The Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes (3:4) tells us, “To everything there is a season… a time to weep and a time to laugh…a time to mourn…and a time to dance.” At A Time to Dance studio in Hickory Creek, they take that passage to heart. Yet, there’s more to A Time to Dance (ATTD) than training and guiding students to achieve excellence in dancing alone. Instructors are committed to inspiring, motivating, and encouraging every student to become talented dancers and confident, strong, kind, and loving human beings.
Those are big dance shoes to fill.
ATTD’s creative staff members are also dedicated to inspiring their students within a nurturing and safe environment. Outside of their family homes, children find ATTD to be a consistently stable environment where they feel loved, appreciated, and encouraged.
“Dance training can benefit a child for a lifetime by building confidence, strength, grace, etiquette, and so much more,” Owner and instructor Elya Coleman explained. Because ATTD instructors believe in growing closer to God through nurturing young lives, they develop students through worship, dance, discipline, accountability, technical training, and performance.
The studio offers just about every form of dance instruction you can imagine, and students 2 years old through adulthood are welcome. “We have about 350 students altogether,” Elya said. “Fifty of them are in our smaller performance company within ATTD called Oaks Dance Company, which is open to those 7 years old and up.” Everyone participates in a recital at the end of the year, but Oaks performs throughout the year.
They aren’t a competition studio, meaning ATTD doesn’t participate in competitions. Instead, they find ways to share with the community. Since developing good character traits in their students is so much a part of ATTD, they’ve always carried out service projects. When COVID-19 struck, the dancers were undaunted. They viewed the pandemic as a means of giving them new opportunities to become involved. The theme for the studio this year is The Forward Project, encouraging dancers to continue moving forward, not to give up, and not allow what’s happening in the world to discourage them from embracing who they were created to be. “I’m inspired by their resilience and perseverance,” Elya said. “They’re not willing to lose heart, even though dance class, school, and life look different, for they know they have a purpose.”
During the pandemic, ATTD continued classes online. Rather than postponing humanitarian efforts, they modified – and even expanded – them, such as taking part in Backpack Blessings through a church. At these events, the dancers stuffed backpacks with food for needy kids. During the holidays, a Spirit of Christmas event was held in Lake Dallas for dancers and their families to put on a free outdoor dance concert. They offered free meals plus complimentary donation bags of household items.
The more these dancers discover that helping others makes a difference, the more their confidence and joy grow, and their personal stress seems lighter.
ATTD has always maintained that the dancer is more important than the dance. “We strongly believe in developing good character in our youth while giving them professional dance training,” Elya said. “Our dancers are a generation of world changers — because we are more than just great dancing!”
photos courtesy of A Time to Dance Studio