By Vivian Collings
The bonds created by a shared love of dance will remain strong in the Highlands thanks to the opening of Skyline Dance Studio.
The not-for-profit studio was dreamed about by the parents of Haliburton Dance Academy dancers after they learned of the closing of the studio.
“In May 2022, I found out my daughter’s local dance studio was closing, and I said to my husband, I either need to buy a bus or open a dance studio here in Haliburton County. Either way, these kids needed to stay together.’ I instinctively knew I could lead a project such as this, and I knew there would be immense support to keep dance local. So far, the support has far exceeded my greatest hope,” said executive director of Skyline Dance Studio Allison Cox.
The studio will be located at 229 Highland Street between Castle Antiques and Pet Value and will feature three large studios and other common spaces for dancers and their families to use.
Cox worked with the Haliburton County Development Corporation to decide what type of business the studio should be, and they decided on a not-for-profit organization.
“We want everything we pour into this studio to be reinvested in the studio, and we want to be sure this is a legacy that can be carried on for years to come,” Cox said.
Sarah Garbutt is part of the board of women who organized the studio, and her daughter, Rayah, is a dancer.
“Rayah can’t go one second without dancing, and she was thrilled when she was told about this plan. She even told me she was proud of me and the other moms,” Garbutt said. “The studio is where she feels safe, and she will go through public and high school and life changes with all of these kids, and they have a special bond.”
The studio currently has a board of eight local women who bring a variety of experience to the table.
“Some own and run businesses, some work in non-profits, some work for local businesses, and many have experience sitting on other not-for-profit boards in Haliburton County. It is a great blend of experience coming together with passion and dedication to accomplish this goal. Beyond this group, we have dozens of community members, individuals, and businesses that have offered support with time, money, and materials,” Cox said.
The studio is developing portfolios of their dance teachers and will be announcing them in the next few weeks.
“We are doing this for our community and the families of Haliburton County. Dance is so important for kids. Not only is it good for physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being, but it also creates amazing friendships and instills a sense of community that will last a lifetime,” Cox said.
The studio will offer ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, acro, tap, musical theatre, lyrical, contemporary, and power and grace dance classes for ages two to 18 years old, and registration will open in August. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to their list. Classes begin in October.
“The importance [of this studio] to me is knowing there is a place for my daughter and the other kids to dance. Thinking we may have had to go out of town was not an option. We have to teach our kids to also be involved within the community and go to events and teach them to be amazing humans,” Garbutt said.