Britt Burton, the 33-year-old owner/director of The Dance Studio took over the photo-filled downtown Bellingham studio five years ago from Wendy Setter, her mother and the company’s founder. Between mother and daughter, they have taught pretty much every variety of dance to thousands of youngsters from 3 to 18 for 37 years.
“One very special aspect is how our younger students are constantly watching and learning from the older students. They’re always helped along by our older students, inspiring a passion for dance with leadership and kindness,” Burton says.
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The annual June show at the Mount Baker Theatre. The show, which recently held its 37th version, features every student at the studio and every variety of dance – tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, contemporary, musicals and more. There are thousands of local scrapbooks with photos from this event.
“Each of our age-based classes gets the chance to perform their own dance,” Burton said. “Our staff of 12 instructors (including Burton) picks the dance theme and choreographs and teaches each performance.”
The youngest tap dancers get an extra reward at the annual extravaganza.
“This group (3- to 6-years-old) gets two dances,” Burton said. “The little kids (who also include a number of boys) love this.”
The ever-lively “Saving ChristmasTown” will be performed for the fifth year in December 2016 at the Mount Baker Theatre as the successor to The Dance Studio‘s version of “The Nutcracker.”
“I love writing this show,” said Burton. “We audition for this show with our students from kindergarten on up. The show lasts less than an hour and it’s man friendly and entertaining from beginning to end, with no opportunities to fall asleep. There are heroic elves, fairies, naughty elves, Santa Claus and even an oogie-boogie man.”
Students from The Dance Studio participate in both the annual Ski to Sea children’s parade and the grand parade.
“The kiddie parade is often the first time our children have marched in a parade,” said Setter. “They love feeling like little stars, getting to wave to family, friends and people they recognize. We hold a parade class for our students in the grand parade and they do a routine behind our float the whole way. And they have the best audience they could hope for.”
Every-other-year there is a July trip to Disneyland.
“We have 15 to 40 dancers go along with parents at a discount,” Burton said. “One highlight is when they get to dance down the famous Main Street as a group representing The Dance Studio.”