• 48°

‘Still dancing’

Local dance studio focuses on professional training, performance opportunities for all children

Mindy Jackson has been dancing for 49 years and says it is never too late for a dancer to begin their journey.
Growing up, her mother signed her up for dance class after the then 3-year-old Jackson saw a picture of dancers in a coloring book and told her mother being a dancer was what she wanted to do with her life.
“That was it, I was hooked for life, 49-years later, I’m still dancing,” Jackson said.
Moving to Nicholasville when she was 10-years-old, Jackson did not start out thinking she would own a studio. A former teacher at Lexington Ballett and Mullen-Janow School of Dance in Georgetown, Jackson’s career in Jessamine County started through Jessamine County Community Education.
“They were looking for a dance teacher,” Jackson said. “I called and that was the beginning. I worked for community education for six years before I ventured out on my own. I would never have considered having a studio anywhere other than in Nicholasville.”
From the minute Jackson started teaching in the community, she said residents supported her, and she strives to give back any way she can.
“All my instructors are former students of mine,” Jackson said. “They all started dancing with me when they were little in a kinder class. They danced with me until they graduated high school (and) all of them danced in college. Having my former students as staff is such a blessing.”
Having former students for employees works because they are aware of the way Jackson runs her studio. The staff is consistent in how they teach and interact with students and parents, which Jackson feels is important as her studio is different from others.
“If you didn’t grow up in it you don’t truly understand,” Jackson said. “We are a family and we are dedicated to making a difference through dance.”
Currently, the studio has 300 students enrolled. Located at 315 N. Main St., classes consist of the following: Kinder classes, designed for 2-to-4-year-old students who meet once a week for 45 minutes. The classes are a ballet and tap combination focusing on developing large motor skills while introducing beginning ballet and tap concepts. Ballet/Tap and more classes, which start at four and a half and meets once a week for one hour. This class includes instruction on ballet and tap and introduces modern and contemporary dance concepts. Hip hop classes starting at age five meet once a week for one hour. This class focuses on Hip hop technique and conditioning, as well as stunts and tricks used in hip hop and school dance teams. Spring classes began last month, with the spring recital scheduled for May 10 – 11.
“Mindy’s studio is nothing like what I expected when my wife suggested our daughter take up ballet to ‘keep her active and keep her busy,’” Max Vanderpool said. “There are all kinds of girls, all shapes and sizes, all kinds of abilities – everyone is welcomed. There’s no obsessing about a particular ‘body type’ or how you look – but, rather, the kind of person you are. Older girls help lead the classes for younger ones, they help keep the studio clean – in other words, there’s chores, just like at home.”
The studio also holds team classes which attend summer camps and take part in extra performances. These classes are for more dedicated dancers, Jackson said.
Throughout her journey, Jackson is proud of her business but is most proud of her student’s accomplishments.
“I have many students that have gone on to dance in college and get degrees in dance,” Jackson said. “They took what I gave them and took it to the next level. They are now sharing it with their own students. I’m also really proud that my former students that are dancing and teaching elsewhere come back every summer for dance camp to share what they have learned with our younger students. It is an amazing thing to watch them teach and inspire a new generation. These dancers continue to enrich our studio. Their impact is priceless.”
Although students may have grown up and left the studio, and many things may have changed over the years, Jackson said her mission statement has always stayed the same. To provide quality professional training and performing opportunities for any child who wants to dance.
“I now emphasize ‘any’ child more than anything else,” Jackson said. “Dance is for everyone, and it can make a difference in a child’s life. It made me who I am. Dance teaches children a lot more than just dance. It instills self-esteem, a good work ethic, it encourages life-long friendships and to work as a group to achieve a goal.”
In the future, Jackson said she would love to own her own building. Although regardless, she hopes her studio continues to be a place where students are inspired.
“I don’t think I will ever quit teaching dance,” Jackson said. “I’m sure that more of my former students will return to join my staff and will continue to teach and pass down what I started.”
For more information call 859-881-0851 or email mindytj@gmail.com