Lizz Pimentel was singularly focused on dance when she left Bermuda as a young woman to study the art form in Miami. She jokes that she included business management in her degree at the New World School of the Arts mainly to “appease my parents.” As it turned out, both subjects were the perfect foundation for the Bermudian businesswoman and dance teacher, who launched In Motion School of Dance after returning to the island and has spent the last 26 years steering it from strength to strength.

“I did try my hand at the corporate environment for a couple of years,” admits Lizz. “But it just wasn’t for me. I needed to be moving and active.

“I opened up In Motion with the feeling that I wanted to be able to do more for the local dancers.” She adds: “I felt like there was a need…for something a little bit more progressive, offering our local dancers more opportunities for overseas experiences, whether that be performance, whether that be workshops.

“I had studied dance abroad. I had been away and exposed to so many things, and I came home with all these great, grand ideas of things to incorporate into their dance training.” Lizz started In Motion in 1997 from a single studio on Chancery Lane, with about 40 students. “I was teaching everything, cleaning the studio, doing the marketing,” she explains. “Really it was a pouring in of my passion for the art and my drive and ambition that still extends to this day.

“It’s never dwindled; that fire has never burnt out.”

Lizz was determined to give her students proper, disciplined training—the kind that would ensure they could “hold their own” among dancers from elsewhere if they chose to go overseas.

“My vision for it was not to make everybody that came to the school a professional dancer. That’s not realistic, by any means.

“However, it was to ensure that we were providing the best product that we possibly could, the best training to each dancer that came through those doors, the best experience.”

More than a quarter of a century later—”It doesn’t feel like that, it’s wild!” laughs Lizz—In Motion has a couple of hundred students and a staff of ten. The school has four studios at its Reid Street facility and a two-studio space across the road in Magnolia House. It acquired Somerset School of Dance in 2020.

Lizz believes the secret to the school’s success is that it never rests on its laurels, constantly revising its curriculum, offering new classes, bringing in specialists from abroad and ensuring its spectacular annual showcase is a highly professional “tightly run ship.” She says for many students In Motion operates as a kind of second home, a safe place to be with like-minded, creative people. “It’s family. There’s always this buzzing energy,” she says. “I thrive on it.” Several students have gone on to professional dance careers abroad, among them Courtney Lopes at Mark Morris Dance Group, Jada Pearman at Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor Railton at Stewart/Owen Dance.

All but one of In Motion’s team are Bermudian, and especially gratifying to Lizz is that many of her teachers are former students. She says: “It’s like this full circle. I’m pleased that their experience inspired them to go on and want to come back and do what was done for them for so many years. It’s really lovely.

“They are the best team to have because they came through the school, so they know what the expectations are. They have the insight to know exactly how it runs.”

71 Reid Street, Hamilton – 292-7615 – www.inmotionbda.cominfo@inmotionbda.com