Pike Road Dance Academy founder Raquel Whitehead will lead three teams competing next month at the Montgomery Performing Arts Center, confirming her belief that Pike Road was ready for more arts.
The former professional dancer said Pike Road has graciously supported the Academy since she opened the business in 2020 in the historic Marks House.
“I saw that there was a need for a dance studio in Pike Road and that we desperately needed more arts awareness in our community,” she said. “The city has been so supportive and the families that are in our studio are probably the best families there are. Pike Road has been a wonderful community to open my business. »
Whitehead is one of many entrepreneurs who have found fertile ground for growth at Pike Road to fulfill their dream of becoming a business owner.
The PRDA Mini Elite, Premier and Elite teams prepare for their season which begins February 4 at the Dance Masters of America MPAC event.
Most Academy students come from Pike Road, East Montgomery and even Tallassee, Whitehead said, adding that when the school opened in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, it was blown away by the overwhelming support from the community.
The school’s new location is 232 West Elizabeth Lane at Pike Road.
“We started in the historic Marks House, and quickly moved past it. Our new facility and new ownership came at just the right time and was such a blessing,” she said. “Our new facility is in the middle of Pike Road. It is located just off the new Pike Road overpass/exit of the freeway. It’s on the service road on the left as you come out of the exit. It’s the perfect place for us, and we absolutely love it.
The Academy offers nine levels of dance lessons ranging from beginner, intermediate to advanced, and competition-style (professional) instruction. Classes have been developed for beginners to more serious dancers looking for a progressive program.
Whitehead, who earned a dual degree in Communication Studies and Dance from the University of Alabama, is an accomplished dancer who has studied and danced with the Alabama School of Fine Arts, the prestigious Julliard School, the Kirov Academy of Ballet and Hungarian Dance. Budapest Academy.
“I have been dancing professionally for just over 15 years and teaching has always been one of my passions. I started teaching at my mom’s studio in Prattville (CJ’s Dance Factory) when I was very young and fell in love with teaching kids a love of dance and the arts,” Whitehead said. “When my own kids got a little older, I knew I would have time to devote to opening my own studio and being able to pass on my love of the arts to our youth.”
She has also danced professionally in Italy, France and Germany. She competed in the Miss Texas and Miss Alabama America organizations for five years. During that time, she was crowned Miss Dallas, Miss Fountain City and Miss Wiregrass Area.
Whitehead believes dance and the arts are especially important in today’s challenging culture.
“Dance is an artistic outlet for all children that allows everyone to express themselves in a positive way. It’s so important in the generation we’re raising,” she said. “Dancing brings positivity with music and rhythm to all children. There are so many dance genres to choose from to express yourself in different ways. There’s ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, acro, modern and contemporary. All of these allow all types of body expressions without using words. This is a benefit for children who are still trying to find the words to express themselves.
Whitehead has been teaching all genres of dance for 18 years. She also taught at the Academy of Ballet and Jazz (ABJ) in Tuscaloosa and served as school principal for Montgomery Ballet.
To attend classes at the Academy, a child only needs the appropriate attire for each class. All dress requirements and other information are listed on the school’s website at www.pikeroaddance.com.
“We offer classes from 18 months to 18 years old,” Whitehead said. “We offer ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, gymnastics, hip hop and contemporary. We prepare students for the world of professional dance, college, world-class competitions, and auditions of all types.