoned citizens.

Preston Brown, Artistic Director and Belinda Brown, Creative Director are the owners of Expressions in Rhythm Studio. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Preston (affectionately known to Expressers as “Mr. PJ”) is a dedicated intellectual of Djembe as well as West African music. Preston began his tutelage under Bradley Simmons, former Music Director of the African-American Dance Ensemble and current Musical Director at Duke University where he teaches West African Music and History. Preston enjoys teaching traditional Djembe rhythms and has performed at numerous community events where his love for drumming and teaching is appreciated by everyone.

A native of Queens, NY, Belinda (affectionately known to Expressers as “Ms. Bee”) began her dance training at the age of four at Gloria Jackson Dance Studio, where she studied African, Ballet, Jazz, and Tap. She is a graduate of North Carolina Central University and continued her love of dance by becoming a dance instructor at Adele’s Creative Dance Centre in 1992. Belinda has performed at New York City’s Theatre in the Park and has appeared on Good Day New York & Spiritual Awakening. In 1993, Belinda expanded her African, Ballet, Jazz, and Tap training to include Liturgical, and became the Dance Ministry Leader at Merrick Park Baptist Church in 1995. After moving to North Carolina, Belinda had an opportunity to continue teaching dance. In 2010, she was appointed the choreographer position of the Redeeming Love Missionary Baptist Church Dance Ministry. With 40 years of dance training and over 20 years of teaching experience, Belinda directs Expressions in Rhythm Studio’s African, Liturgical, Tap, and Tap/Ballet Combination programs. She also teaches Zumba classes and is a certified Zumba fitness instructor.

While EIRS seeks to make their brand more prevalent in the Raleigh area, their location has been a bit of a challenge for them. Given the fact they have very little foot traffic and visibility, they have relied on the success of their programs and clients in doing so. As a community-based organization who is intent on maintaining a positive presence in the community, awareness is vital. “We guarantee that once people discover our program and the benefits of it, their excitement will spark interest in our community, and their participation in our program will bear fruit. We’re offering quality instruction, an award winning competitive dance program, and a recital experience that we would like more children in our community to take advantage of,” they say.

Preston and Belinda Brown offer three bits of advice for others who may follow in their footsteps. One, keep God first and He will direct your path. This journey hasn’t always been easy, but it’s been worth it. Two, Expressions in Rhythm Studio is known for our amazing customer service and attention to detail. We strive to make things easy on parents and implement feedback that benefits our fresh approach to the performing arts. Keep your customers and clients interest first. Three, keep your community at the forefront of your mission. Chances are if you have attended an event in the Triangle within the past year, Expressions in Rhythm Studio has performed there. We have performed at danceSPARK, Light Up Main, Spiritual Awakening, the African American Dance Ensemble’s Kwanzafest, and local Christmas parades to name a few.

Moving forward, Preston and Belinda say they are excited about expanding their program with more classes. There is more in store for Expressions in Rhythm Studio that will include more than dance and music. They are also working on increasing the number of scholarships provided through the James B. Harewood Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship, which is named after Belinda’s father is presented to a High School graduate who is pursuing a post-secondary degree and an Expresser at Expressions in Rhythm Studio. They also receive a monetary award towards their college education during the EIRS annual recital. After their scholarship is presented, they honor them by performing their annual father daughter dance in which their students and the special men in their lives get to shine.

To learn more about EIRS, please visit their studio, or contact them by telephone, e-mail or online.

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