Alisha Walsh leads students in her Creative Dance class through meaningful movements, including dancing, spinning, stretching and yoga poses. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group

Alisha Walsh leads students in her Creative Dance class through meaningful movements, including dancing, spinning, stretching and yoga poses. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group

Dancing, stretching and spinning for health and happiness

New South Whidbey studio teaches meaningful movement for kids

Captivating a room full of energetic youngsters is no easy feat, but Alisha Walsh manages to command a room full of budding dancers with ease, her energetic voice cutting across a room to lead students into a variety of poses and dance moves.

The new dance and yoga studio in Langley, Meaningful Movement Dance & Yoga, is a dream come true for 32-year-old Alisha Walsh.

Having worked as a dance teacher since she was 18 and minored in business in college, plus earning a yoga certification, Walsh’s experience and hard work have paid off — the business venture has already proved promising since launching in February, Walsh said.

Walsh and her husband moved to Whidbey Island last fall from Seattle; she is originally from Spokane. Since moving, she’s been busy getting to know the community and building trust.

She’s working to understand what is needed on the island, Walsh said.

“It’s been a wonderful experience,” she said of her adventures on the island so far.

Some studio classes she offers include kids’ yoga and creative dance, both for grades first through sixth, and a “Me and Mine” class in which parents participate with their children.

She also leads community yoga for ages 18 and up Wednesdays from 7:45-8:45 p.m. by donation on the lawn of Freeland Hall.

Yoga has benefits for children and adults alike, Walsh said. Mental and physical benefits help people manage stress and feel rewarded after mastering tricky yoga poses.

Her classes are “helping people find calmness and stillness” she said, an important breather in today’s rushed, modern society.

And she knows what it feels like to be under pressure. She grew up as a competitive dancer, practicing all different styles, from jazz to hip hop.

“I was used to being in the competitive mode,” she said. “What I love about yoga is that it’s the opposite of that. It’s not about competing with the person next to you.”

Now, it’s all about moving for the joy of it — “Meaningful Movement,” that is, hence her business name. Yoga and its calmness can even become addicting. But it’s a good addiction, she said.

She hopes that her business will grow and thrive, perhaps even franchise someday. It’s hard to tell where her business will go, she said.

“It would be awesome to create something that’s worth replicating,” she said. “The sky is the limit.”

For those interested but not yet ready to dive into a full financial commitment, Walsh offers the opportunity to try the first class for free.

Meaningful Movement Dance & Yoga is located at the South Whidbey Community Center in Langley at 723 Camano Ave. Classes meet on Wednesdays and cost $60 per session, which typically run between three and four weeks.

Registration is done online at www.meaningfulmovement.biz or by calling 360-322-4284.

Alisha Walsh leads students in her Creative Dance class through meaningful movements, including dancing, spinning, stretching and yoga poses. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group

Alisha Walsh leads students in her Creative Dance class through meaningful movements, including dancing, spinning, stretching and yoga poses. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group

Students in Alisha Walsh’s class spin in circles, turning lightweight scarves into blurs of color as they twirl. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group

Students in Alisha Walsh’s class spin in circles, turning lightweight scarves into blurs of color as they twirl. Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News Group