Last week, we missed an important milestone. On Monday, October 12, 2020 was the 44th anniversary of Joy of Motion dance studios. Exactly 44 years ago in 1976, Michelle Ava founded Joy of Motion by herself in Washington, D.C.
Amanda has been slowly trying to piece together the history of how Joy of Motion began. She has reached out to several people and has gotten little bits of pieces here and there, though not the full story yet. All of this will become important information as she works to incorporate it in her book, Conflicted With Joy.
What is interesting about the history of Joy of Motion is remembering the series of black-and-white photos that hung at their Friendship Heights location, which is no longer there. (They gave up their lease and the last official day of that location was September 30th.) Amanda remembers it vividly like it was yesterday. There used to be four frames holding four separate pictures hanging in the hallway right outside the Jack Guidone Theater. All of it was very bare bones and simple, as if it could have been hung in someone’s home, yet, they were incredibly meaningful to Amanda.
Amanda saw those pictures so many times repeatedly for so many years, they just sort of became engrained in her mind. The images were taken in the late 1970s, shortly after Joy of Motion opened to the public. The photos gave off a very distinct 1980s vibe with a cross between Solid Gold back-up dancers and FAME. Amanda half-expected Debbie Allen to appear out of nowhere with her threatening stick, telling people in her trademark no-nonsense way to work hard at dance to be taken seriously.
The beginnings of Joy of Motion are certainly far different than modern times, and that’s what makes it worth researching and writing about.
Amanda can hardly wait to put all the pieces together.