Armentality Keeps Students Dancing Through LifeBy Jane Whitttington on July 23rd, 2016 /
Laura Armenta, founder of Armentality Movement Arts Center, doesn’t restrict herself or her students to just one form of dance. Together, they explore contemporary, Asian and East Indian, Middle Eastern, and African dance. Added to the mix is yoga of all kinds, fitness classes including the very popular Full Mighty Body Conditioning and special offerings like choreographing and teaching dances for weddings and “girls night out” events. Laura believes that everyone can find a form of dance they love, and her studio offers a safe, welcoming and friendly environment in which to experiment, move and discover new outlets for creativity.
Armenta was born and raised in Mexico City and received a degree from the National Institute of Fine Arts there. She has continued her study of dance and choreography in Chicago, New York City and other centers of dance throughout North America. Armenta says, “I have been dancing and teaching for 30 years, and my passion for dance has never diminished.”
She continues, “In 1991, I had to have knee surgery, and this led me to discover holistic medicine and yoga therapy which I began to incorporate into my practice and my teaching.”
With between 100 and 150 students at any given time, the studio offers year-round classes and an open-enrollment schedule. Armenta herself teaches most of the classes although there are a few instructors who rent space from her to offer their own classes.
While most of her students are women, Armenta says she has a core group of men who practice yoga with her. She was a wellness consultant at Amway for 11 years, and many of the men with whom she worked there now study with her at her studio.
Armentality occupies the sixth floor of the old Masonic Hall in downtown Grand Rapids. The studio relocated to this venue four years ago, and it has proven to be a good fit. Armenta likes the urban location and is committed to keeping her work located in the city center.
One of Armenta’s most popular classes is Full Mighty Body Conditioning which combines barre work, free weights and the use of large, flexible balls. Armenta says the workout is challenging but fun, and she mixes it up to keep her students from getting bored. She says, “Every class is different, so we get to experience many different types of movement.”
Armenta prides herself on her friendly and accepting approach with her students. She says, “They come for the classes, but personal interaction is what keeps them studying with me. I adapt my teaching to what my students need. It is a very safe space; there is no judgement or criticism. My students are a diverse group, and I value the differences.”
While the studio is open all year round, summer is slower and Armenta is taking the opportunity to work in Montreal and will also be returning to Mexico in August to work and choreograph there.
Armenta also is on the faculty at Grand Valley State University where she teaches dance and movement science.
The Armentality studio often serves as a performance venue, both for Armenta’s own dance company or for performances of poetry, music or spoken word.
For more information on Armentality, visit http://www.armentality.com/