Those looking to connect with the movement of their bodies through yoga or dance may find what they’re seeking at Lighthouse Dance & Yoga in Selbyville.
“I want people to feel comfortable,” said 23-year-old Tikiri Shapiro, owner and instructor of Lighthouse Dance & Yoga. “My vision for this place isn’t just to provide classes, but for it to be a social hub.”
Having graduated from George Mason University last spring with a bachelor’s degree in dance, Shapiro moved to Seattle, Wash., where she danced professionally.
“I was there for a couple of months, performing. My family lives here, so that’s how I heard about this space,” she recalled. “My mother called me up and said, ‘It’s open. You should come start a studio here!’ I’ve always wanted to start a studio. That’s been my main goal, so this was a perfect opportunity.”
Shapiro, who grew up in Tennessee, said she knew that this was the right time to open her own studio.
“I love teaching, I love dancing, I love choreographing,” she said. “This is definitely the most fulfilling… I love moving and I love seeing people in class who find ways that they love to move. That’s why I love teaching movement of any kind — it does make people happy naturally. I think just seeing them click and understand movement… And also how it can carry on to other aspects of life…”
Not only is Shapiro a professionally trained dancer, but she also has a 200 RYT Yoga certification from the Yava Yoga School in Fairfax, Va.
Lighthouse Dance & Yoga offers Vinyasa Flow, Intro to Yoga, Power Yoga, Yoga for kids, ballet, jazz and more. The large studio space boasts a wall mirror, a barre and an upstairs dressing room, waiting and viewing area.
“I’m just trying to offer everything,” said Shapiro, noting that she hopes to offer more classes as the studio grows. “I don’t want to just teach the normal classes that you see everywhere else. So I’m trying to think of new things, like yoga for golfers. What do golfers need? They need balance, they need rotation, they need core strength. So I’ve been trying to develop a class for that.”
Knowing that people are on all different levels when it comes to movement, Shapiro said her class structure allows for a “noncompetitive environment” for participants.
“How I teach all of my classes is I start with the easiest modification of the pose. Then I add on and offer it as an option. So people have the option to choose — they can stay at the first level or they can go try that harder thing and push themselves. It’s really up to them,” she explained. “That’s what I mean when I say a noncompetitive environment. It’s up to them to push themselves. I think that, in turn, brings about more self-accomplishment.
“I do a warm-up at the beginning of class and look at everybody’s body and look at where they are. If I see if there are a bunch of people who have never taken class before, I’ll start out very easy.”
Aside from her daily classes, Shapiro is also hosting special events, such as the Candlelight Yoga event she held on Valentine’s Day. On March 14, she’ll hold Shakti Shamrock Yoga for St. Patrick’s Day, with a kids’ class at 5 p.m. and an adults’ class at 6 p.m.
The studio will have its grand opening ribbon-cutting event with the Bethany-Fenwick Chamber of Commerce on March 20 at 4 p.m., at which attendees may tour the studio and have the chance to receive special class deals and giveaways.
“I want it to be a social hub,” said Shapiro of the studio. “My passion is the dance and the yoga, and that’s the connector between me and having other people come. In the end, I want it to be a bunch of people, giving them an opportunity to have something to do, something that makes them happy.”
Shapiro said that when she first opened the studio in September, she wasn’t going to offer adult dance classes, but once she heard there was an interest, she added them to the schedule.
“I did have some adults who said, ‘I want to take ballet class.’ I didn’t expect that, because that’s not what I’ve heard before. I wasn’t even thinking of making that a class… Well, now I do,” she said with a laugh.
Currently, Shapiro is the only instructor at the studio, but she hopes it will grow so that more instructors may be brought in.
“I would love to have more people come, because I think the more variety we can offer, the better we can be.”
Shapiro said she would also like to expand by offering hip-hop, tap, dance workshops and yoga retreats in the future.
“I want to create something more to do,” she said. “I would love to hold some informal shows here. I love choreographing shows. If we can find some local talent, I would love to welcome them in. And I’d also love to hold some family-friendly kids’ shows, or any dance shows.”
Shapiro said she’s happy to be in the area and hopes that area visitors and residents will embrace the studio and its offerings.
“I’m just new to the area and really excited to be here,” she said.
Lighthouse Dance & Yoga is located in the Williamsville Shopping Center at 33195 Lighthouse Road, Suite 4, in Selbyville. For more information, call (302) 564-7611, email LighthouseDanceAndYoga@gmail.com or visit facebook.com/lighthousedanceandyoga or lighthousedanceandyoga.yolasite.com.