For Randi Kay Anthony, owner of Fusion Dance Center, teaching kids how to dance is about much more than perfecting a pirouette or mastering a leap.
“We’re trying to teach the kids to win with humility and lose with humility,” she said. “We want kids to respect themselves. We always just say that we’re trying to change the world one dancer at at time.”
Anthony has been teaching dance for 22 years. After finishing school, she pursued a brief professional career, dancing for companies in Chicago and Los Angeles. But she quickly discovered that she preferred working with kids in the studio over the dog-eat-dog world of professional dance.
“My heart is in teaching,” she said. “There’s so many things kids can learn from dance: responsibility, reliability, being part of team, organizational skills, time management. I feel like kids these days don’t have a lot of positive influences and school can be really difficult. I try to provide a place that’s a safe haven but also teaches work ethic and things like that.”
Fusion Dance Center first opened its doors 25 years ago, and Anthony worked at the studio as a teacher under the previous owner. Seven years ago, the previous owner decided to retire and handed the studio over to Anthony. Today, she is continuing to build upon the legacy of the studio and her predecessor.
Students travel from all over central Michigan to dance at Fusion Dance Center. At regional and national competitions, Anthony’s students consistently win scholarships and top prizes for choreography and performance. The secret, Anthony says, is having committed educators.
“One of the things that sets us apart from anybody else is that I’m very picky about who teaches for me,” she said “I don’t have a high turnover rate in teachers. We are very passionate about what we do. We’re not in it for the money. I think that comes through to your students.”
Her staff of nine dance teachers help support a growing roster of more than 150 dancers. The Fusion Dance Center team wants each dancer to get the most out of their classes, so they often pursue opportunities to expand their own dance and teaching skills.
“We all continue to learn from each other,” Anthony said. “We are constantly going to workshops, classes in New York, conventions, anything we can to further our educations.”
The teachers love to see students surpass their own expectations, Anthony says, and each teacher at the studio is committed to helping the dancers grow as athletes and as individuals.
“I love seeing kids accomplish something they didn’t think they could,” she said. “It’s so cool to see their excitement. Because that fuels them to want to keep going. Dance is not something that you can accomplish in a year. There’s always more turns. There’s always higher jumps. But to see them actually accomplish something and to see that expression on their face is priceless.”
Fusion Dance Center is located at 2168 N. Cedar St, Suite 2A in Holt, 517.755.9344, fusiondancecentermi.com.