By Jack Farrar
The space on the southwest corner of 23rd and Dexter has been an emporium of dance for several decades. The latest iteration is the Park Hill Dance Academy, owned and operated by Karlyn Griswold. She has been dancing since 1983, including stints with the San Diego City Ballet and the Charleston, S.C. Ballet Theatre.
“Dance is more than technique,” says Griswold. “It is liberating. It combines art with athleticism. The studio is a safe space in which to let your emotions free.”
Griswold has groomed dozens of young dancers, including two she feels may be on the brink of professional careers. If she could, she says she would like to meet Alice in Wonderland, whose story she sees as an argument against calcified adulthood. “Alice is the epitome of childlike curiosity. She welcomes new challenges, new adventures. She takes chances. She doesn’t want to be safe. If Alice were here I’d ask her what her favorite parts of Wonderland were. I’d ask her if she was really afraid deep down; she didn’t seem to be.”
Griswold belongs to a group called the Park Hill Dance Collective, a “mish-mash of dancers from different backgrounds.” They’ll be performing a version of Alice in Wonderland at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West, on March 16 and 17.