In 2002, I started a competitive pom team for middle schoolers in Oak Creek. This was a free program where I volunteered my time. In the warmer months, my parents graciously let my dancers practice in their backyard. I will never forget the day some of the dancer’s moms had come up to me and told me I had to start charging for my time. They valued the services that were given to them and they wanted to pay for it. These parents started my business for me without even knowing it and I will be eternally grateful to them. These 17 dancers and their wonderful parents spread the word and within 3 years, we were up to 100 students. As I started to think about my future, I soon realized that my “hobby” could become my career.
After we had completely ruined my parents yard, we moved to a church basement where one of dancers was able to get them to donate their space. After carrying the stereo equipment and paperwork for 100 girls to and from the church each week, I started to look for my own space. In August of 2005, I found a place on the corner of Ryan Rd. and Hwy 32 for my students to call home. Within 2 weeks, I had signed the lease and opened for business in September 2005 as Studio 21 Pom & Dance Academy Inc.
Once I saw our customers’ reactions to opening our school, I decided to look at a more permanent location for my students and started to build what is our current location today. We opened in 2008 with a bigger facility and added more programs such as music lessons, acting classes, and our fine arts and academic preschool program. We started to outgrow our name and in 2010, we filed a “doing business as” and today we are The Academy of Performing Arts.
Since that time our Oak Creek location has had much success, have added other programs such as preschool, tumbling, & acting. Oak Creek is where I was born and raised and I love being a part of the community. Although, located in Oak Creek, we have many other residents from surrounding cities, and many from the city of Franklin. The first time someone suggested opening up a location in Franklin, we laughed. After more of those same requests, we took it a little more seriously and went for it, opening our doors in September 2012.
One of the best parts about this job is watching our students grow up. Over the last decade, I have watched them graduate from middle school, high school, college, and start their careers. We are also very fortunate to have some of these young women on our staff today. I am so blessed to be able to have a career where I get to pass along my passion to others who will one day look back and remember how much they loved the arts as well.