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Meet Stella Reynolds of Stellar Dance Studio in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Stella Reynolds.

Stella, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I have been dancing since I was three years old in Tbilisi, Georgia. I formally trained in the technique of ballet, and I loved to dance. It was all I could think about, and I could not wait to get to the studio to practice. By the age of 10, my practice paid off as I performed in the Nutcracker and other major ballet productions.

When I was eleven, I moved to Russia where I trained under Polyakova, who was a true inspiration. This is when I realized I wanted to teach dance and inspire children like my teacher inspired me. By 12, I was well on my way to achieving my dream by assisting my dance teacher. When I turned 18, I began studying at the Russian University of Culture and Arts where I found a pre-teen dance company called Avenue that performed in city events, festivals, and fundraisers, large and small. I continued to run Avenue while performing in different dance companies in Russia. My next move would change everything.

I married and moved to the United States in 2006. My marriage and move were exciting. You could probably guess that my first dance at my wedding was not a problem for me. I had been practicing for it my whole life! When I moved to the United States, I kept on moving and studying dance. I studied and danced many styles such as jazz, hip-hop, lyrical, and contemporary through professional college and dance centers in the United States.

My teaching experience in the United States was varied and extensive. While keeping my dream in mind of opening my own dance studio, I continued to teach in youth dance studios and schools. Having lived in Hollywood since I came to the United States, I realized just how many children had the same dreams I had seen as a youth: to dance and teach dance one day. In 2014, I visioned my dream of opening a boutique dance studio where I could be that inspirational teacher that pushed others to achieve their dreams.

With a small budget and big dreams, my small, yet charming Stellar Dance Studio had twelve students in our first enrollment. However, that did not stop us from growing. In our first year, we put on a musical production with forty children, ran five successful summer camps, and hosted seven birthday parties. To me, this was dance elation in its purest form.

From there, Stellar Dance Studios continued to grow. We expanded our offerings, entered national dance competitions, enrolled more students, had more birthday parties, and placed more students in productions. Through all my experiences in dance, from  dancing as a three-year-old to now opening Stellar Dance Studios, one constant keeps me dreaming big: seeing my students achieve their goals and shine on stage. I look forward to doing this for years to come in the West Hollywood Community and beyond.

Has it been a smooth road?
I had to start all over in US when I moved here 10 years ago. I did not speak English. Language was one of the hardest obstacles to overcome. In order to achieve my goals, I went to study full-time at college. At that time, my son was only 2 weeks old. 8 months later, I also started my own dance classes for children. I finished with a dance and architecture degree but I had to make a choice between the two. The little ones won- I could not give up teaching! With very little money, I started to look for the right place in Hollywood to continue inspire children to dance. In June of 2014, I began the renovation of Stellar Dance Studio by ripping 70’s carpet and scratching silicon off the windows of a very old office space. With support of my close friends and community, I put together a bright and cozy studio and since then have welcomed children as young as 18-month-old to pre-teens. Before the second anniversary of the studio, due to a family break up, I was nearly about to close Stellar Dance Studio. I had to work three times as hard.

Nonetheless, I persevered. I believe in fairy tales and like many of these stories, mine too ends happily. My inspiration and motivation- my studio- saved me and flourished in its third year.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Stellar Dance Studio story. Tell us more about the business.
As a child, I dreamed of owning a boutique dance studio where young dancers could fulfill their dreams to dance like no one was watching. A place where children would feel safe to explore dance as both a playful experience and, eventually, a competitive one where they could learn the meaning of hard work and persistence. I was fortunate enough to fulfill this dream in 2014, and the community quickly supported my boutique because of the ideals I founded it on.

Stellar Dance Studios offers a safe, inviting, and supportive place for children from as young as 18 months to high school to learn and enjoy dancing and eventually become competitive dancers. Thus, Stellar Dance Studios, located in West Hollywood, offers recreational, competitive, and private dance options for its students. We focus on technique first, as a solid foundation. This is extremely important to building a solid dance experience. We then build on that technique by teaching improvised dance, dance styles, dance creativity, and more. Whether you are looking for your child to have some fun and learn something new or to have them perfect themselves in the art of a certain style, we are the studio for you. My dream of a small boutique school is now alive to help little girls, like my younger self, dream and achieve their goals in dance and life as well as learn important life lessons through the discipline of dance.

Stellar Dance Studios is more than just a place to learn dance. On Sundays, we turn our studio inside out and transform into a magical land where pirates, princesses, rock stars, mermaids, and * many other magical creatures come to life. Our studio becomes an immersive birthday party experience that children remember. You choose the theme and we do the rest of the work, including the party dances. After all, who doesn’t want to dance at a birthday party!

Stellar Dance Studios knows that children have school breaks, including holidays, springs breaks and summer breaks. And we realize that these are opportunities to allow children to experience the magic of dance in an intense, fun dance experience all day long. Thus, we hold dance camps and holiday camps that offer an opportunity for your child to relax, experience the joy of dancing, acting, singing, and creative art with highly trained and experienced dance professionals! Plus, these camps offer an exciting opportunity for your child to build self-efficacy and make lasting friendships. Need private lessons during school breaks? We have those too! Contact us to learn more!

Stellar Dance Studios are named Stellar for a reason. That is because we are also a competitive dance studio. We believe that any child who has an interest to compete and reach the highest levels of their dance ability can and should pursue that dream. Thus, we have group and private classes to help children soar and reach beyond their highest heights. Our competitive dance classes and lessons teach jazz, hip-hop, ballet and other styles so that our students have the versatility to succeed in a variety of competitions at the highest level.

At Stellar Dance Studios, we also recognize the importance of a cumulative experience. No matter what the dance level of the students, they can showcase their skills and experience the thrill of performing in front of a crowd. There is no better way to do this than our year-end musical productions. Our annual dance show “Shine On” allows the students to see what it takes to *participate in a show. Therefore, if one day  they decide to dance in a high school musical or on Broadway, they will be well prepared! Plus, we realize there is nothing more exciting than when parents, friends, and families of the children can come see what they have been working on for weeks at a time!

We take performing in front of an audience beyond our showcase for family; we provide opportunities for our youth to perform outside of the studio. This includes musicals, community events, and festivals. Nothing says dance like bowing to the cheers of the crowd at the end of a performance knowing the sweat and effort it took to get to that point! That is the kind of experience and joy for dance we aim to provide at Stellar Dance Studios.

We specialize in 3 dance styles: Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop. We are known for our small group classes and family-like environment. Our creative teaching approach and motivational sticker charts for little ones are incorporated within technical ballet classes, challenging Hip-Hop classes, and Jazz classes for 8 & up. This balanced curriculum celebrates recreational and supports competitive dancing.

We are proud of many happy smiles and inspiration that we constantly give to our students. We are also very proud of their achievements and with the fact that we prepare our students for national competitions in a short amount of time. I believe what sets us apart is that we offer small group classes and have an individual approach with all of our students. We are a small family like dance studio boutique that has structure, form, astrong curriculum, and a supportive environment.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Yes, we are planning to expand and open our second location. We are looking forward to grow. We will be adding a new dance and acro program. We will be giving back to schools as well. We volunteer at various schools and intend to offer free shows to students of local schools and help with dance enrichment programs in the near future.

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Image Credit:
Silent Music Photography

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