Owner of Star Bound Dance Company, Kendra Phillips, has dedicated almost two decades of her life to helping create not just talented dancers but well-rounded human beings.

“I strive to make sure that our dancers not only get a dance education but a life education,” she says.

“We encourage our students to hold themselves to the highest standards and promote teamwork, friendship and kindness.”

She said dancing teaches children so much more than how to move.

“(Children learn) discipline, to never give up, teamwork, camaraderie, goal making, follow through, dedication and self-discipline,” she says.

Lisa Brade’s son has danced at the studio for five years and she says Phillips has made a measurable impact on his life through her incredible dedication.

“Our son has been mentored by Miss Kendra as she has a heart to see a male dancer in a small town grow and develop,” says Brade.

“She recognizes the challenges and has helped shape the way for him.”

Phillips says she’s not necessarily trying to create a culture where male dancers are accepted, but one where all dancers are equal and being male is not notable at all.

“Jude is definitely at the forefront in our studio in that he has set a standard of acceptance by simply being who he is,” she says.

“I am inspired by him every day, not because he is a boy dancing, but because he is a dancer who loves what he does and has his mind and heart set on pursing that.”

Phillips currently teaches 13 male dancers in the studio, including her son.