Dance studio

Mom opens dance studio to help young girls celebrate diversity

A Burlington County small business owner is making history and hopes young girls will follow in her footsteps.

“Our mission is to foster self-confidence and creativity through dance in a fun and energetic environment,” says Dana Ampy, owner of Amped to Dance.

Ampy has been a dancer since a young age. She was trying to find a dance studio for her daughter, but couldn’t find the right one.

“They were either all white or all black. And I was just like, where are the other people? I know there are more people there,” Ampy said.

She says her mission is to create a place where girls from all different cultures can come together and dance. She says when she found a location in Maple Shade, she knew it was the perfect place.

“We don’t have to be the same. We are all different and if we can appreciate each for their differences…and if we can love and appreciate the people in this world, it will be a better place,” Ampy says.

Ampy students have come to love the studio.

“When I came here I was really shy, but Miss Dana helped me and I was able to start feeling comfortable here,” says dancer Zyhela Robinson.

The studio has been open for two years. The former wasn’t easy, as the studio opened just before the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When I signed the lease…everything was ready to go. We were ready to open and then, boom, the whole world shut down,” Ampy says.

But she says she leaned on her faith and the studio was able to open in the summer of 2020.

“We ended our first year with 67 children in the midst of a pandemic. We still had a recital on stage,” she says.

Ampy says she hopes she can pass on her perseverance to all the girls who watch her.

“No matter what, when things aren’t going your way, keep pushing. When things look hopeless and bleak, keep pushing. When you don’t even know if you’re on the right track, keep pushing because there is always a breakthrough on the other side,” she said.