Stepping Stone Dance Studio – Determined to DreamPublished September 14, 2017 by Eva Tanenbaum in All Things Dance, Wishful Thinking
A Wish Come True is nothing without the amazing dance studios, schools and studio owners that we work with!
And over the years we’ve developed great relationships with some of you, our customers. So we decided it’s time we learn a little more about some of you and what motivates you to be a dance teacher. And we want to introduce you to the rest of the dance world!
This week get to know Dana Stone of Stepping Stone Dance Studio in Bristol, PA (our neighbor!).
How long have you been a studio owner?
I have owned SSDS for the last 7 years. I have been dancing over 35 years and teaching dance for over 25 years. I know the first day I started to take dance class I wanted to teach, dance and someday own a dance studio.
What’s the best part of being a studio owner?
Like an other small business owner, owning a dance studio is an all-consuming responsibility. I work a full 8 hour job (Monday-Friday) and spend an additional 8 hours at the studio 6-7 days a week. I do this because I love owning the dance studio.
Dance is my love and passion. I love working with the children and adults within our community. I love being able to share this passion of dance with the world. It has been very eye opening to realize over the years that I have filled many different roles; teacher, mentor, guidance counselor, psychologist and leader. Owning SSDS has helped my become a better human being an I am grateful each and every day for being given this amazing lifetime opportunity.
What’s the most challenging part?
The most challenging part of owning a dance studio is being a collection agent. I find it quite challenging tracking down tuition fees from my student’s families each month. We have set up payment policies so we wouldn’t have to worry about collections, but our success rate is quite low. 99% of other dance studios require full payment the first of each month, or classes may not be attended but we give families till the 15th or a nominal late fee is charged.
When a financially struggling parent discusses their situation, my emotions take over and I give in. I love these children. I never want to see dance taken away from an aspiring student to the parent’s situation and struggles. Unfortunately, over the years I have lost thousands of dollars in tuition and costume fees that were never paid, but the children still danced.
Tell us the most memorable or proudest moment as an owner!
That is so hard to answer as every day I am creating new memories with my dancers. One moment I will never forget was the day I was watching some of my dancers up on stage, performing my choreography and crying while performing because they felt what I was feeling during the choreography process – a feeling that words cannot describe.
Another special moment is when one of my younger dancers, Lea, came in dressed like “Ms. Dana”. Boy, did that put a smile on my face. The hair, the SSDS shirt, the crazy leggings, and the mismatched socks.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a dance teacher and a dance studio owner. A piece of advice for our younger generations; remember your dreams have no limits. Never waist time wishing you would have done something. With hard work and dedication everything is attainable, whether they are big or small goals. Always follow your dreams, because dreams really do come true. I am proof of that!
Who do you look up to?
Besides my mother being my true inspiration for life, my youth dance instructor Carol Wilson was my greatest inspiration and someone I look up to. She inspired me to follow my dreams of becoming a dancer/teacher and owning a studio. To this day Carol Wilson is a great mentor and teacher to me. She taught me independence, to be a risk-taker and confident. The same aspects of life I try to instill in my students.
Because I teach so many different genres of dance, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Acro, Musical Theater, and everything in-between, I really must say I don’t have a favorite artist.
What’s you favorite part of working with ‘Wish’?
I love working with A Wish Come True for many reasons. One is that its located here in Bristol, PA (my backyard) and that all the costumes are made in the USA. A Wish Come True and their staff is a true joy to work with day in and day out. They go above and beyond the call of duty, and show true passion in their job. Linda Kotch has been absolutely amazing! Her support she has shown for me, my business and my students, I cannot even express into words.
This season, I purchased over 98% of my costumes through A Wish Come True. I honestly felt your designers were so creative this year and fit my recital theme perfectly. We struggled with a few body types and their sizing, but Linda jumped right in there to assist me replacing the costumes to a smaller size to meet my date requirement.
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