Sherwood brings dance to Alabaster

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Janis “Jan” Sherwood, owner of Southern Dance Arts, is originally from the San Francisco Bay area. Sherwood began her ballet training in Berkley, Calif., at Zurflu Ballet School then moved to East Bay Music Center.

Jan Sherwood owns Southern Dance Arts off Shelby County 11 in Alabaster. (Contributed)

She attended daily classes at John F. Kennedy High School. She then attended Contra Costa College, performed with the Richmond Ballet and started a dance program at the Richmond YMCA.

After moving to Alabama in her early 20s, she performed with the Alabama Dance Theater in Montgomery, Auburn University in Montgomery and was in charge of the corporate fitness program at the YMCA.

Ballet UAB was the next step for Sherwood, where she was a ballet major with a performance concentration. In her career, Sherwood has studied under many renowned ballet masters. Although she was trained classically, Sherwood also performs jazz, tap, hip-hop, West African, Hatian/Cuban and Cuban salsa.

Sherwood has performed extensively coast to coast, taught at UAB, Birmingham area public schools, competed in drama productions and interpretations, won speech awards and holds multiple degrees. Teaching for more than 30 years, she has taught thousands of individuals. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, she was the jazz instructor at Kathy Draper Dance in Pelham where my youngest took gymnastics.

Southern Dance Arts has much to offer. Sherwood recently moved her business from the Kent Dairy Road location to 1520 Simmsville Road, Suite 100. She has incorporated many ideas and has made a lovely new and practical place for students and parents.

More than 15 years ago, Jan met Mike Sherwood when he operated Mike’s Hot Dogs in the original Alabaster Shopping Center.

A 20-minute lunch turned into three hours of laughter and conversation, and after several years of an incredible friendship they decided to make it permanent. Between the two they have five children, ages 15-30, and five grandchildren from 1 to 8 years of age.

We are blessed to have such talent available in Alabaster for our children. Southern Dance Arts will have open house and registration on August 12, 13 and 19.