New urban dance studio opens on Broadway

Friday, June 15, 2018 ~ Updated 8:55 PM
Fingerprint Urban Dance Studio owner and instructor Michael Curry poses for a photo in his new studio Thursday in Cape Girardeau.

Micheal Curry sits in the back room of 707 Broadway, where his new business, Fingerprint Urban Dance Studio, is housed.

He's in front of a brick wall painted dusky gray. It'll be home to a graffiti mural, painted by a local artist, he said, opposite a desk where he'll handle billing and scheduling.

The front room with its wide windows, energetic color scheme and wall of windows has a padded floor so dancers can perfect their moves.

He's already started holding classes, he said, and expects to hold workshops and exhibitions in the future.

Curry didn't start out as a dancer. A native of Paducah, Kentucky, he was a football player at Paducah Tilghman High School, signed to Southeast Missouri State University after he graduated in 2012. It was during a practice before his freshman season at Southeast when he felt a tingle down his arm, and, he said, he didn't think anything of it until he got checked out by a doctor, and was later diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Football was no longer an option.

"I was really depressed for a while," Curry said.

But, he said, dancing was something that had long been dear to him.

So he started making dance videos, and started Fingerprint Dance Company on Southeast's campus.

He wasn't professionally trained, he said, until he started in on dance and gradually began to meet others who were interested in teaching him.

"I traveled, got knowledge from other dancers, brought it back," he said.

Curry eventually transitioned his teaching to children, he said.

He's taught at On Cue Performing Arts Studio at 16 N. Spanish St. in Cape Girardeau, he said, and he loved teaching there.

The community support was overwhelming, he said, from students and parents alike.

"Without most of them, I probably wouldn't be here," Curry said.

Now, he said, "I'm honored to be in a space where I can actually do this."

The building is historic, he said, and had several remnants of its former lives as a church and restaurant, among many others.

For one, there was a restaurant-grade sink in the back, he said, which wasn't really necessary for his purposes.

But he's excited about the exposure his new studio will have, he said.

For the last five years, he's hosted dance battles. "Started out with one dancer showing up," he said. "Now we get dancers from everywhere -- Oklahoma, Texas -- and just having that learning ability, positive environment for hip-hop in Cape, their energy, it's great."

He overcame a lot of hurdles to get where he is, he said.

"Most dancers want to do this," he said, gesturing broadly at the studio. "But they don't know how to get there."

And people who have made it don't want to tell anyone else how to do it, he said.

"It's like fighting through the dark," he said.

So one way he broke through that was making connections with the community.

Giving back is important to him, he said, and, since he's working with students, he recognizes how important it is to have those community connections.

He's worked with the MS Society and the MS Foundation, he said, and the United Way.

"It's really allowed me to get out in the community," he said.

But even more than that, he's increased his visibility by being the guy on the corner downtown who dances.

He sets up by the Riverfront Market every Saturday morning, he said, and gradually works his way around the downtown area, with his crew.

They'll hand out business cards, stickers, he said.

"It's direct influence," he said. "I think it's a unique way to expand. Being a dancer, you have to perform to prove credibility, show people you're not just some weird dude."

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