Today we’d like to introduce you to Ahjalia Hall and Jennifer Maples.
Ahjalia and Jennifer, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Ahjalia: My mother owned a dance studio when I was growing up and I have been dancing since I was 2 years old. Growing up in dance is a wonderful way to build confidence, self-esteem and mental and physical strength. I went to UCLA at the age of 16 and once I moved to Los Angeles I started dancing, performing and teaching as much as possible. As a young adult I taught dance at over 50 schools throughout Southern California and ultimately hoped to open my own studio. My business partner Jennifer and I met 10 years ago while teaching together and things just clicked. Jennifer also danced her entire life and made a professional career out of singing, acting, dancing and performing throughout Southern California and the United States. Our connection was instant and we both found that we shared not only a passion for dance but a passion for watching young people grow their confidence, self-worth and happiness through dance.
We opened our studio because we wanted young people to have a place to go where they can challenge themselves physically and mentally through dance, but at the same time learn to become beneficial humans on the planet. At our studio we value each dancer and what they have to offer. Each child is different and each has their own unique gift.
We love watching their gifts develop whether it’s through a beautiful pirouette on the dance floor or through performing at our local assisted living facilities and sharing a smile and hug with someone in need. We opened our business 7 years ago and have enjoyed every single second of being business owners, partners and mentors to so many young dancers.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The hardest part about opening a business was literally opening the business. Figuring out the location, the build out, the parking and all of the logistics of business ownership presented a unique set of struggles. You can’t prepare for those types of issues the way you can for a dance class or performance. Luckily, we are both equally hard workers and our persistence and dedication to build our dream facility carried us through the red tape of permits, leases and building timelines. Once our doors opened the road has been smooth but very busy and very exciting! We both love what we do infinitely so each day is a new and exciting challenge and a wonderful and fulfilling reward.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Thrive Dance Center – what should we know?
Our business’ mission statement is: to not only provide the best in dance and performing arts education to our students, but to also guide them towards realizing their full potential and help them to become amazing, creative, and generous human beings.
Our faculty consists of highly trained, inspired artists whose main goals are to nurture and develop aspiring artists’ talent by being technically proficient and dynamic instructors. Our staff is helpful, friendly and resourceful and we aim to create a well-organized and family friendly environment providing excellent customer service.
At Thrive Dance Center our main focus is top notch dance instruction combined with leadership, unity and life skills that will truly last a lifetime.
We specialize in creating diverse dancers and exposing them to an education that will allow them to keep dance in their lives forever, whether through exercise, college dance or a professional career. We teach Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, Modern, Breakdancing and Acro/Tumbling. In addition, we have an incredible Theater Program that allows our dancers to also train in Acting, Voice and Musical Theater dance. We want our students to step into any room or onto any stage and to be confident that they have the tools they need to succeed.
As a company, we are most proud of our community service. We want our dancers to know that while we are focused on ourselves as individual dancers, we are a part of a larger community, city, state, country, world that requires all of our contributions in order to be peaceful. As a studio we participate and create several community events each year that our students love to participate in. We have our Annual Thrive Beach Bonanza, which is an incredible Beach Party, Dodgeball Tournament but also a beach clean-up for our local community beach. Each year this is one of our most well attended events and while it is so much fun for our families it is also our first opportunity each year to help our immediate community by cleaning the beach. In December we have a 100 member “Jolly Squad” that performs at 6 local Assisted Living Facilities bringing Joy through music and dance. Our students volunteer to be on the “Jolly Squad” and spend their weekends performing locally bringing joy to our local elderly community.
We also do a canned food drive in December where we donate to our local Manna Food Bank. In February, we collect Blankets and Newspapers for our local Animal Shelter and all year every year we have a strong focus on recycling and being as paper free as possible here at our facility. In addition to our studio events, we participate in several local charity events from raising awareness for Foster Children and Families to raising Money for Cancer Research. We are most proud to hear our students saying that their favorite part of the year was one of the above mentioned charity events. When we hear our students say that we know we are doing our job inside and outside of the classroom. We feel this focus on developing not just a dancer but a well-rounded human being is what sets us apart.
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Ahjalia: I personally thank my mom Ms. Maureen Haley, who was a dancer herself and definitely gave me this passion for dance and the arts. Without my mom’s influence and instruction, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Jennifer’s dance teacher Ms. Sharon Cook was a huge influence on her life. She was her first teacher and one of her biggest supporters growing up. Also, Jennifer’s mother Ms. Dona Lettelleir has always been a supportive mother who traveled with Jennifer around the country as young dancer helping her to follow her dreams and her dance opportunities. We also thank our families for supporting us during our first 7 years of business. We love our jobs and we love our students so we are very thankful that our families are understanding of our passion and they are always fully supportive and understanding of our love for what we do and our whacky studio hours. In addition, we have a truly incredible Thrive community of supportive families that always have our back. We are so thankful for our students and their families for being our biggest supporters and for helping to build our positive vision of a truly beneficial dance community for our young dancers to grow up in. We can’t do it alone, it truly takes a village and we have an awesome one.
- Address: Thrive Dance Center
3623 Old Conejo Road,
Newbury Park, CA 91320
- Website: http://www.thrivedancecenter.com
- Phone: 8053759988
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: thrivedancecenter
- Facebook: Thrive Dance Center