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Get up from that desk, says dance proponent

August 5, 2016
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Few business owners, or teachers for that matter, need to be as physically fit for their job as entrepreneur and Grand Valley State University adjunct faculty Laura Armenta. 

On a daily basis, Armenta must be able to perform multiple dance styles, teach yoga and lead fitness regimens.

Don’t try all that at home. 

Armenta, a self-described lover of movement disciplines, is owner and director of Armentality Movement Arts Center.

“It’s having the mentality of what I do,” she said of the name. “Whether it’s performing or something else, I encourage people to be brave and be brave in their bodies. I think everybody should move.” 

Armenta also is director and choreographer at Laura Armenta Dance Co. and an adjunct faculty at Grand Valley State University. 

Although she calls the work “interesting and suicidal,” she also wouldn’t trade it for the world. 

Armenta has been a dance educator with Grand Rapids Civic Theater, the school of Grand Rapids Ballet Co. and Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp. She’s also been a personal trainer and leader of group fitness at Amway Corp. 

If there’s one message she has for the business community of West Michigan, it’s to move more often. 

“I think as far as mechanically speaking, the way you sit down, how many hours and the surface you sit on has a lot to do with cognitive capacity,” she said. “Taking small breaks is important. And (at) a company like either Steelcase or Amway — I’ve done both — engineers are very bright, but learning to take a break, meditate and walk up and down stairs would allow them to work better.” 

Armenta hails from Mexico City, where she was born, raised and educated, earning a degree in fine arts and humanities at the National School of Classical and Contemporary Dance. She immigrated to the United States about 25 years ago. 

“Initially, I was training in dancing in New York City. I did that for a while, then I was in Washington D.C. and the Detroit area, before Grand Rapids. And I’ve been in Grand Rapids for 19-20 years. My business is going to be 18 years old in October.” 

“I guess because my initial approach to dance was contemporary dance. It’s about being progressive and connected with nature. That’s how I got into yoga and holistic health. My concept is, holistically speaking, it’s a way to move your body.” 

The center is on the sixth floor of the Masonic Temple, 233 Fulton St. SE, Grand Rapids. In a week, 100-150 people can come through its doors, Armenta said, adding that she now runs about three classes per day, Monday-Saturday, each with eight to 12 students.

Out of its about 2,000-square-foot space, customers can partake in a number of dance styles, yoga and fitness. To learn more, visit armentality.com

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