Back in 2014, Stephanie Staniforth used to rent out the basement of a church to teach dance classes.
Now, more than 10 years later, the founder of Elements Dance Co. has just moved into their permanent home in northeast Airdrie while celebrating a full decade of dance and hard work.
“Being in business so long — you are not without challenges,” Staniforth says.
“There’s something about the community here in Airdrie that just helps you through the hard times and celebrates with you during the good times. I can’t picture being anywhere else.”
ONE STEP AT A TIME
Staniforth’s love for dance started at the age of 13, an unexpected turn for someone who grew up playing hockey. It was a passion for ballet that led her to pursue dance full-time and eventually earned her a Bachelor of Fine Arts at York University, followed by a teaching program at Canada’s National Ballet School.
“I grew up playing hockey, so it was a bit of a surprise for everyone around me when I wanted to start ballet,” says Staniforth.
“But I fell in love with it right away and never looked back.”
Elements Dance offers classes starting at the ages of 18 months up to adult classes. Its extensive course list offers a variety of dance programs like ballet, tap, jazz and musical theatre. Recently, the studio even added an aerial program to its list of classes.
“I just want as many people as possible to experience the freedom that comes with dance,” says Staniforth.
KEEP THE FAITH
Having a business for more than decade hasn’t been without its fair share of ups and downs.
The COVID-19 pandemic posed many hurdles for Staniforth, who found comfort in other local dance studios in Airdrie.
“The dance community in Airdrie is a really vibrant community, and definitely a community that is growing rapidly,” says Staniforth.
“There is some really really great camaraderie between myself and the other dance studio owners in Airdrie. We communicate regularly and kind of work together.”
About 3,000 students have been a part of Elements Dance programs over the years, and it currently serves nearly 500 students.
“Now we are bigger than ever, and I really owe a lot of that to this great community we have in Airdrie,” says Staniforth.
“We have big plans for the future, and, from what we’ve accomplished in the last decade, I think is a testament to the power of passion, dedication and the transformative nature of dance in a community.”