“When I dance, it feels like I’m soaring through the clouds,” beamed 9-year-old Addison Collins, a dancer with Artistic Dance Unlimited.
Collins isn’t the only one beaming at Artistic Dance Unlimited. Owners Alette Chase and Ursula Margolis are ecstatic because, on July 25, they will celebrate the opening of their new facility with a ribbon cutting and open house.
Since June of 2000 when they rented a 1,900 square foot studio in Walnut Square ADU has been a fixture in Blount County. That first year, they had 95 students. For three years, students were taught ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and modern dance in one classroom studio. Then, as enrollment increased, Chase and Margolis moved the business to Gill Street, a 4,800 square-feet facility with three studio classrooms.
Now, they are looking forward to their next move to 314 Gill Street where the paint is still drying on the renovated 7,800 square-feet former auto parts building. ADU now has four studio classrooms and six instructors to meet the needs of more than 300 students. By popular demand, they have also expanded the classes to offer hip-hop, contemporary and ballroom dancing in addition to the traditional disciplines.
“This studio can enhance their learning,” Chase said. She said they can offer more classes to meet the needs of each student, both girls and boys who range in age from 3 years old to adults.
In addition to the dance classes, ADU students can audition for the different dance companies. The companies are age-specific and include the Mini-Company, Junior, Intermediate and Senior Company.
Chase said the dancers share their talent and perform at community events. In addition to winning numerous competitions, the dance companies have also participated in the Foothills Fall Festival, the Christmas parade, the Festival of Trees and the Miss Knoxville pageant, to name a few.
“The dance companies are an asset to the community,” Chase said.
Chase said that God gave them a dance studio because both Chase and Margolis each have two sons. They consider the dancers as their girls, and they said it is an honor to be able to mentor and encourage them.
“It’s very rewarding to participate in their lives and see how the girls are maturing. Lessons they learn here can carry them into adulthood,” said Margolis, who added that some of the students have been taking classes since the studio’s beginning in 2000. From performances, dancers gain confidence and, by working hard each class, they learn discipline, she said.
Chase and Margolis met when they were both dance instructors in Knoxville. “We have similar training and experiences and we clicked on ideas and ideals,” said Chase, who added that they started the studio in Maryville because they felt they could fill a need in the area. They chose their central location because students come from Knoxville, Greenback, Friendsville and other local areas, Chase said.
New classes at ADU begin on Aug. 11 and follow the school year. To meet the staff of ADU and tour the new facility, attend the open house on July 25 from 5:30 to 9 p.m.