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Devoted to Dance

Legacy School of Dance families agree: They love Legacy for the caring instructors and the studio's stress-free family feel

Article by Mary Ellin Arch

Photography by Hunter Henkel, Hunter Henkel Photography

Originally published in Midlothian Lifestyle

Ask a girl why she dances, and you’ll get a range of answers.

Outgoing Taylor says dance makes her happy, “happier than my birthday.” Quiet Charlotte is drawn to dance “as a way to express myself without having to talk to people.” Charlotte’s sister, Cate, likes how dance class encourages friendships with girls from other schools she’d otherwise never meet. Little Gabby says dance “allows me to be physical and look pretty doing it.” Her sister, Jordyn, says dance “has helped me become more structured, disciplined and confident in my schoolwork. I’m physically, mentally and emotionally balanced because of dance.”

Now, ask why these girls dance at Legacy School of Dance specifically, and their responses are strikingly aligned.

“The instructors are always there for you, like a second mom,” said Ava Brace, 13, a Robious Middle student in her fifth year at Legacy.

“You’ll never hear them say, ‘Go out there and win.’ They say, “Have fun,” said Abby Morris, 15, a Monacan High student in her fifth year at Legacy. “They’ll never put you in a program you wouldn’t enjoy.”

“The teachers try to make sure you’re happy and comfortable,” said Taylor, 13, a Providence Middle student who has danced for 10 years. “You feel like you can tell them anything.”

“This is a place to get the stress off your mind,” said Jordyn Adkins, 14, a Steward School student in her third year at Legacy. Little sister Gabby, 8, in her third year of dance, concurred: “If you’re playing a sport, they go hard on you. In dance they want you to learn but they don’t go hard on you.”

The girls’ moms echoed the praise for Legacy’s instructors and the family atmosphere created by co-owners Kimberly Ligatti, artistic director, and Mary Farr-Maynard, business manager.

Abby’s mom, Susan Morris, specifically chose Legacy after a disappointing experience at another studio.

“My daughter wasn’t having fun there,” Susan said. “We interviewed several studios. This was the most grounded, down-to-earth, realistic place. … The girls trust their instructors, and you know they’re happy here.” She added that she appreciates that the studio offers constructive feedback, on dance and life topics.  

Jordyn and Gabby’s mother, Tarsha Adkins, shared that Jordyn danced for years at another studio, but now prefers Legacy. “They don’t put their dancers in a box; they treat them as dancers,” she said. “And the dance moms here are amazing. I haven't met one dance mom here who isn’t truly supportive.”

Legacy, at 2441 Colony Crossing Place in Midlothian, teaches ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical and tap for ages 2 through adult. More than a dozen instructors, all with higher-level dance education and some with professional experience, lead the classes, which serve about 1,000 girls, boys and adults (some taking multiple classes).

All the moms said Legacy instructors see the dancers holistically, coaching them not only on dance but also on school, social pressures, and their futures.

“Instructors have truly made this place feel like family. They are dance teacher, mother and therapist,” said Ava’s mother, Jenn Brace. “They also instruct them in life, helping them through difficult times and to navigate things like social media.” Ava added, “They pretty much gave us a talk on every girl teenage topic ever.”

The moms also praised Kim and Mary for the studio’s efficient operation.

“Mary is so pleasant and makes it so easy,” said C.C. Eakes, mother of Charlotte, 14, who attends Robious Middle, and Cate, 10, who attends Bon Air Elementary. “She helps you sign up and takes the stress away in matters of scheduling and payments.” Charlotte and Cate have danced for nine and seven years, respectively.

“Kim is, like, bionic. She’s the main mom; she’s unmatched,” said Cyreeta Price, Taylor’s mom. “Kim tells you everything, especially last-minute changes. There are no surprises. We know well in advance what’s going to happen and when.”

Jenn commended Kim for her ability to work with “so many girls and their personalities,” and for keeping classes going during COVID. Girls noted that instruction continued via online platforms until the studio could safely reopen, and the moms expressed satisfaction with the studio’s COVID precautions.

“I felt safe here during COVID,” Cyreeta said. “It’s a clean environment.”

The owners said they’re humbled by the praise.

“Starting Legacy was a dream come true, but I never knew the impact it would have on so many students and families,” said Kim. “It's our goal to be a special part of their village – an additional support system that talks them through life lessons and cheers them on.”

“We've been blessed to have the support of so many wonderful families,” said Mary. “Our Legacy families truly are the best!"

legacyschoolofdance.com

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