When Haliburton Dancy Academy closed its doors last June, Reese Wood was sad. But she was excited Oct. 1 as the new Skyline Dance Studio held its official grand opening.
Reese was one of a number of children who joined their parents in celebrating the ribboncutting this past Saturday.
“It’s really important because I love dance, and I’ve grown up doing dance,” Reese said.
A committee of eight women behind the studio: Allison Cox, Sarah Garbutt, Dawn Hurd, Courtney Bishop, Victoria Bullock, Stacey Parish, Stef Wood and Melissa Valentini were joined by Dysart et al Coun. Pat Kennedy for a ceremony at the 229 Highland St. location.
They only secured the building six weeks ago, and have put a lot of hard work into preparing three dance studios, a common room, bathrooms and change rooms. They have also secured teachers and been registering students. They have developed a website and Facebook page.
Hurd said, “there’s been ups and downs and some struggles here and there but I think we, as a committee, have great skills and everyone brings something to the table and we had no doubt that we would get here.”
Cox agreed, adding the community never doubted it could bring a dance studio back to the Highlands. She said there had been passionate support from so many sectors.
“We knew the community would step up in ways that we could never imagine.”
Bishop said it had been an incredible amount of work to get the building, next to Castle Antiques, ready for the grand opening and for fall students.
She noted it was an older building that had not been designed as a dance studio. They needed workers and material. They called on family and friends. As just one example, they had to figure out how to build dance floors.
“Lots of blood, sweat and tears to get it done. Honestly, the fact we have accomplished this much in six weeks, amazes me,” Bishop said.
It all started the night Cox found out her daughter’s dance studio was closing. She told her husband, “I either need to buy a bus, or open a dance studio here in Haliburton County. Either way, these kids needed to stay together.”
Cox said she instinctively knew she could lead a project to create a new dance studio and was pretty sure there would be “immense” support to keep dance local.
Skyline Dance Studio is not affiliated with any dance studios but is an independent not-for-profit organization, “with a huge vision to create an inclusive safe space for all dancers in Haliburton County.”
Cox said she worked closely with the Haliburton County Development Corporation to review the business options and ultimately decided on a not-for-profit for two reasons.
“We want everything we pour into this studio to be reinvested in the studio and we want to be sure this is a legacy that can be carried on for years to come. It will evolve and grow as the board of directors transitions throughout the years. It will truly be a community-run operation.”
Some committee members own and run businesses, some work in non-profits, some are employed by local businesses, and many have experience sitting on other not-for-profit boards in the Highlands.
“It is a great blend of experience coming together with passion and dedication to accomplish this goal. Beyond this group, we have dozens of community members, individuals, and businesses, that have offered support with time, money and materials.”
“We are doing this for our community, and the families of Haliburton County. Dance is so important for kids, not only is it good for physical, emotional, and intellectual wellbeing, but it also creates amazing friendships and instills a sense of community that will last a lifetime.”