Our network of licensed Leap 'N Learn studios keeps growing, and everyone involved keeps us inspired. We know we attract studio owners who want the very best, and in return, we find ourselves in the very best relationships. Our pride for what we do and who we get to work with is enormous, and we want to share it with all of you through these featured Leap 'N Learn studio interviews.
A Quick Introduction: Steps of Faith Dance Studio is located in Lumberton, Texas. Lumberton is a thriving and growing town full of wonderful people who are very involved in their children’s lives. Steps of Faith is a Christian dance studio offering a faith based dance education.
- We’ve seen the success you have in your dance studio — fantastic work as that is not a small accomplishment! Tell us how did you get to where you are today professionally and what major stepping stones helped you along the way.
I am very thankful for how far Steps of Faith has come in 11 years. It is truly amazing to see what God has done. Our beginnings were very humble!
One of the major factors that contributed to our success has been the commitment to loving children and giving them our very best.
We also strive to improve every year. It is very important to us that we never stop learning and growing as dance educators, and as a dance family.
- There are so many things that time and experience teach us, and we wish we could’ve learned some of these things earlier. What is the most valuable piece of advice you could share with someone starting off in a similar career?
The best and most honest advice I can give anyone is PRAY, and not just pray, but pray a lot. Working with children is very rewarding, but also very challenging. I believe that in order to be truly successful we all need wisdom, knowledge, and understanding that is beyond our own human nature.
Also, I feel it is very important to be genuine. Truly care about students and their families.
- Congrats on being a licensed Leap 'N Learn studio! When did you first learn about Leap 'N Learn or start using it? Why and how did you get involved with our dance program? Finally, why did you decide to become a licensed studio?
I came across information on Leap 'N Learn many years ago while ordering materials from another website. I ordered what was available then which was curriculum for 3- to 6-year-olds. I fell in love with it instantly. It was superior in every way. It transformed and revolutionized my little ballet classes. All of a sudden there was wonderful structure and joy! As a former public school teacher, I loved the idea of following a set curriculum. It was also so in line with my ideals and philosophies of education. When I found out that Leap 'N Learn had expanded and licensing was being offered, I was ecstatic! I had to be a part of something that I had such great success with and that I believed in so whole-heartedly.
- What have been the most noticeable changes in your dance studio since applying Leap 'N Learn to what you do?
My favorite thing is that there is just pure joy in the early childhood dance classes! However, not only that, but the technique of the dancers who have been under Leap 'N Learn instruction for numerous years, is strong. I am very proud to see that. I can send my older students out in to the community and be proud of what they can do, and what they know of dance terminology and technique.
- What types of responses have you received about Leap 'N Learn from your dance teachers, students, or parents?
We have open house once a year. Parents come in and observe class. I normally get so much positive feedback. Parents tell me they are so surprised at HOW MUCH we are teaching them in class. This is a wonderful feeling!
- How do you go about adding your own ideas and fitting your studio needs into the Leap 'N Learn curriculum and lesson plans — or vice-versa, how do you apply Leap 'N Learn to what you already do?
At this point, with the revised and expanded Leap 'N Learn curriculum, I am trying to follow it as closely as possible. I have found it to be very thorough and complete and not really in need of a lot of modification.
- In our opinion, there is no better place to work than in the dance world, but often times the hard work required to keep a studio running smoothly stays hidden behind the scenes. What do you find most challenging; how do you best handle such challenges?
The most challenging thing for me was trying to handle parts of the business that I cared very little about, like the student accounts and billing, payroll, ordering dance wear and costumes, etc. I was thankfully able to hire fabulous people who take care of all of that for me! What a joy to be able to focus on my true love and passion… being in the classroom with the students. It is wonderful when you can surround yourself with people that you trust, so that you can focus on what you are really called to do. This is a major blessing. Delegate!
- What gives you the most joy in your job?
I receive the most joy when I am making children happy. To have a class full of smiling, giggling, laughing little children who are learning at the same time… it doesn’t get any better than that in my book!
- If you had to choose only one of your favorite aspects of Leap 'N Learn, what would it be and why?
I love the pretend play aspect that is a huge part of Leap 'N Learn. We get to be mermaids, flowers, kangaroos, rockets, flamingos, etc. We rock our babies to sleep, march in a marching band, move like ocean life and so much more! What child wouldn’t love such opportunities? Furthermore, in the midst off all the fun, they are receiving instruction in ballet that provides them a firm and solid foundation.
- Anything else you’d like to share with dance studio owners and teachers, or perhaps to Leap 'N Learn students and their parents?
Leap 'N Learn is fabulous. I truly believe in the superiority of this program. There is nothing else that can hold a candle to it. Beverly Spell is so creative and truly amazing. Annie Spell is brilliant. The two of them together have developed something unique and special. I am honored to be a part of it.
We want to give a big thanks to Julie Bridges for sharing her time and for the insight about running a dance studio and using Leap 'N Learn. She even sent us all the adorable photos below of one of her Leap 'N Learn dance classes — doesn't it look like fun?!
Steps of Faith Dance Studio families are blessed to have a place where they can send their children for a solid, faith-based dance education. If you live in or know people in the Lumberton, Texas area, please check out Steps of Faith Dance Studio.
Tell Julie hello, thank her for her responses, congratulate her on her success, or ask her questions by leaving a comment below.
P.S. Licensed Leap 'N Learn studios, your exclusive "B Side" of Julie's interview is posted on the member site. Be sure to read the more in-depth version with added questions and tips!