How Melvin AC Howell is working to make dance lessons accessible to Asheville and beyond

His online platform HASdance is here to help you boost your self-confidence (and your dancing skills) in a judgment-free zone.

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Howell’s goal is to make dance lessons accessible to all.

Photo via Melvin AC Howell

Since moving to Asheville in 2019, professional dancer and choreographer Melvin AC Howell has been a fixture of our arts community. In spreading his craft, though, he noticed a gap in local dance culture: a lack of accessible, beginner adult classes.

You might have experienced it too. Maybe you’ve wanted to enroll in a class but felt intimidated by learning with a group or you haven’t had the resources for private lessons. That’s why Howell launched HASdance, an online library of dance videos. The video classes are built for beginners, designed with accessibility + inclusivity in mind, and break down steps on a molecular level to help you learn and grow. By subscribing to the platform, you gain access to the lessons (which are added each month) but also to a greater community of dancers of all skill levels.

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Let Melvin AC Howell show you the ropes.

Screenshot via HASdance

“We all need positive affirmations, especially in the world of dance, because dance forces us into a place of vulnerability. We need that affirmation and common place with someone else who’s going through the same thing — that builds us up and helps build our confidence,” shares Howell.

It’s why a cornerstone of HASdance is the ability to share your experiences with other users through the platform’s Facebook, Reddit, and Discord channels — whether you’re looking for tips on perfecting a dance move or just want to share your progress, the goal is to leave you feeling supported in a completely nonjudgmental space.

Through the HASdance platforms, you can also receive personalized instruction and support from Howell himself. “I want it to be as close to taking a private dance lesson with me as possible, but way, way less expensive,” says Howell.

Even though the classes are designed to teach foundational dancing skills and techniques, the most important aspects Howell wants you to take away are a renewed sense of self-acceptance, confidence, and emotional intelligence through the power of movement.

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