By Sean Delaney
Well Emery Village, it is time to dance.
Miss Amanda, owner of Dance Kids Canada grew up dancing in Thornhill. In her first year of university the owners of the dance school she was dancing at were in their 70s and didn’t want to retire, and their children weren’t interested in continuing the school. So, she bought it.
“I gave them $1,000 for every year they ran it, which was 33 years, so $33,000,” Miss Amanda said. “I was going to Ryerson for theatre production, so costume design and stage management, and in my second year I bought another school. I finished my third year and I said to myself, I don’t want to go to school anymore, I’m a dance school owner now.”
For years she ran her schools in Thornhill and The Beaches, with all of her shows at a Markham theatre. In 2017 to 2018, her kids were small and the commute to her The Beaches studio was almost three hours of driving a day. While she loved teaching, the physical work to get to it was taxing her personal life. So, she sold that school.
The school in Thornhill, she explained, was seeing a population of students age out, and the community price out young family’s real estate wise.
“They couldn’t afford to move there, and we were struggling to attract students.”
So, she sold that school as well.
A move then to Emery Village saw her find the ideal spot for her family to grow, and as the community grew around her, so to did a desire to open a dance school again. But this time, she said, she wanted to open it in her community, and do it her way.,
“I wanted to do it differently. So, I sat down and made a list of everything I wouldn’t do in a school for my children.”
Check number one, she said, during the classes all the parents can stay and watch. Check number two, she wanted a standardized, progressive curriculum.
“I created a unique two-year, four-part progressive program and in this year, I’ve created another level.” Her students stay in a two-year JK program, then a two-year Grade 1 to 2 level program. In every 16 weeks the children learn 20 new skills. They earn a report card and a medal, and they move on.
The third check on her list for her new school was a relief for parents when considering costume costs. “You’re spending $150 on something that ends up in the trash,” Miss Amanda said. “So, at our school I own costumes, lend them to the children for free, and take them back. We don’t add to landfills, we don’t create exorbitant fees.”
Another benefit of Emery is seeing 90 percent of her students being able to walk to her program.
“I really didn’t like seeing all of my students having to drive to our classes.”
Currently Miss Amanda teaches 100 percent of the classes, but just created and launched a sister business, The Recreational Dance Professional Association where she is teaching instructors. She’s hopeful then that those students will become instructors that can teach at her schools and others.
The school focuses on ballet and hip hop with more available information online.www.dancekids.ca