Five years ago today, I realized my lifelong dream of owning my own dance studio. I’m still just as excited about it as I was on the first day we opened our doors to the public. I wasn’t sure then if it would succeed but I knew I wanted to give it a try. It hasn’t always been easy or fun, (I mean who likes to clean a bathroom or mop a floor?), but it has been rewarding in countless ways. I still feel the same excitement as I did that first day whenever I teach a class or speak to a new student about the studio.
Opening this business was a little scary at first. What I was attempting was unique for this area, a dance and fitness space that was for adults and teens, that focused on giving students the highest quality classes, in a fun and caring atmosphere. We have stayed true to that mission and our wonderful students keep coming back for more classes. Maria Bortugno, an original student at the studio and the owner of B Designs, says, “Taking ballet class is better than going for therapy for stress release.” I’ve also heard other students say that it feels like they are dancing with family or that it’s better than going to a spa. I was hoping to create a place where people could get fit and have fun at the same time. It makes me happy to hear that I have created that kind of atmosphere.
The inaugural dance classes at Albany Dance & Fitness (ADF) were part of our first open house. Since that day, the studio has seen many jumps, turns, step-ball-changes, shimmies, stretches, planks and leg lifts. When the studio opened, we started out slowly. Classes were offered Sunday – Thursday and there were 15 classes/week, taught by a staff of 5 instructors. We now offer classes every day of the week and students can choose from 40 weekly classes and a variety of instructors (18).
I’ve been lucky to have wonderful instructors at the studio. Two of them have been with the studio from that first day. Tenicia Trask (T) has taught many different Pilates and fitness classes and continues to offer Pilates Ball on Saturday mornings. Thursday nights has been Belly Dance with Habiba since we opened and a group of her students even perform from time to time.
Five years ago I was the only Ballet teacher at the studio. I really didn’t think there was enough interested students to support more ballet classes. Well, I was wrong about that. We now offer ballet classes with Alyssa, Charmaine, Robin and David Otto!
I have been asked by many of you, what’s next for ADF? I promise to continue to offer the current wonderful classes and sprinkle in something new whenever possible, along with special workshops and master classes.
But first, we need to celebrate what we’ve accomplished together with a 5th Anniversary Open House. Mark your calendars for Saturday, 9/24/16, 1:30 – 7:00pm. That afternoon will include a variety of free sampler classes followed by a reception with light refreshments. I hope that all our current students, new students, and friends will join me at this celebration.
Note: The photo is of me dancing in the studio before we opened (no barres or mirrors up at that point). The photo was taken by my husband, Anthony Tassarotti. I did mention him in the original version of this post, but my editor (my husband) deleted that part. I do have to give him credit for all the support he gives me with this studio. In addition to photographing events and editing my blog posts, he’s also the maintenance guy and most importantly he listens and provides amazing ideas. Thank you to a very special person.