Emily Brown and Skyler Clark – old friends and new business partners – watched happily as the specialized flooring arrived for their new dance studio.
“We’re putting in a spring floor that will provide give, especially for dancing,” said Brown. “We just can’t wait to get started.”
The women, both 24 and raised in Sarnia, met at a dance class when they were eight years old. Both are graduates of the George Brown commercial dance program in Toronto, and both taught at a local dance studio for three years.
They recently made the decision to establish their own dance academy for kids and adults, investing $25,000 for start-up costs and renovations, because they want to steer their own ship.
“We have so many ideas that we want to bring to Sarnia dancers,” said Brown.
“And we want to make our own decisions,” added Clark. “We’re at the ideal stage in our lives for this because we can focus on our studio; we don’t have families or other responsibilities at this point.
“We can put everything we’ve got into it. Besides, we both love to dance and teach.”
Renovations are in the final stages for the new Bluewater Dance Academy at 1308 London Rd. in the plaza behind Parklane Motors.
Once the floor is down, a wall of mirrors will be installed with a ballet bar and music system. Plans are to hold an HST-free pre-registration on May 18 for the fall dance season, which runs September to June for kids and includes an end-of-year recital. Prices range from $270 for half an hour a week to $390 for an hour a week.
Kid’s classes include jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, acrobatics, lyrical dance, ballet, tap, and musical theatre.
Summer classes begin July 5 for kids and adults.
Adults can try dance fitness classes, contemporary dance, jazz, hip hop and HEELesque, which Clark describes as a sassy, fun hip hop.
For $70, one-hour classes run once a week for seven weeks.
Sign up for summer classes will be held June 11 during an open house to showcase the new studio.
Clark and Brown returned to their hometown after dancing professionally in Toronto and Vancouver. Clark also completed a year-long entrepreneurship course at Fanshawe College.
Recognizing they are competing in a market where there are already several dancing schools, Brown said their studio will stand out by finding a balance between recreational dancing and extreme discipline.
“We want our dancers to have fun and laugh in class, but recognize that discipline is important too,” she said.
They both plan on taking classes in Toronto every few months to ensure they are up-to-date on the newest dance styles and techniques.
For instance, musical theatre dances are currently all the rage with kids learning to dance while they mouth the words to Broadway tunes. And more and more, boys are getting into the acrobatic side of dance, Clark said.
Competitive auditions will also be held at the new academy.
For a full schedule of activities and class details at Bluewater Dance Academy, visit www.bluewaterdanceacademy.com or call 226-932-6814.
Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at [email protected] or call 226-932-0985.