Dance education

Lansing Dance Company merges dance and education

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Have you ever heard of the Habibi dance?

While it may seem difficult to some, according to art director Garnett Kepler, all it takes is a little practice.

“There is no official curriculum for this class,” Kepler said.

Kepler’s goal is to educate through dance.

“We are committed to teaching audiences about Middle Eastern culture and dance through music and dance,” Kepler continued.

Habibi dancers perform at parades, assemblies and more.

On Sunday, the dancers showed up at The Fledge ready to move.

“It really allows your body to express itself freely and truly,” said dancer Janelle Mackowiak.

Marie Peterson has been dancing with Habibi dancers for over 20 years.

She emphasized that they dance to respect and honor Middle Eastern culture, not to appropriate it.

“It’s important to differentiate that when you have an audience that may or may not know the difference,” Peterson said.

For Janelle Mackowiak, she appreciates the hard work it takes to become a Habibi dancer.

“The challenge of being able to do the different moves, the different techniques is really just wonderful. It’s joyful. And then when you get it, it just came naturally,” Mackowiak said.

The dancers say the best thing about the band is their focus on giving back to those who need it most.

“It doesn’t have to be big things. The little things matter. It’s about giving back,” Peterson continued.