Dance studio

La Danse dance studio changes hands after nearly 40 years

The new owners of La Danse are a lifelong student and office administrator for a decade.

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If working in dance has taught Heather Myers anything, it’s the importance of balance.

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It’s a skill that extends offstage too – for the 37 years that Myers, her sister Linda Erickson and their friend Hazel-Ann Stark have run dance studio La Danse, they have always passed on its importance to their dancers. .

“It’s very important in dance to have a balance. It’s nice to go in competition, the children love it, right? The medals and all that, and the exams are more difficult in the way you have to get to that level,” she said.

“But the show teaches you about group effort. And that’s always where we focused.

Linda Erickson, Hazel-Ann Stark and Heather Myers at the ribbon cutting for La Danse Studio.  The three women founded the studio 37 years ago.  Heather and Hazel-Ann remain teachers, while Linda retires completely.  (Provided: The Dance)
Linda Erickson, Hazel-Ann Stark and Heather Myers at the ribbon cutting for La Danse Studio. The three women founded the studio 37 years ago. Heather and Hazel-Ann remain teachers, while Linda retires completely. (Provided: The Dance) .jpg

Since the three women founded Sutherland-based La Danse in 1984, the studio has always been about fostering relationships. As its founders take the next steps, the studio’s new owners are testament to that.

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Shannon Menon is a longtime student of La Danse, which she joined as a young teenager. Co-owner Mallory McGrath has served as the studio’s office administrator for a decade.

“The thing is, it just keeps going and it keeps going up and up,” Myers said.

Heather Myers, Linda Erickson and Hazel-Ann Stark cut a cake at their retirement party.  The three women founded the dance studio La Danse 37 years ago.  Heather and Hazel-Ann remain teachers, while Linda retires completely.  (Provided: The Dance)
Heather Myers, Linda Erickson and Hazel-Ann Stark cut a cake at their retirement party. The three women founded the dance studio La Danse 37 years ago. Heather and Hazel-Ann remain teachers, while Linda retires completely. (Provided: The Dance) .jpg

From the hand-painted stars on the locker room ceiling to one of the cloud-adorned studios, the space seems to convey the message that the sky is the limit. Menon and McGrath say they’re okay and hope to bring La Danse to the next 37 years.

“I never say ‘I go to work,’ I say ‘I go to the studio,'” McGrath said.

“I never thought this opportunity was going to come around. I was like, ‘Oh my God, a career that I’ve been looking forward to and want to do for 30 years,'” she said. “We will try to bring it to 38 (years) though.”

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The star-shaped ceiling and the other brightly colored walls of the La Danse studio will be the first things to do with the new generation of owners.  Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask.  Thursday, July 14, 2022.
The star-shaped ceiling and the other brightly colored walls of the La Danse studio will be the first things to do with the new generation of owners. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask. Thursday, July 14, 2022. Photo by Michelle Berg /Star Phoenix of Saskatoon

Menon says she always wanted to own a dance studio. After completing the teaching program at the National Ballet School, she was happy to return to Saskatoon and her home at La Danse.

“The idea of ​​something you worked for coming to fruition is really exciting. And feeling supported by people who were important to you and the families you teach is the greatest gift,” she said.

Between the three retirements as owners and the cancellations due to COVID, Myers says this year’s recital was “very emotional.” The usual finale was replaced with a balloon drop on stage to give the event the celebratory air it needed.

Longtime student of La Danse studio Shannon Menon (left), one of its founders Heather Myers and its administrator of the decade Mallory McGrath take a photo in one of its studios.  Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask.  Thursday, July 14, 2022.
Longtime student of La Danse studio Shannon Menon (left), one of its founders Heather Myers and its administrator of the decade Mallory McGrath take a photo in one of its studios. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask. Thursday, July 14, 2022. Photo by Michelle Berg /Star Phoenix of Saskatoon

While much will remain the same at La Danse, with Myers and Stark staying to continue teaching tap and ballet respectively, a few changes are on the horizon.

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Along with adding classes and instructors, time-worn studio spaces are getting a fresh coat of paint. However, the floor that 37 years of dancers have graced will remain the same.

“Whether they (continue to) dance professionally or not, it’s truly an honor to watch them grow from a little person to an old person,” Myers said. “And seeing how well they do, whether it’s in school, dancing or at work, is very rewarding.”

Longtime La Danse studio student Shannon Menon looks at a photo of the three women who founded the studio in 1984. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask.  Thursday, July 14, 2022.
Longtime La Danse studio student Shannon Menon looks at a photo of the three women who founded the studio in 1984. Photo taken in Saskatoon, Sask. Thursday, July 14, 2022. Photo by Michelle Berg /Star Phoenix of Saskatoon
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