The musings, documented chaos and love notes from us to you
I was teaching at a ballroom studio in Beaverton (that shall remain nameless) in 2009. I was just married to my oh so handsome husband and loving the training and soaking in all the information. The pay was terrible, and the 'training' was a lot of rhinestoning students costumes-but still. It was a legit studio.
A few months in I found out I was pregnant (with some complications) and we were having to move was out into the country. So long teary story short, bye bye ballroom and hello bed rest/ stay at home mama. Macy was soon born, huge and healthy (almost 10 lbs?!) and I was enjoying being a new mom.
Fast forward 6 months, and I am BORED. My body is aching to move, get out of the house and do something. So with a couple month's planning, we opened up Santiam Valley Dance Academy May 2011 in a little church reception hall in Lyons, OR. (Later the Santiam was dropped from the name, as Salem folks couldn't spell it easily and we lost ton's of website traffic :) )
The clients were all referred by friends, small town word of mouth is still the best advertising I have ever used. We danced here for almost a year, but we had already peaked in such a small town with a winning competitive studio the next town over.
Flash forward to 2012, and we have moved to Salem sharing space with Jazzercise in South Salem. I also landed the varsity head coach job for McNary's dance team (but that 3 year stint is a post all it's own.) We shared space until they had to move, and finally opened our own studio with a real deal lease and everything!
Hyacinth- a Heaven sent nightmare. Many of you were clients at the Hyacinth building for the entirety of our 3 years there. We were the second business in the building that was still under construction. There was dust, one bathroom and chaos prevailing, yet we somehow managed to thrive! We grew steadily, dancing around a roof leak, skating around construction debris in the hall and finding ways to deal with the noise.
In this time we had wonderful opportunities to perform at Blazers game, a Globetrotters game and hold standard recitals along with other community events.
And then the flood came. Upon firing up the computer one day, I realized the floor sounded weird. I stepped down and watched water bubble up! I quickly discovered a pipe had burst and gone unnoticed, destroying 1500 sq ft of dance flooring.
This was a heart breaking blow, thousands of dollars down the drain. The landlord refused to compensate, and we took a big insurance hit. The lease was up for renewal and we couldn't come to a fair agreement (after management company after company fired the building owner) so we packed our bags and moved across town. Losing 50% of our students in the process.
But we opened back up, with an even better marley sprung floor! And we are slowly building back up to the student count we were before. We have missed our old students dearly, but quickly fallen for the new families God has brought to us! To our alumni, you are always welcome to stop in and say hi, you're missed every week!
I heard once not getting emotionally attached to students is the only way to stay sane and own a successful studio. This may be true. There are studios in town with massive rosters, and I know they couldn't be emotionally invested in all those little lives. But that is not how I am wired. When students parents go through hard times and the kids come crying, I cry with them. When pipes burst and landlords don't have integrity, I know dance families pray with me.
We are small, but we are a tight knit group! There are a few families that have been with us since that little church hall, and new ones that I cherish just as much. This history is so much less about the building we are in, and so much more about the history of the life long relationships we are building.
I have always believed that journal-ing is powerful, writing out one's thoughts can help process and get down to the root of emotions. Blogging seemed too difficult, or scary, or--- something, I suppose. What if no one reads it? What if I offend a client? Possibly the worst of all, what if what I say has no relevance in people's lives?
Despite all this, and time constraints on a busy life, I have been advised that as a studio owner this is a must do. Clients will know me better, and I will be more transparent with my community. So here we go . . . I am officially a blogger. Get the book deals ready :)
I hope that through this channel I can communicate how I feel in my dance family, and my dance family can comment on how they feel! What a great way, and a bit more personal than facebook or a formal review posted online.
The history of the studio is a long whirlwind of moves, short notice yet fabulous performances, new and old students, short term teachers and my dream of keeping it together. The cumulative effort of many and the faithfulness of God to bring us where we are today is both amazing and exhausting. May this blog be an honest, uplifting and authentic look at the studio and all in it!