Seventy local kids and their parents had pretty well accepted that the Silver-Hope Dance Academy would be closing its doors, after less than three years.
During that time, the Hope studio had developed some amazing dancers, who put the small dance company in the spotlight at prominent competitions.
Unfortunately, due to unpaid fees by some families, the business wasn’t making enough to pay the rent and the instructors, said dance mom, Michelle Richardson.
Before June’s year-end recital, the sad news had already been revealed.
“Crystal had to give kids a chance to switch studios for the fall — and for instructors to find new jobs,” said Richardson of the studio director, Crystal Luck.
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Despite the studio’s fragile future, Richardson said, “It was a wonderful recital — but pretty emotional.”
“There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” added fellow dance mom, Nicole Glentworth. “It showed how much this place means to everybody.”
Some were ready to close a chapter of their lives — but others, like Richardson said, “Wait a minute.”
“Chilliwack isn’t an option for a lot of families,” said Richardson. “We started brainstorming to see how we could save it.
“I asked Crystal ‘If Dan and I take over operations of the studio… would you be the director?’ — because she’s awesome at it. And she said ‘yes.’ ”
The Richardsons now pay the lease on the space in the 200 block of Wallace Street, relieving Crystal’s mom, Juanita Alexander of the expense.
“If Crystal wasn’t going to be involved, we wouldn’t have considered it,” added Michelle. “Crystal has created such a positive, supportive environment.
Michelle, Nicole and their daughters were at work, painting the walls a clean white. Many others had been in to help and more would be needed, once Dan was finished with the soundproofed divider wall.
“With that wall, we’ll have two studios that can operate simultaneously,” explained Michelle. “We’ll be adding adult classes and kids classes.
“We’ve got all the instructors back,” she added. “All qualified instructors, so the calibre is very high. We’re adding a new one, Jessica ____ from Chilliwack.”
The rent, utilities and instructors all come at a cost. If the fees don’t cover the expenses, the owners have to dip into their own pockets, or fold the business.
“We’ll be involved in sales, marketing and systems,” said Michelle. “We’re going to restructure it so we don’t have payables.
“We’ll automate and regulate fee payments. You pay, then you dance. You pay, and then you dance some more.
“We are committed to keeping our classes and programs affordable, while maintaining enough profit to keep the business viable for the long term, so we can keep our dancers dancing,” said Michelle.
“We’re super excited, to have found a way to keep dance going in Hope.”
A reopening and registration event is happening at the studio Wednesday, Aug. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Did you know Hope has had a number of dance studios over the years? Here’s a look back at some of them:
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