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Meet Liz Vacco of Petite Feet Dance in East Side

Today we’d like to introduce you to Liz Vacco.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My background is in both dance and theater and I always love to pull from both of these artistic disciplines in my performance and my teaching. While running and performing with an interdisciplinary performance company in New York starting in 2000, I also began teaching dance, theater and yoga to kids. After several years teaching through a couple programs in NYC, enough parents had requested that I record my class so their children could practice at home that I decided it was time to take the plunge. I made my first Petite Feet video knowing it might be the one and only. But three years later, I realized the second and shortly thereafter the third. Along the way, I moved to LA and started offering classes on my own, classes that incorporated the same playful and inclusive approach to dance that also characterize the videos.

Has it been a smooth road?
I think making the decision to jump into things – both producing the videos and starting my own classes – proved challenging at times. Each decision involved some risk and trusting my instincts even when there were obstacles or unanticipated details to work out. I definitely second guessed myself along the way, but have always felt, in retrospect, that I made the right choices.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Petite Feet Dance – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Both my classes and videos introduce dance terminology and basic technique in playful and creative ways, seeking to connect movement exploration to every day learning. Storytelling, original and familiar songs, and imaginative games are incorporated to keep the atmosphere fun, friendly and age-appropriate – and to keep the emphasis on the promotion of self-esteem and self-expression. Both my background in theater and my current graduate studies in education inform how I approach dance instruction in a way that makes it accessible to all children.

I love that I have students who start with the program at age two and continue through until age eight (which is currently the oldest age for which I offer classes). It allows me to foster strong relationships with those students and their families and to see them grow in terms of both skill acquisition and expressivity. That feels like a very tight community.

On the end of things, I love that I get emails from people who have purchased my videos and who are so grateful to have dance instruction for their children because they live in remote areas where dance classes are not offered. This feels like a larger community and I am proud to be able to have that kind of reach while staying true to my vision and values.

Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I think LA is filled with creativity. I bought into the stereotype that this would not be the case when I moved from New York. So I guess LA has surprised me in that respect.

I feel the cost of living is getting a bit out of hand. And I fear, with that, that the city will lose some of its creative types, as well as diversity in its population.

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