Studio B Dance Center opens in Silverthorne
October 29, 2016
A small welcome mat at the front of Studio B Dance Center reads "check your ego at the door."
The laid-back feeling of the studio radiates from the bright room to its co-owners Jess Belflower and Lauren Hitchell. The laughter and goofiness coming from the pair is contagious, and for them, Studio B is so much more than an opportunity to teach Summit County adults how to dance — it is a chance to build a community.
"We're in a young adults crowd and everyone just goes out and drinks. There has to be more to do than ski and drink in this town, so we can dance," Belflower said.
Both Belflower and Hitchell separately moved to Summit County around the same time eight years ago. They met at Alpine Dance Academy, where they both taught classes. Hitchell was teaching hip-hop for kids, and it was at Alpine that she started the adult Booty Shakin' Friday classes, which she is still teaching at Studio B. Belflower has been teaching dance for the last 16 years, and Hitchell has been teaching for 12. Both noted that when they moved to Summit County there was a lack of options for adults to take classes.
"We can offer something that no body offers in the county," Hitchell said. "There was a niche and we made it happen, and we love dance. Dance is our passion and our life and we were like 'Well, if we can figure out how to make money while dancing, it'd be the perfect mesh of business and life.'"
Studio B Dance Center officially opened its doors on Aug. 17, and held a ribbon cutting and grand opening with the town of Silverthorne a month later. The town's Economic Development Advisory Committee awarded the owners a small business grant, which Hitchell said will go toward getting a sign for their building. She said that their location right off Blue River Parkway means that hundreds of people drive by regularly, but without a sign, people might not see them.
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"It's really important for us to have good visuals," Hitchell said. "We have our decals, which if you kind of have an idea of where we are, (they) will help, but if you don't know that we're here (they) don't do much."
For the most part, Belflower and Hitchell have been relying on word-of-mouth and Facebook to drive their business. Hitchell said that her Booty Shakin' class has a group on Facebook with more than a hundred people, which has been bringing some people in to the studio. One of their newest classes, Movin' Mountain Mamas, was a surprise hit and had several Summit County moms come in to take a class with their babies.
In addition to classes, Studio B offers private lessons and parties. Brides-to-be can bring their best gal pals in for bachelorette parties, and later learn first dance choreography at the studio.
Both Belflower and Hitchell have extensive backgrounds as performers, choreographers and instructors. Belflower started working with Dancing with the Mountain Stars four years ago, and became their principal coach two years ago. Hitchell also became a coach with the charity event.
In order to test out the new studio, this reporter dropped in for the Wednesday night Booty Barre class at 7:15. I'm no dancer, but I have taken ballet and swing as an adult. I was confident going in, but my body was in for a wake up call since it's been over a year since I had taken any dance classes.
Belflower was teaching that night, and got the small group started right away with a short warm up. I was still feeling pretty good as we went through weights. I hardly ever do any workouts with my arms, and barre classes are a good way to start out.
But once the class transitioned to the barre, the real work started. Belflower powered through pliés and relevés before having us add a resistance band. During this class you will work leg muscles you didn't know you had, or in my case, I had forgotten about during my dance hiatus. My legs were shaking like Jell-o. But Belflower leads the class with encouragement, without being overpowering, which made the class push through with a smile — or at least I did, as I was laughing at my Jell-o legs. After barre, the class lays down for some core work before a quick cool down. A couple days later, I was still sore, but the class was well worth it.
The goal that Hitchell and Belfower want for Studio B is for people of any level to feel comfortable taking a class there, from a novice like myself to a professional just wanting some practice.
"What people want is they want to be able to come and dance, and have fun and get a workout at the same time," Belflower said. "You create these relationships with people in the county (and) it's priceless what you get out of it."
Studio B is located at 755 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne. In addition to Movin' Mountain Mamas, and Booty Shakin' Friday, they offer ballet, salsa, yoga, hip-hop and more. Class drop-ins start at $18, the studio also offer punch cards, memberships, or private lessons and parties. For a full schedule and list of prices, visit studiobsummit.com.
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