My business is a studio that is both a conservatory as well as a therapeutic environment. We provide dance lessons for neuro typical youth who want to be in a non competitive environment to focus on the art and technique of dance. We also provide therapeutic classes for children and young adults that may need additional support whether that be physical or emotional.

At Unique Steps Dance Academy, we strive to provide high quality dance classes for children and adults in a non-competitive, socially aware environment. We believe that arts education enriches the lives of students and their families, and builds community through cultural awareness. Our students will become technically proficient, build self-esteem, learn to collaborate, and develop leadership skills, all while enjoying themselves.

We believe in fostering positive self-esteem and self-awareness through our programs by building our dancers up, not tearing them down. It is an important focus of all of our programming that participants leave feeling good about themselves.

Unique Steps operates in a physical location, and we started using some of the government grants as well as other funds that help non-profits. As there are many options out there for women-owned businesses to help them get started. Learn more on free business grants for women owned businesses.

I decided to start the business because I saw a deficit in the studio world. Many studios focus on dance competitions, which is fine, but does not carry on the art and actual lineage of dance. Also that type of training is not always about technical proficiency and most folks find themselves going to a ballet company to train but if ballet is not a dancer’s first love they often quit. So I wanted to create a conservatory that focuses on the art of dance in the primary areas of technique so that we could create more artists for the community as well as well rounded people. I also saw a deficit in programming for young people who needed additional support mentally or physically and I love that we have created a space where these two things can coexist.

Melissa’s story
I started Unique Steps under the premise that everyone can dance and that our dance studio should be a safe place for our dancers to feel loved and build their confidence. I came from a professional dance background and found that the environment was often toxic and wanted to be able to share the art of dance in a loving environment that builds young people up rather than tearing them down. We focus on proper technique and artistry while empowering our dancers to keep growing as artists and people.

I also felt there was a deficit in programs available to young people with disabilities whether that be physical, cognitive, or emotional. As a licensed mental health therapist as well as dance therapist, I felt that a program geared towards helping children and young adults with autism, cerebral palsy, down syndrome, or even anxiety was important to help them feel included and also to show them that they CAN. I am proud to say we have created a safe space for these participants so that their parents can let them independently participate in an activity without them having to do it too.

We are a teaching program also so we take interns from local colleges to help show them what we are about. Two of my former interns have developed their own therapeutic programs inside of their studios and I love to see that duplicating.

We are a non competitive studio and focus on community based performance to bring the joy and love of the art of dance to the community.

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