38 years ago I decided to share my passion for dance with children. I thought there could be no better job.
The first class I ever taught was in a school gymnasium. The clock was on the other side of the gym…I had to bend down and lean to one side to see it because of the rafters on the ceiling. Every single student copied my exact movement… I WAS HOOKED! My parents were supportive. I was still in high school and as long as I went to University and eventually got a ‘real job’ they would be happy.
and.. Kids Etc was born. My dad, ever the entrepreneur who owned an embroidery business, made crests for the dancers. The first year I had 12 kids, then 30, then 100. It was exciting. Classes were held in a church basement, or where ever I could find space. End of year parties were held in my parents basement, recitals at schools, and eventually the art gallery. I loved every minute of it!
Honouring my parents wishes I was accepted into the faculty of Commerce. I graduated with honours and more than 1 job offer. Well, that was it for my teaching career. It was the 80’s..time to wear that blue suit.. with padded shoulders and pantyhose..EVERY day…SERIOUSLY what was I thinking! It was time for a ‘real job’.
My dance moms (they didn’t know that’s what they were at the time) begged me to continue teaching. I thought… OK, one more year. I did it throughout high school and university… why not continue while I had that ‘real job’?
A few months into the new job and early in the dance season, my dad got sick. It was a tough year, and it made me think about life..how we spend our time..what we do with our days. That’s when I decided that I wanted to focus my time and energy on teaching dance… full time.
In 1986 I rented a 1500 sq ft space at 388 Academy Road, Academy and Ash. It used to be Gurvey’s drugstore in the 50’s and 60’s; now I think it’s a design store. I remember ripping out the carpet to lay down a sub floor for dance. I remember painting stripes on the wall. They were super cool!
Two years later enrollment was increasing and I needed more teachers One of the first teachers I hired was one of my first 12 students. She’s is now living in Victoria and still teaching dance!
In 1988, I needed more space, I moved down the street to 551 Academy Road. We renovated the top floor of this 2 story condo into a dance studio with a small basement studio space. My mom handled the reception desk on the main floor.
A few years later, in 1992 with baby Taylor in tow, I relocated to this space in Charleswood. The beginning of a new chapter. Jess was born in 1994 and in 1995, we saw another expansion within the space at 3525 Roblin Blvd. In 2002 we expanded to the studios we have now.
In 2002 I remember signing a 15 year lease and thinking how bizarre 2017 sounded… futuristic. Would there be hover boards? 😀 So here we are almost at the end of the lease, and it’s time for yet another chapter.
Dance has evolved so much since I started teaching. Every year I watch our kids develop their skills as dancers, and more importantly as team members. I am equally amazed and thrilled with their progress. Our dance family is truly what I believe sets us apart from any other school, our sense of community.
We are also blessed to have so many ‘home grown teachers’..teachers who love and care for our kids the same way their teachers loved and cared for them. They truly envelop our basic philosophies of serious fun and working to achieve your personal best.
My dad always said that my mom was remarkable. As you all know , this has become our mantra…be remarkable..I know that both of my parents see that in our kids everyday… I know I do.
Paul, Taylor, Jessica and I would like to introduce you to the next chapter for Kids Etc Youth Movement Company.
In September of 2017 we will be moving to our own building on McCreary and McGillivary (across from SkyZone!). This new space is what our ‘kids’ deserve. Over 11,000 square feet of state of the art space with 4 LARGE studios. To put this into perspective, I can drop our existing studio A, into the smallest studio at the new space!
There are huge viewing windows on all of the studios. One of my favourite features is that we will have actual audience seating inside the largest studio. Perfect for small shows and dance presentations.
We will be able to offer our dancers more space, and more programs. We can expand out acro programs and we will also be introducing silks into our curriculum. This space is also what our dance families need. More community space, even a designated spot for our Keurig!
I would like to thank Joe Leuzzi, of Boomdonenext, and a truly remarkable dance dad, who was instrumental in putting this deal together.
I cannot wait to watch our kids grow in the phenomenal space.
Stay remarkable Winnipeg,