Dance like nobody's watching.
It's a mantra Jamie Blake has been living her life by for the past seven years, and one she hopes to instil in the up-and-coming dancers in Sudbury.
From the moment she started dancing seven years ago, the 20-year-old Sudbury gal has dreamed of opening her own dance studio.
Now, that dream has come to fruition.
Spotlight Dance Company officially opens its doors Saturday. Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11 a.m., the studio, located at 1749 Lasalle Blvd., will be open to the public until 4 p.m. The community is invited to check out the facility, meet the teachers and pre-register for the upcoming season.
"I've been wanting to open a studio forever," Blake said. "I can't even believe it's happening."
Blake's passion for dance was primed from the very get-go.
"I started competitively right away," she said. "I love the feeling it gives me when I'm dancing — I just love feeling free."
It's that same passion that she hopes to pass on to all her students.
"I have so much love for dance and I want to instill that same love in the kids' little hearts," she said.
As a teenager, Blake said dancing was "like an escape" for her. It took her away from the trials and tribulations of growing up.
"Dance also helps boost confidence and self-esteem for kids who lack that," she said. "It did for me. I was not confident before. I was so shy and never talked, and dance brought me out of my shell.
"That's what I'm trying to instil in the kids," she added. "I want to bring out their full potential. I want every one of my students to feel special and exceed what they think they can do."
Blake is well-versed in all the dance styles out there — "I took everything I could," she said. With two other instructors on board at the studio, there will be qualified instruction offered in all styles of dance.
The studio will cater to students from as young as two-and-a-half up to adults, in both recreational and competitive divisions.
Blake said she plans to continue dancing and training herself, but her main focus will be on her students.
"I'm still learning and going to workshops all the time to bring in the new stuff," she said. "I never want it to get old for the kids."
Blake is following in the footsteps of her parents in starting up her own business. She said they are guiding her through the process of launching and running her own studio.
"My parents have inspired me so much and helped me out along the way," she said. "I'd never be where I am today if I didn't have them."
The studio will also host a dance camp July 21 and 22, featuring So You Think You Can Dance Canada 2010 winner Tara-Jean Popowich and 2011 finalist Adam Lopapa. Early registration is $199 at the open house, and will go up to $225 after.
For more information, visit spotlightdancecompany.ca.
Posted by Laurel Myers