By Kayleigh Rahn
Maddy Allen, of Hume, has a passion for dance.
And with her creativity as her driving force, the 19 year old has created Miss Maddy’s Dance Studio–located at 107 W. South Central Ave. Tuscola–that will welcome area children to learn, not only the basics a dance, but a love for it, as well.
Allen has dreamed of opening a studio for about six years, since she was 13 years old at Shiloh schools, where dance wasn’t offered as a Tri-County cooperative student activity until her freshman year.
“I made the first team and fell in love with it,” she said. “Since then I continued to dance and started teaching my self on the internet. I think I was hooked after my first performance. Feeling that energy and seeing the audience’s faces really did it for me.”
Allen advanced in technique and skill by self-teaching with YouTube. She was introduced to YouTube as a dance resource when her coaches would send exercises and sequences to the team via links to the website to allow the dancers to practice at home.
“I noticed that the related videos listed below would teach new techniques and other basics, so I just kept clicking,” she said. “I really just wanted to learn more.”
By her senior year of competition team, Allen found her love of teaching dance with a studio in Paris, Ill. Following graduation, Allen continued her coaching and found roles in two separate studios in the Paris area.
“I eventually realized that I really wanted to do my own studio, so I quit both studios, started working two jobs, and put all my focus into starting this,” she said looking around the studio.
And at 19, Allen is a business owner and soon to be self-made dance instructor.
The studio is in the midst of an overhaul to accommodate the studio. She has given personality to the receiving room, and is working hard to complete the dance floor and the parent waiting room.
An open house is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 17. Allen has invited the community to visit the studio space and register students for fall classes. Allen will take dancers from 2-18 years old who are interested in hip-hop, jazz, and ballet. Fall classes will begin Tuesday, Sept. 3 and will close in mid-December with a recital.
The class schedule will be set following registration. For more information contact Allen at 217-251-7827.
The 2-5-year-old class will cover basics in the three areas of hip-hop, jazz, and ballet, while the older age categories will be split into focused genres. Competition dance teams will be on the horizon as Allen finds her footing in her new business.
“I’ve met a lot of interesting people through competition,” she said. “One of the judges from a last year’s competition cycle was a back up dancer for Lady Gaga. He gave me a really nice compliment and called me a choreography guru. I feel choreography comes really natural to me. I’ve been told I’m good at hip-hop, but if I had to choose one I like the most it would be lyrical or ballet, because I feel you can say more with it and get across a message.”
Allen doesn’t expect each student to become a career dancer, but she hopes to help each dancer find a creative outlet and a lifelong love.
“It’s not that I care that much that they go any where with it,” she said. “I just hope they learn to love dance and make friends along the way. I’ve made most of my friends through dance, and it’s been an amazing experience.”