1. How did your dance experience and your business experience come together in the founding of Expressions Dance Studio?
I've always had the entrepreneurial spirit. Even as a little girl, I would set up little businesses to provide services for family and friends. Everything from lemonade stands to car washing, house cleaning, and shoe shining services. I fell in love with dancing in high school as a Napa High Spiritleader. The two passions were joined when I was asked to teach dance for an afterschool program. That class was taught on a volunteer basis, but incidentally a local dance school closed down at the same time, and I was asked to start a couple of additional classes for pay. That provided me with my first dozen students and Expressions Dance Studio was born! That was 13 years ago, and it's been an amazing journey ever since.
2. What are some of the benefits of dance class for your students?
There are so many benefits to dance lessons, but the biggest benefit is that dance lessons are such a wonderful way to build up self-esteem and confidence in girls. Dance is taught as a group class, but development and progress of each dancer month by month, year by year is a very personal journey. Nothing builds confidence better than individual progress, growth, and achievement, no matter how big or small. My hope is that all of our students can benefit from dance lessons like I did. I went from being a painfully shy child to a fearless young adult, and I attribute most of that change to my dance lessons. The skills and values I developed in dance class such as persistence, having a positive attitude, learning how to set and reach goals, learning to work with others, and the ability to perform in front of an audience--it all helped me develop self-confidence, and of course that translated into success in all other areas of my life.
3. Would you tell us about what inspired you to develop--and expand--your Princess Ballerina Program?
I was inspired to create a fun and imaginative program for preschoolers. Often times, preschool dance programs are sort of an afterthought for many dance studios, so I saw a need for a quality program that specifically catered to this age group. My full vision for the Princess Ballerina program is pretty exciting. I'm currently developing a book series that will allow us to introduce story, characters, themes, props, and magical adventures into our Princess Ballerina classes. It's been a big project, but I'm very excited to start revealing all of the new themes and stories that will be coming fall 2015. There really is nothing like it currently in the industry.
4. When starting a dance studio, what made you decide to focus on dance classes for kids?
I personally know the power that dance lessons can have on a young girl. I benefited in high school, but my goal for developing programs for children is to hopefully reach girls from a younger age so they can reap the benefits as early as possible. You're never too young to feel confident in your own abilities!
5. What are some of your favorite things about your job?
Well come on, I mean who wouldn't love to work in a world filled with sparkly costumes, glitter, music, and dancing? I think I was born to own a dance studio. I love everything about it, from the choreographing or picking music and costumes to the behind the scenes planning, staff training, and numbers crunching. I love it all!