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The Turner Center for the Arts offers IMPROVment® classes to the general public in their main galleries at 527 N. Patterson Street, on Mondays, from 5 to 6 p.m. Taught by Melissa Pihos, associate professor of dance at Valdosta State University and a certified IMPROVment® instructor, the classes are free of charge.

The creators of IMPROVment® describe it as “an integrative method that emphasizes physical and mental fitness by encouraging our participants to create their own movement in response to multiple auditory prompts.” Participants initiate movement as it occurs to them without prior planning, which presents a cognitive challenge and promotes spontaneous decision making. IMPROVment® group classes also encourage socialization and well-being.

For Pihos, teaching IMPROVment® holds personal meaning. Pihos’ father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Pete Pihos, struggled for 12 years from Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. She created her MFA Thesis as her father was in the final stages of the disease. Documentary film and dance performance PIHOS A Moving Biography explores her father’s extraordinary life and battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and the performance has gone on to tour several cities across the country. Pihos wanted to use her dance background to give back and help others who are experiencing the same issues as her father.

“It means a lot to me to be able to teach this and help others. I love teaching at the Turner Center,” said Pihos. “My Dad means so much to me, and I am trying my best to honor him and keep his memories alive.”

An increasing amount of research shows that regardless of prior background with the art form, the mental and physical benefits of creative movement and dance may be greater than anyone realizes.

To sign up for this class and others, visit or call the Center at 229.247.2787. Information of the program can also be found at