My daughter started taking ballet and tap classes a few years ago at Dance & Company in Sorrento Valley (San Diego). She started out with hip hop and then decided pretty quickly that she wanted to switch to ballet. She has loved it ever since. Last June, she participated in Dance & Company’s annual summer production and absolutely loved it. My kiddo and I have both been students at this studio and love being able to partner with sponsors we believe in. I have been a fan of this dance studio from the beginning and wanted to share 10 reasons why we love Dance & Company with you. I also did a super fun Q&A with one of the owners to bring you in on this amazing, local to San Diego company.
Why We Love Dance & Company
- The staff is friendly
- There is a family atmosphere
- The teachers are really great at what they do
- They listen to the kids
- They are firm but not rude when explaining directions
- They know how to have fun during and after class
- They want you to succeed
- Their dances are age appropriate
- The music is fun
- They have a lot of different dance and fitness classes
Dance & Company is co-owned by a mom and daughter duo. They are always around to help and are super easy to talk to. The studio has a great family vibe even with over 250 students. Their studio has been in business for over 8 years and is always growing. They offer different classes for all ages of dancers.
Summer Dance Camp
Dance & Company will be hosting a Triple Threat Dance Camp July 31-August 4th for ages 4-11. View all the details for this super fun camp which will include singing, dancing and acting. What a fun way for the little ones to enjoy a week of summer vacation!
Q&A with Katie Collins, Dance & Company Co-Owner/Artistic Director
How did Dance & Company start?
Owning our own dance studio was something my mother and I talked about for years, but we seriously began to give it thought as I entered my junior year of college. I had completed several internships and didn’t find myself passionate enough about anything else and so, the process began. All through my senior year of college, we wrote a business plan, searched for a site, we came up with a name, we applied for a small business loan, did a buildout, hired instructors and we proudly opened our doors in August of 2009, just three months after receiving my degree from SDSU. Simple enough, right? It was easily the busiest year of my life, but very worth it!
Do you face any challenges working with family?
My mom and I definitely had a few challenges working together in the beginning. These were minor challenges that were easily worked out with some discussion and of course some arguing. We had to put aside the mother/daughter relationship and agree that we both had an equal voice in the business and equal strengths. These strengths have proven to help lead to the success that our business is today and without a doubt I would not change a thing about this journey.
How do you balance work and home life as a business owner?
Work/life balance is something that I struggle with every day. Not just because being a business owner is non-stop, but also because I love my job so much that I want to be there and be as involved as possible. I want to continue to make sure that things are constantly improving, that we are growing and that our staff feels like they are supported 100%. Luckily, each year we learn a lot and we make changes and tweaks so that the work/life balance is achieved. This year was the most successful as we hired a studio manager and an Assistant Artistic Director. In doing so, we have been able to pass a lot of the everyday tasks down to them and really focus on the big picture of Dance & Company in order to grow the business. This has also allowed us to focus on our own families. There was a time when we were working 18 hours a day and couldn’t keep our heads above water. It’s been an incredible feeling to watch our staff take on more responsibility and have Dance & Company flourish, all the while.
What does self-care look like for you?
My motto has always been “work hard, play hard”. We don’t get much time off as business owners. We work 6 days/week, often picking up a 7th day just to “catch up” or for special events. It’s exhausting, but we do what we do because we love it and are so passionate about it. However, as a family, we LOVE to travel. And when we do, we “turn off”. It’s all about being able to shut the computer, turn off the phones and just enjoy life outside of Dance & Company. It was a learning curve, but we’ve gotten pretty good at it, and it gets easier as we get more comfortable with our amazing staff running things when we aren’t there. Luckily they treat the business as if it was their own, and that is so hard to find. One of my personal favorite things to do is go to the park with my family and have a picnic and just stare up at the sky. It’s a great reminder of how important it is to live life outside of work. My mom and I also love having “spa days”. We try to do this twice a year, just the two of us and we don’t talk about work at all. It’s so important to treat yourself every once in a while.
What do you do in a typical day?
A typical day in the life of Katie looks a little something like this:
I wake up at 7:30am each day and most days, I go to Pilates. Pilates is my “me” time and it’s one of my favorite things to do. After that, I come home and hop online. Typically I write and answer emails for about 2 hours in the mornings. Each day is different, depending on what needs to be done, but it ranges from working on the website, working on marketing materials/flyers, designing new clothing items or mapping out our monthly schedules. All of it takes a lot of time and focus, but it’s so satisfying watching it all come together. These things are usually what the first part of my day consists of. Then, I take my dog for a walk and head to the studio around 2pm each day. Most days I teach from 3:30-5:30pm and then I’m in the office the rest of the time, usually meeting with our management team or finishing up projects (listed above). I love to be out in the lobby interacting with parents and students, as I truly believe that’s always a nice touch, making everyone’s voices feel heard and everyone feel like family. That is always our number one goal. However, my life is about to change dramatically as my husband and I welcome Baby Collins, due any day! A big reason why we chose to add to our management team this year is because we knew that my husband and I wanted to grow our family. And alas, here we are. It’s going to be a major learning curve for me to take a step back, but I know I’ll find the balance of mommy-hood and business owner.
What motivation keeps you going?
Luckily, at a young age – I found my passion in life. I always knew I never wanted to take my dancing to a professional level (like Broadway, for example). That wasn’t my motivation. I’ve always been a very independent thinker and very much so a “doer”. I am an incredibly hard worker and my wheels are always turning. My mom and I knew that if we opened our own studio, between the two of our minds, strengths and abilities, we would be good at it. My motivation is not just how much I love kids, teaching and watching them grow and succeed, but also watching how much we are impacting our students and our families’ lives. We love enriching our community. It is hands down the most satisfying part. And to have a team of 15 employees who TRULY love what they do and support us in any way possible, that is always the motivation we need.
What’s your favorite part of being a business owner / or running a dance studio?
There are so many – it’s hard to choose. Don’t get me wrong, and I’m being completely transparent here, but it’s not easy. There are some days (less now than in the beginning) when I would want to just stop. I would ask myself “Can I keep this pace up?” It’s a LOT. Being a business owner of any kind is always going to be tough. But, when you’re working with 250 families/students/kids/parents, it’s completely and utterly exhausting. My mom and I always say “It’s a good thing we love what we do, because this life is exhausting”. After 8 years, we feel we’ve found a great balance between hiring the right people to pick up where we need them most, being still fully involved with the business, but also having a great family life at home. I think the best part is the enrichment that we provide. I know that as a kid, dancing changed my life forever. It taught me so much more than how to dance. That was our goal with Dance & Company. To not just focus on the dancer or performer, but to help develop well rounded, respectful and kind individuals. We love that we get to make a difference. And we have so much fun doing it!
Dance & Company is a sponsor of this post. All opinions are my own.