The Pointe Studio of Dance

by Terry Watson | October 23rd, 2012

The Pointe dancers (Photo by Shaw Photography Group)

Gina Tate is a dancer. She is a serious, professional dancer. From classical ballet, to modern, to tap, to jazz, to African dance to Brazilian. She is well skilled in them all. The Akron, Ohio native has received years of formal training and instruction from some of the best colleges and universities offering dance training. She boasts an impressive resume showcasing numerous performing arts positions she has held, including being one of the inaugural members of the Carolina TopCats – the official cheerleading squad of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Tate has also performed for well-known actress, dancer and choreographer, Debbie Allen. It’s obvious she knows her craft and is exceptional at what she does.

For the past seven years Tate has been excitedly engrossed in growing and living her dream. In 2006, encouraged by the love and patience of her husband, Jamie and two sons, Avilon and Aviel, she followed her dream and opened her very own professional dance studio – The Pointe Studio of Dance. The Pointe provides dance training for ages two-years-old to adult. Tate maintains a staff of well-qualified, professionally trained dance instructors and volunteers that assist and make the studio the success it has become. The Pointe provides a wide range of opportunities; from those seeking to become professional dancers to those individuals who just love to dance and take the classes for recreational and exercise purposes. Nevertheless, Tate is simply excited and passionate about sharing her love of dance.

“We understand not everyone will or would want to become a ‘Prima-Ballerina’ but we strive for excellence in whatever our client’s dreams are,” says Tate. “I’m probably too passionate about what I do if there is such a thing. I’m the type that won’t quit until it’s right. I strive for perfection with my studio and being great just isn’t enough for me. I work very hard and I’m always thinking of what I can do next,” she says. What drives her is making opportunities for children so that they can shine and being able to see the transformation that takes place when they grow, come out of their shell, has a new look of self-esteem all over them and starts loving who they are inside and out. Tate affectionately states that is her ultimate goal and doesn’t consider her job being done until this is accomplished.

Tate believes in a strong technique-based training for all of The Pointe’s students. She says that ballet is the foundation for all dance training. It paves the way for tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary and for every other dance style. Unfortunately, she says most dance students would prefer to skip the ballet introduction and preparation, unless they seek to be a ballerina, and jump directly into the more “fun” dance styles. “Some students just don’t understand that it’s that foundation that you need to be successful in this dance world,” says Tate. “It takes a lot of discipline. That’s why many kids don’t stick with it. I teach them — you don’t have to love it, just learn it. That way you can go into any technique and be successful.” Tate says her students are surprised to know many hip hop artists and dancers have classical dance background and training, including ballet.

The Pointe classes incorporate all types of dances. It is important for Tate that all students are at least introduced to the different dance styles so that they or their parents can make an informed decision should they decide to focus on a specific type. Although classes are offered based upon skill level, no prospective student is ever turned away from the studio. Tate says no matter what, everyone will fit in somewhere. She absolutely loves the fact that what she offers is something that many youth and adults alike are not frequently exposed to. It’s an opportunity for individuals to step outside of their norm and experience a new art form.

The Pointe continues to flourish and experience phenomenal growth, to Tate’s delight. However, at this successful stage it’s something she can’t believe almost never happened. “I am only in business because of my faith in my father, God,” she says. “I put my trust in man twice to start my career and needless to say, it failed both times. It wasn’t until I stepped out on faith, scared and alone, to open my studio that God showed me that I could do all things through him, no matter how insecure and unsure I was of myself.”

With those insecurities behind her, Tate decided she was equipped to provide so much more. When students join The Pointe family they will receive technical, structured classes, along with other life lessons that will help cultivate the inner man as well. Tate believes in dealing with the whole individual. She encourages and teaches the students about healthy eating and living, correct posture and various other topics that when performed, will ultimately produce more confident and skilled dancers. Tate wants all her students to be successful despite what style of dance they choose to pursue. Many of her students have gone on to become very successful, having been invited to programs from the likes of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

While The Pointe serves all cultures and ethnicities – Caucasian, African American, Hispanic, Latino and more -Tate believes her niche in Greensboro is to provide more opportunities for the underserved African American dance student. Accordingly, the studio has become known for taking many well-known musicals and transforming them into all dance productions, of which Tate partners with Robin Rich McGhee.

For the last four years The Pointe has produced an amazing, completely all dance version of the 1970s classic The Wiz, which originally featured the late Michael Jackson and Diana Ross. All dance sequences are choreographed by Tate and her assistants. The production has become a popular field trip for many Guilford County Schools. Additionally, The Pointe introduced Cindy and the Glass Slipper-an adaptation of Disney’s Cinderella-honoring and commemorating the life of Whitney Houston this past summer. Some of the schools have already inquired about this year’s production schedule, which will be held March 1 and 2, 2013 at Harrison Auditorium on North Carolina A&T’s campus.

Tate is motherly proud of all of her emerging, confident and skilled dancers. So proud that she enthusiastically awaits every end of term recital. Ballet, African, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop – The Pointe brings them all together, in their signature pink and brown, for a yearly recital and performance for the entire community to enjoy. “The recitals are different themes each year. We did Broadway last year and it was great. The community supports us at our shows pretty well, but would I like to see more people support our children? Of course. We are still babes on the block and I think the word is getting out about how professional and fabulous our dancers are and how entertaining our recitals and dance productions have become,” she says.

The recitals are held at Harrison Auditorium as well. The next recital is scheduled for June 1, 2013. However, each year’s themes are kept under tight lock and key, so patrons will just have to sit in anticipation for a few more months. Rest assured it will be well worth the wait.
Whether it’s classes, or community awareness projects, there is always something going on at the burgeoning studio. “We perform all the time in the community so hopefully people will begin to open up to THE POINTE!” says Tate. Students deemed to have exceptional talent and work ethic may even be invited to become a member of The Pointe Company, which spends considerable time doing community events and activities. Last terms dance class had an average of 100 eager students and Tate is looking forward to all the new exciting events, paths and productions that lie ahead.

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