Fluvanna Faces: Angell Husted

By Harvey J. Sorum


Q: Tell us about Angell Husted before opening your dance studio.

A. I grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s as both a tomboy and a ballerina on a small farm in the little town of Pleasant Valley, NY, near the Hudson River, 90 miles north of New York city.  After graduating from Syracuse University in 1971 with a dual degree from the Schools of Education and Speech and Drama, I spent a year at UVA graduate school, and then embarked on a career in television broadcasting in several NBC-affiliate markets as a reporter, anchor and host of scores of telethons, parades, and community fund-raising events. Marriage to Harold Wright in 1978 found us spending our honeymoon at Lake Monticello, and residing there ever since.  

Q: When did you open your studio and why?

A: By the late-1990s, Fluvanna County was growing by leaps and bounds, with a need for a local School of Dance. I opened my first studio in February of 1999. For the previous 17 years (since 1982) I’d already been teaching evening adult dance workouts and step aerobics, along with continuing part time broadcasting and raising four little boys. For a few hours each week, I had rented various rooms in the Lake Monticello clubhouse, then the Lake Monticello firehouse, followed by schools and churches. The county was growing so fast, rental space finally dried up, so I joyfully opened my own fitness and dance space at 7 Lake Centre Professional Park. Children’s dance classes were added, as well as more adult dance and fitness programs, including Pilates. In 2015, the studio size was doubled with a new better and brighter facility across the road at 19 Centre Court. 

Q: Going back to when I was the age of your young students, dancing was only for girls. Is this still true today? Is it still girl dominated?

A. Over the years, I’ve had a few boys join various classes, yet dance remains female-dominated on all levels. However, I always encourage boys to dance. “Besides being great fun,” I say, “that’s where the babes are.”  Any male of any age who can dance will always be sought after. And, if he can also cook, that’s a double bonus!

Q: I’ve been told there are many benefits of dancing for children. These include reduced obesity, a fun source of exercise, healthier blood pressure and cholesterol levels, better coordination, agility, and maintenance of a balanced lifestyle.  Do you agree and why? 

A. Yes, I certainly agree. However, please remember that the benefits are not just for children, but for everyone of any age. My students range from ages 3 to 90, and my passion is to share “the love and joy of music and movement” with every one of them!  Besides the physical benefits, dance encourages socialization, promotes respect, acceptance and self-confidence.  Most importantly, I witness every day how the “joy of movement and music” promotes emotional well-being, improves self-worth, helps manage depression and anxiety and is spiritually uplifting.  Dance, for me personally, has literally saved my life, in body, mind, heart and spirit.  Without God’s healing power of dance, I never would have survived times of extreme loss and grief, including the car accident death in 2000 of my 17-year-old son Timo and the death just three-months ago of my beloved husband of 43-years, Harold Wright. Movement and dance not only helps me remain vital and sane, but also thrive, especially when I remember with joy and gratitude that Timo helped me build the first facility and Harold fully backed me in the building of both studios. 

Q. Has the corona virus epidemic affected your business?

A. Yes, especially the first year when I had to shut down mid-March 2020. That first summer I offered a limited number of Zoom classes yet realized by the fall that in-person classes were much preferred by me and the students. My number one priority has always been the safety, health and well-being of everyone.  So, since October 2020, I’m now in my fourth semester of in-person classes with COVID restrictions. Required mask-wearing, at least for now, remains in place, along with social distancing and hand sanitizing. Except for that first year, enrollment has not been affected; in fact, it keeps increasing. I remain grateful for the most wonderful students, parents and grandparents.

Q: Anything else?

A: Yes. I’d like to thank the Fluvanna/Lake Monticello community for the many blessings of support in allowing me to share my “love and joy of music and movement” for 40-years now, ever since that first class back in February of 1982 in the Terrace Room of the Lake Monticello Club-house. Although I turn 74 on St. Patrick’s Day, the dancing love and joy at Angell’s School of Dance will continue, as I’m not going anywhere anytime soon!

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