Multimedia Professional

Dancer Leaves Hollywood for Oakland Youth

Choreographer and Oakland native Carla Service has performed with the likes of Madonna and taught the art of dance to hundreds, but success didn’t come easy.

During her youth, she danced away the pain of an abusive upbringing, leaving home at the age of 15.

By 17, she was dominating dance floors in San Francisco nightclubs, and quickly found her way to Hollywood fame and a well-deserved reputation as a “master of movement.”

But the untrained dancer realized she wanted more.

In 1994, at the age of 30, she returned to the Bay Area with a new purpose: to teach Oakland youth how to dance to the beat of life.

Meet Carla Service and the people whose lives she has rocked for more than a decade in Dancing to the Beat of Life.

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Here are all the original comments to my video story on Carla Service. Just thought I’d paste them here.
–ajb

comments:

1. Shelly Says:
December 11th, 2008 at 7:23 pm e

I wish I was young again and could learn how to dance like that. I would like to get the information if possible how to contact this lady and get lessons for my grand kids. Dance is a great way to keep the kids healthy, safe and off the streets.
Great story!
Shelly

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2. Tamara Says:
December 12th, 2008 at 4:02 pm e

Carla is a great teacher and person. My daughter learned a lot from her. She took classes when she was a pre-teen, and now that she is almost 15 she wants to take more dance, but only with Carla.

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3. noesha Says:
December 14th, 2008 at 7:25 pm e

Ms. Carla is my dance teacher AND my idol. i love her so much and i am learning a whole bunch of info from her. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR A DANCE TEACHER THIS IS THE PERFECT TEACHER. SHE DOESN’T ONLY TEACH DANCE BUT SHE TEACHES US HOW TO BE PROFESSIONAL TOO AND MUCH MO.

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4. isoto Says:
December 15th, 2008 at 11:13 am e

i’ve been looking for dance classes-hip hop and other styles for my kids. would have been nice to have carla’s contact info somewhere here. thanks.

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5. Katherine Says:
December 18th, 2008 at 6:47 pm e

Carla is amazing!!! I am learning so much from her – she is the best mentor ever. She is just a well of wisdom and she genuinely cares about helping others – especially youth. We need more people like her! =)

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6. Clayton Bell Says:
December 22nd, 2008 at 2:40 pm e

My name is Clayton Bell. I started dancing with Carla when I was 16 years old. I am now age 30. The training and guidance I have received from Carla has helped me in all facets of my life (both personal and professional). Carla has always been keen about giving Oakland youth an outlet to be positive, creative, strong, independent successful individuals. I was one of those youth. One thing I remember most from Carla is T.U.F.F. (aka Training You For your Future). Through dance and entertainment, we were placed in various scenarios and situations and required to respond and come to a remedy. Those exercises helped form the person I am today. I’m now a professional dancer living in Los Angeles, California working with some of the entertainment industry’s most elite and pursuing my dreams as an actor, writer, producer and director of film and stage. Thank you Carla. I owe you everything.

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7. Angela J. Bass Says:
December 28th, 2008 at 10:07 pm e

For those who have expressed an interest in contacting Carla Service and learning more about her program, Dance-A-Vision Entertainment (now possibly being transformed into Oakland’s premiere dance company, as requested by the Bay Area dancers who have worked with Carla over the years), here is her contact number: (510) 763-5180. I attended her winter concert on December 20, which featured hip hop, jazz, and Afro-Cuban dance routines by children, teens and adults, including a set that Clayton Bell (above) performed along with a dozen or so of Carla’s former students from the early 90s. Producing this video was so much fun. Carla is every bit as real as people say she is. I hope people find a new sense of community in Oakland by becoming involved in the arts, whether through Dance-A-Vision, or other programs. Peace!

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8. K.C. Says:
January 28th, 2009 at 1:52 pm e

Carla is truly a mentor/savior and provider for many youths of today, not only in the City of Oakland, but throughout the Bay Area. She is unlike any other dance teacher that I know of. Not only has she allowed children/adults to take class for free, she has also provided a place for them to live in order to carry out there goals/dreams. If she wasn’t personally able provide a place, she then did whatever she could to help that child/person find suitable housing. Carla doesn’t believe in turning anyone away who truly wants/loves to dance. She doesn’t mind going “that extra step”, to help and nurture our youth and adults as well. I know she has helped me tremendously throughout the time that I’ve known her. As she would say “Dance-4-Life”, and she truly lives by those words. With Carla, dancin is a way of releasing your inner self allowing a persons spirit to flow. Not only does the City of Oakland need more people like her, but the world itself. Thank you Carla for all of your past/continuing support/guidance. I love you.

About the Author:
Angela J. Bass is a multimedia journalist from Oakland, California.


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