- BC Games
Successful dance studio celebrates 10-year milestone
Ten years of success hasn’t stopped a local dance and performance arts studio from operating based on community-centred values.
Husband and wife duo, Ian Widgery, 39, and Miranda Widgery-Webber, 32, created Perform Art Studios in 2003 after working abroad in England and Hong Kong for several years. Widgery has over 20 years of experience working as a successful music producer and Widgery-Webber is a Royal Academy of Dance registered teacher with 15 years experience in the industry.
“We really wanted to bring our experiences to North Shore families,” Widgery-Webber said. “We really wanted to bring in more of a family atmosphere, focus on the quality dance training and bring the class sizes down significantly.”
The school touts a philosophy of small class sizes, personal attention and quality training — all of which has paid off. The original studio on Lower Lonsdale has doubled in size over the years and continued success has sprouted studios on Bowen Island and in Edgemont Village.
When students arrive at Perform Art Studios at an early age, they are welcomed with a family setting, where they feel comfortable enough to wave goodbye to mom at the door.
Quality instruction executed in a positive environment leads to the growth of well-rounded, skillful dancers who understand artistic expression, says Widgery-Webber, noting that class sizes rarely exceed 12 students.
“What we want them to understand and for the parents to see is that they’re actually learning something — that they’re really learning dance,” Widgery-Webber said. “Not just the steps, but also the culture of it.”
After seeing countless nimble feet prance through their halls, Perform Art Studios now has a student base that is generational -- bringing even more credence to their reputation as a family-oriented business.
“I’m quite enjoying that because some students have gone off and graduated and they’ve started having kids themselves… and [it’s] all coming full circle,” Widgery said.
The studio offers ballet programming that follows the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance ballet syllabus along with jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap, hip hop and musical theatre classes. There is programming for dancers aged three to 18.
Students can be seen performing at annual community events in North Vancouver and Bowen Island. More serious students who successfully audition for the school’s professional dance company, Dancers in Company, can expect to perform tours on the international stage.
The company’s in-house non-profit, Dancers in Company Society, has also offered $70,000 in bursaries to students from all walks of life and varying skill levels.
Perform Art Studios is ushering in their 10-year anniversary with monthly events and a special performance for its year-end recital.
“It’s a bit top secret, but we’re doing a very big special piece to mark 10 years,” Widgery said.
For more information, go to performartstudios.com.