Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristina Keener Ivy.
Kristina, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I had a dream as a child that there was a school I could go to that would help me be a Broadway star, or on TV, or just prepare me to be an awesome performer. I wanted to be in Seattle when the grunge rock scene hit or in Paris after the World Wars with all ex-pat writers and poets. Problem was my family was po’ (so poor we couldn’t afford an r). Then one day while teaching at West Covina High School, I realized I could create a place and time like that. A place where aspiring performers can come and work with master teachers and get professional performance opportunities while inspiring each other to excel. Fast forward ten years and now I have an amazing location, 21 awesome teachers (including Eddie Garcia who danced with Micheal Jackson for two world tours) I have donors to help us cover part of the costs, awesome Board Members, Office Staff and an army of volunteers.
Before the shelter in place, we had over 600 students taking private lessons and group classes in sing, acting, dance, musical instruments and in our Broadway style musical theater productions. We work with every performer ages three and up, from ones who have extreme special needs to ones who are Broadway bound. Top Billing Entertainment has received 60 National Youth Arts nominations and 15 wins, won “Best Dance School” and “Best Music Instruction” for the last six years in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune Reader’s Choice Awards, and won first place for Best Theater Production and second place for Theater Directing in the American Prize National Competition. But when since COVID hit we have been struggling to stay open. I have spent so many years building my dream, I couldn’t just let it die so we have been doing fundraisers and everything we can. Only thing to do is keep dreaming.
Has it been a smooth road?
Besides COVID, some of the struggles along the way was starting from scratch. I first opened with six students during the last economic recession and organically grew from there. Because I was a blonde young woman, I had neigh-sayers who said I couldn’t do it, that I would fail within my first year, etc. but have proved them wrong. There have been a million small struggles and moments I wanted to give up, but the joy and fun of what I get to do has outweighed them.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Top Billing Entertainment Performance Academy – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
We are the home of tetra threat performers (we have the copyright on the term) who sing, act, dance and play at least one instrument. We specialize in professional musical theater productions staring kids and are known for our awesome teachers. I am most proud of how much our teachers love and nurture their students. We work with special needs kids to the Broadway bound. We currently have SAG actors who take class with us and a few alumni on Broadway. But no matter where our students are headed in life, we strive to give them training and performance opportunities which they will always treasure.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love having a business in the Village of Glendora as we are the center of the community here, but as most of the businesses here are not child-centered, it has taken years to get them to include us in the Glendora Village events. We were excited they are finally letting us help coordinate and lead community events here.
- Private Lessons start at $30 per half hour
- Group Classes start at $50 per month
- Musical Theater Productions starts at $75 per month
- Address: 165 N. Glendora Ave.
Glendora, CA 91741
- Website: www.topbillingent.org
- Phone: 626-963-1300
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/topbillingentertainment/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TopBillingEnt/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/Top_Billing_Ent
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/top-billing-entertainment-performance-academy-glendora-4
- Other: https://www.youtube.com/user/TopBillingInc
David Ivy of Ivy Unlimited