It’s been a big year for Dance It Up with Music. The studio, on Route 33 in Hamilton, just celebrated its 10th year of dance, music, and positive life lessons that separate it from other studios, and that along the way have made a genuine difference in the lives of not just those who study there.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Dance It Up with Music launched its long-anticipated scholarship program, Believe in the Dream, for the studio’s graduating seniors. Studio owner Jennifer Chin credits her sister, Brianna Chin, with helping kickstart the scholarship program, which will support the seniors in their first step into their college-bound journey.
Dance It Up with Music also celebrated by continuing to raise money for local charities through its Charity of Choice Program. This past year the studio raised more than $5,800 for Joey’s Little Angels, a Hamilton-based charity that helps children with Hurler’s syndrome. The school also participated in events for the First Day of School Foundation, HomeFront, Breast Cancer Awareness, and Alex’s Lemonade, to mention just a few.
Chin and her staff also put together the ultimate Broadway experience for students: a trip to New York City to meet with the cast of “Aladdin” and ask the dancers questions. “The cast was so generous with their time and their knowledge,” Chin says. “They were in lock-step with our philosophy: You don’t have to be competitive. It’s about hard work, morals, ethics, and integrity.” The experience was so good that Dance It Up with Music is planning to do it again this year, visiting the cast of “Stomp” and the Radio City Rockettes.
Moreover, the Broadway dancers emphasized something Chin and her staff relentlessly teach their dancers ‒‒ that education is paramount, and that it’s not all about just dancing. Says Chin: “Make your work ethic stronger than your want ethic.” And the kids got exactly that lesson from professional Broadway dancers. “We tell the kids that all the time,” she says. “But sometimes when it comes from somewhere else, it really makes an impact.”
Dance It Up with Music is not your average dance and music studio. Here, life lessons are that giving and integrity and hard work trump any trophy or perfect pirouette. For her, it’s about building the right culture, one that’s positive and makes a difference in the community. “I can teach anybody to dance,” Chin says. “I can teach anybody to teach. But our focus is on creating strong leaders and good people.”
More than the arts, Dance It Up with Music teaches determination, motivation, self-confidence, discipline, time management, generosity, and respect for yourself and your peers. As her mentor Misty Lown says: “We don’t teach kids to make great dancers; We teach dance to make great kids.”
Dance It Up with Music, 1800 Route 33, Suite 101A, Hamilton Square. 609-581-0808. www.danceitupstudios.com. See ads, pages 15 and 17.