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Growth and Character Building Through the Art of Dance

Fostering Community, Creativity, and Leadership Development for Kids Through Dance at Bellevue Performing Art Center

For dance teacher and owner of Bellevue Performing Arts Center (BellePAC) Jennifer Kubik, dance played a pivotal role in her development growing up. But it wasn’t only the actual dance technique as a child that she remembers fondly, but also the community she found within dance that was an integral part of her childhood.

“I started dancing when I was five years old and as a child my family moved around a lot, so dance studios became like my second home,” shares Kubik. “So, for me, that’s something that I want to continue for the next generation. I want them to have a safe place where they feel welcome and open to be creative and just be true to themselves.”

Kubik and her family have lived in the Nashville area since 2007, where she has taught at a variety of different dance studios. But when her family moved to Bellevue in 2017, they finally found a dance home when her daughter began taking lessons at the Bellevue Dance Center.

“In 2020 the former owner posted that she was going to close and that just hurt my heart,” she explains of the studio that has now become Bellevue Performing Arts Center. “They have been a staple in the community for over 20 years, so I decided even in the midst of a pandemic that this was worth holding on to. We bought it in August of 2020 and we’ve been going strong since.”

While many dance studios can be heavily immersed in a high-pressure, competitive environment, with teams that travel far distances for competitions, Kubik’s studio is focused on fostering the love of the art and the community that comes from dance.

“We do have a performance company [but] they don’t compete,” she explains. “They’re the ones that we take out into the community for events [including the farmers market, Bellevue Picnic and other events].

With classes ranging in ages from three-year-olds to adults, a wide variety of types of dance are offered at BellePAC. The traditional style studio is in partnership with the YMCA’s Bellevue location and uses those facilities to hold its classes there.

Dancers as young as three-years-old can focus on ballet, tap, and creative movement and grow into the Fundamentals program—for students ages five to nine—where they can continue ballet and tap, but can also incorporate jazz. The next level is their Leadership program for older youth, which provides the option for students to choose from classes including ballet, tap, contemporary, and hip hop.

“We also started a theater program so that is something they can do around age nine or 10,” says Kubik. “So, with that they would be learning acting technique, taking vocal lessons, and some movement for theater, which is like a stylized jazz.”

In addition to helping children learn social skills and form community and friendships, dance also benefits kids by helping develop coordination, strengthening memory skills, and promoting movement and fun. While focusing on teaching proper dance technique and having fun is a priority at BellePAC, Kubik and the other teachers at the studio also concentrate on instilling leadership in their curriculum. Each month they select a different topic that they focus on for five minutes of each class. These topics include character-building subjects such as discipline, goal setting, and integrity.

“We have 12 different topics that we touch on throughout the year, each month has a focus,” says Kubik. “All of our teachers have said ‘If it weren’t for dance, I wouldn’t be as hard of a worker at my job’ or ‘I wouldn’t have had the discipline to make it through college.’ Whatever their story is, it’s because of dance that instilled that in them, that they were able to push through or get that promotion, or whatever their situation may be. So, we are very passionate about not only dance but the other lessons that you learn through dance.”

BellePAC offers a weeklong trial where dancers ages three-years-old all the way up to adults can take as many different types of classes as they’d like for $19.99 to make sure the studio is a good fit for them or just to try something new.

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BellePAC will present Jill & The Beanstalk! on Sunday, August 6 at the Bellevue YMCA. Performances are at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. The show is an original work based on fairy tales and features children ages 9-17 who auditioned for parts earlier this summer. Crafted by BellePAC teachers, Billy Ditty and Melissa Becker, the enchanting musical weaves together beloved fairy tales to create a heartwarming story of growth, courage, and triumph.

"I want them to have a safe place where they feel welcome and open to be creative and ... true to themselves.”

  • Jennifer Kubik