KALAMA – Growing up in Kalama, Madison Lucas remembers the almost daily commute to Longview and back for a dance class.
After hearing similar stories from other residents who don’t like the commute to Longview or Woodland or don’t participate in the dance because of it, the 27-year-old decided to open the studio. Rising Heights Dance in his hometown.
“I just think this town deserves some art, some dancing,” she said. “It’s so much fun to be in Kalama celebrating this.”
Contractors are renovating 299 N. First St. into a 2,500-square-foot studio by removing four walls and installing dancer-specific floating floors, Lucas said. The space will include two large classrooms, a private classroom and an upstairs room for tumbling.
The studio is having a grand opening on June 25 and classes begin the following Monday, June 27.
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Lucas started dancing at age 14, after trying various other sports.
“The day I put on my leotard was the last day I looked for something to do,” she said. “I think our name, Rising Heights Dance, really matches how I feel about dance. No matter where you are, you can always reach a new height in dance. »
After graduating from Kalama High School in 2013, Lucas attended Brigham Young University – Idaho, where she majored in theater and minored in dance pedagogy, or teaching method and practice.
“When I was younger I thought I wanted to be a performer until I taught my first class,” she said. “I love watching kids learn and grow and I get that feeling when they realize the difficult move they’ve been working on or when they perform and smile because they know they’ve done well. I’m having fun with this.
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After teaching dance at Woodland for the past four years, Lucas said she feels ready to branch out and open her own studio.
“I knew I wanted to do this since 2014, so luckily my experience prepared me for it,” Lucas said. “I’m so excited to be in my hometown to bring dance back for everyone.”
Rising Heights will offer classes for all ages, from 9 months to adults. Classes for children 5 and under include dancing with an adult, learning basic skills, pre-ballet and tumbling. Older students can take different levels of ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, tumbling and musical theatre.
Dancers 6 years and older with at least one year of experience can audition to be part of the competition teams. Adults can skip or purchase a punch card for a weekly class exploring different dance styles.
Lucas said some of her former students helped her decide which classes to offer by telling her what they would be interested in. Young children wanted to learn everything, while teenagers wanted to hone their skills for competition, she said.
The studio will be the county’s only certified acrobatic arts studio with an emphasis on tumbling and ballet.
Along with Lucas, Rising Heights will have three other instructors – Noelle Horrocks, Eden Harmon and Angel Anaya.
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Rising Heights kicks off its opening with a week of $5 walk-in days starting June 27. Each day will have a time slot for a different class and age group, allowing kids to try out a class before signing up, Lucas said.
Summer camps will begin in early July and end in August. The regular dance season begins September 12 and ends in June. At the end of the season, Rising Heights will hold a recital that incorporates the different classes, Lucas said.
Although she worries about the lack of demand, Kalama’s growing population and great interest in it so far has encouraged Lucas to open the studio, she said.
“I was so amazed,” she said. “I feel like every time I hit a wall, … then three doors open and we can move on. It was such a rewarding experience and we are excited to get started.
Talking Business is a series featuring new or expanded local businesses and print every Tuesday.
Contact Daily News reporter Katie Fairbanks at 360-577-2532 Where [email protected] for possible inclusion in the series.