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Meet Brittany Terry of Dance Academy of Bellevue

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brittany Terry.

Hi Brittany, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
I have been teaching dance close to 19 years. I started out as an assistant at Stars In Motion Performing Arts School in Southaven, MS. I was taking dance classes there and I was old enough to assist, so I did it. When I stepped out of the assistant position into instructor position is when I started to really get a passion for teaching dance. My mom is a school teacher and I grew up wanting to be a school teacher myself, so I guess it’s safe to say that teaching is in my blood! Little did I know that I was going to fall so hard in love with teaching dance! I went on to graduate from the University of Memphis earning my Dance Education Degree in 2013. My husband, Matt, and I married in 2014 while he was finishing up his time with the United States Army. I moved to Clarksville, TN with the goal to move to Nashville once he retired and open up my own dance studio. It was a dream that quickly went to the back burner once I started teaching at Natalie’s Dance Network in Clarksville and Bellevue Dance Center in Nashville and then eventually moving to the Bellevue community. I met the most incredible instructors, dancers, and families. I began to learn how wonderful the Bellevue community was (is) and how much there was to offer all around me. I always had in my mind that I wanted my own studio but never acted on it because the opportunity never really presented itself.

Plus, I was comfortable and satisfied where I was. It wasn’t until May 1, 2020 when the opportunity I was looking for came about. I was still working for Bellevue Dance Center at this time and the owner decided it was time to close the business. I couldn’t even fathom not seeing the families that I have grown to love over the past six years of teaching there. I was very, very sad over it (someone did eventually end up buying the studio later that summer). After about a week of trying to figure out what to do, I asked my husband, “what if I do it? What if I open my own studio?”. He immediately was on board! So, later that May, Dance Academy of Bellevue was born. Unfortunately, the unforgivable pandemic took its toll on trying to find a physical location for the studio. After months of planning, lots of “we love your ideas, but” stress, disappointment, and sleepless nights, I finally got a YES! I signed the lease for the property on February 1st, 2021 and we opened for business on March 25th, 2021. The entire process from May 2020 until now has been exhausting but I have had the most UNBELIEVABLE support from my husband, my parents, my family, my husband’s family, and my dance families. I 100% could not have done ANY of it without them.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The hardest part was getting a loan approval because of the pandemic. Every company I applied for loved my ideas, loved my business plan, loved everything about Dance Academy of Bellevue. The only thing that was keeping them from approving a start up loan was the pandemic. At the time I was seeking one, everything was still uncertain and unknown with the future. Since we were not an existing business, we didn’t have the established business taxes or reputation of an existing business. If Dance Academy of Bellevue had all of that, it would have helped with the decision-making for a loan approval. I even got an “if it wasn’t for the pandemic…” multiple times. The first step in signing a property lease was getting that start up loan. We even lost a property we were seeking to lease because we weren’t able to get on in time. At the time, I thought it was the end all be all but then I found the location we are currently at now and I love it a whole lot more!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
The mission statement for Dance Academy of Bellevue is as follows:

Dance Academy of Bellevue is a safe and inclusive place for all dancers to be themselves. At DAB, our dancers learn to instill confidence in self-expression and individuality. They are also taught to appreciate and respect the art of dance through quality instruction. At DAB, our core values are creativity, encouragement, teamwork, and community.

One of the reasons why I wanted to start Dance Academy of Bellevue is I felt that there needed to be a place for children to express themselves judgment-free. The first dance studio I danced (and taught at), Stars In Motion, became my second home and a place where I felt accepted for who I was. I felt like we needed something like that in the Bellevue community. Yes, quality instruction is absolutely important (which is why we offer it) but it has to be more than just good dancing. Bellevue is full of families, friends, support systems, and growth. What better way to celebrate the community than bringing families together with dance?

Dance Academy of Bellevue is the place where you can bring your child and they are celebrated for being just who they are. Dance is such a huge outlet for creativity. Music and movement love all and does not discriminate. I find dance to be therapeutic whether it’s mental, physical, or emotional. If I’m having the best day ever, I dance it out. If my day is filled with stress and hurdles, I dance it out. If I’m feeling a little sad, I dance it out. Even at the young age of 1 year old (which is the youngest age we offer classes), you start to feel the power of music and movement. It’s out there for everyone!

I guess I can say that I am most proud of some of the “thank you’s” and compliments from some of the parents of the children taking dance here. I’ve been thanked for providing a place for a child that has to sit all day and is dying to just move. I’ve been told from a parent that they really appreciate the message that I am putting out there for the kids. I was even told that “Bellevue needs a place like this.” There days where I still can’t believe that this is actually happening.

We offer dance classes from age 1 through adult. We start out with My Grownup & Me for ages 1-3. Then we move into a 30-minute creative movement class for ages 2-3. Then to a basic ballet, tap, tumble combo for ages 3-5, and then it starts to get into a variety of combos starting at age 5. We have a hip hop/tumble combo, a ballet, tap, jazz combo, a musical theatre class, and a ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary combo. Starting at age of nine, the combos are all split up and everything is offered individually. Those classes are ballet, pointe, pre-pointe, jazz, tap, musical theatre, hip hop/commercial jazz, contemporary, and acro. The adult classes we offer are ballet, tap, and barre.

Any big plans?
My plans for the future are to become more involved with the community with my studio and myself. After all, without the community, a dance studio is unachievable. I really am looking forward to the first official dance season at Dance Academy of Bellevue (which starts August 16th). It will be a first for everything at the studio. First Bring a Friend Week, first Spirit Week, first Halloween Festival, first Holiday Parent Demonstration, first Recital Costumes, first Recital, etc. It’s all very exciting!

Pricing:

  • $50 a month for 30 minutes
  • $60 a month for 45 minutes
  • $70 a month for 1 hour
  • $90 a month for 1.5 hours
  • $110 a month for 2 hours

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Matt Terry, Avery Nute, Amelia Williams, Olive Connelly, and Mihira Dash

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