A Thankful Parent (Wednesday, 30 November 2016 12:12)
Lillian's teacher sent me these pictures today (unable to post pictures here-Lillian's words were: "I am thankful for finding a new dance studio that knows me and loves me for who I am."). Evidently
they had their morning meeting and talked about being thankful. Then, the teacher sent them to their seats to individually think about something they were each thankful for. Lillian wrote about her
new dance family. This brought me to tears. I already knew I'd made the right choice for her, but this put it into writing. Thank you, and your teachers, for accepting and loving Lillian. I just
wanted you to know how happy she is there and how thankful I am for all that you and her other teachers do to help her love dance all over again. You are fostering a love of family there that is like
no other place I've seen.
(posted my permission of parent)
A Very Happy Parent (Wednesday, 01 June 2016 11:09)
I wanted to send a note to thank the entire staff at CDC for a great first year. You do so incredibly much that I am sure you take for granted. I wanted to detail out some things out that have made
such a difference in our lives. Please share our thanks with the other instructors at the studio.
1. You gave my child a chance. Sounds silly, right? But you did. You gave her a chance to fail and succeed.
2. You have gotten to know my child (the good and the bad) and you have treated her like a person. I see this so much in your daily interactions with her.
3. You have provided her so much respect and in turn that gives her the motivation to provide respect right back.
4. Of course…you provide amazing instruction. Amazing! My child has grown leaps and bounds this year.
5. Coaching – wow! You all have been amazing coaches for her. Encouraging her, motivating her, but at the same time giving her corrections, instructions, and needed direction. She needs corrections,
instructions, and direction. We all do – and you all provide it with such grace.
6. Health – this one is so incredibly mind boggling to me. My daughter is not a huge complainer so I have not heard a lot over the years about foot and knee pain. But you spotted issues and you
pulled me aside and recommended that we visit a doctor. I can’t even tell you what this means to me. To have you see an issue and let me know about it…that is such an incredible relief to me. I feel
like we have someone on our side. Someone who cares about the general well-being and health of my child.
7. This deserves its own number..the way you are there for the kids before and after each dance at the competitions. I know it has to be completely exhausting for you all. But I can’t tell you what
it means to the kids and the parents. You truly care about the kids.
8. Oh and speaking of the competitions the way you are all there – WOW! Each of you makes a point to be at the competitions even though you do have lives. WOW!
9. Organization – seriously – you guys knock this out of the park and as a parent – oh my – this is huge. I know in advance what the schedule is. You communicate with me on a weekly basis with
updates (love those weekly emails and reminders). This is so incredibly crucial.
10. Oh and speaking of organization – the fact that I know exactly where my money is going each month – okay mind-blowing.
11. The dressing room and the homework area. You have given yourselves a tiny office and allowed the kids to have a space to get dressed, eat, do homework. This is amazing. This studio is my
daughter’s 2nd home. Shoot it may be her first. The kids are even allowed in the office to do homework and eat. The fact that you open your small space to the kids. Incredible!
12. Speaking of the studio – you provide a very safe environment so I feel comfortable leaving my kid there all day.
13. Quality of choreography – the awards speak for themselves. Each of you are amazing and we are lucky to have every single choreographer.
14. Dress Rehearsal, hair, and makeup class – you set up in advance a session in which we could all learn what we needed to do. You had dress rehearsal weeks before so we could test out all costumes.
This is incredible.
15. Costumes- I received a list of items needed for each dance EARLY in the year.
16. Volunteering – I know the kids don’t have much time to do it, but you provide them this opportunity as often as possible. Volunteering is a core value of your studio. This is amazing.
17. Those little gift bags at competitions. I know that takes a ton of time. I still can’t believe you do this. This really means a ton to the kids (and parents).
18. Respect towards other studios. Your entire team believes every studio in RIC has its place. You don’t ever talk negatively about other studios. This speaks for itself!
19. The chance to assist in class. My daughter really loves her time assisting. This means so much to her. By allowing her to help, this tells her you have faith in her and you trust her to help the
20. Not yelling at us when we lost a competition earring. We were both honestly scared to tell you. And you looked at me, laughed, opened your magic bag, and handed me an earring. I can’t tell you
the relief we both felt.
21. During shows you are more concerned about each and every child then having a perfectly running show. Of course you strive for perfection and you come so close. But you are willing to wait for a
child to get dressed and get on the stage. That means at times the audience may sit and wait. As parents we would all prefer to patiently wait as opposed to any child missing a dance that they have
worked all year on.
22. Family, Family, Family
23. Fun, Fun Fun
I truly can’t express our thanks enough! Thanks for a great first year and we can’t wait for year number 2!!
Carrie Hughes (Tuesday, 14 April 2015 19:05)
I thoroughly enjoyed the show Saturday night and I'm so sorry I couldn't stick around long enough afterward to tell you in person. WOWWWWWW!!!! So much talent at your studio! And so much brilliant
teaching, coaching, and choreography. Everything was put together with such professionalism, and I had to giggle knowing what a tight ship you had to run backstage in order to pull everything off so
seamlessly. Congrats to you and your gifted teachers and students. So much heart on that stage!
Look forward to spending time at your studio soon!
Courtney Harris, Assistant Professor
Department of Dance and Choreography / School of the Arts
Virginia Commonwealth University
1315 Floyd Avenue / P.O. Box 843007 / Richmond, VA 23284
804-828-3843 / http://arts.vcu.edu/dance
CORPS de Ballet International, Treasurer
Lynne Harper/Gigi Davis (Saturday, 17 May 2014 11:51)
I had to take time to thank Carrie and Kat and their helpers for making my niece's (Gigi Davis) birthday fabulous. She has a photo shoot dance party and it was great. Gigi told me it was her best
birthday yet. She turned 7. All the kids had a wonderful time. I would recommend it to any child having a birthdy party. Plenty of room for the kids to run wild and dance and just had a good time.
The kids even got to take a CD home of the party music played during the party. Gigi will be starting her 4th year with CDC in the fall and she has loved every minute of coming to the dance at the
studio. All the dance teachers are top notch and really care about each and every kid that attend classes at the studio. Gigi went to her first convention and was so excited. I missed it but from
reports back to me, it was an excellent experience for the younger kids that got to go for the first time.
Gigi has had parties at Diva's and Dudes Rock Party Castle and they were nice but just not the amount of room or preparation and planning that went into the CDC party.
I would recommend CDC to anyone who has a child who wants to take dance. (or have the best birthday yet.)
Thanks to everyone at CDC.
Cheri McCall (Sunday, 16 February 2014 18:19)
Now that we have our first competition of our first season with you under our belts, I could not wait any longer to say how professional, motivational, caring, consistent and organized we have found
Your passion for the art of dance and your ability to pass along that passion and skilled artistic technique to your students is amazing to watch. The stories your students tell in their pieces are
And while your standards are high, it is apparent that your staff cares about each student individually and equally (though I do not know how you find the time - don't think the quote in the goodie
bag, goodies after comp or loaned out socks go unnoticed). CDC instructors consistently work with each dancer to highlight their strengths while challenging them to explore new areas of dance.
The positive environment your leadership fosters among the dancers lends itself to a comfortable, accepting place for your students to learn about the art form they love and it has created a strong,
bonded company of dancers that care about each other and cheer for each other's successes. Kudos to all!
And outside of all this you manage to throw in lots of good fun, excitement and some craziness! Thanks for being the kind of people others like to be around.
PS to parents - do not ever think your dancer is too old to make a studio switch - it may be the best thing he or she will ever do.
Sharon Parker (Wednesday, 31 July 2013 16:05)
I am so excited for the coming dance year. The love of dance Carrie and Kat and everyone at CDC have given my daughters is only surpassed by the dance skills they have learned! Miss Carrie and Kat
and the entire staff genuinely care about our dancers!
A special shout out to Tony - thanks for getting my girl's feet to tap! She LOVES it thanks to you!
Not to be forgot! I truly believe the level dance instruction and choreography always amazes me! The beauty of the story sometimes moves me to tears...I know corny but TRUE!
Last year's recital was so EPIC but I hear this year will be SWEET!! Thanks CDC!
Becca (Monday, 08 July 2013 08:14)
My daughter came to CDC two years ago, this fall will be here third year. My daughter, like Gigi, (see story below) had danced at a different studio since the age of two and we found that it wasn't a
good fit for her quiet personality. All of the CDC staff helped Hailey feel comfortable and now she thinks she is related to Kat and Carrie! And they treat her and every dancer like their own
children. I have found that every instructor will answer any question you may have about your dancer and help you to understand the techniques and style of dance your dancer may be learning. Hailey
will come home and tell me different names of the techniques she has learned..so not only is she getting the physical aspect of dance, she is connecting the dots when an instructor tells her to do a
certain technique, she can do it without being showed what it is. It is comforting to know that Hailey is learning more than just a "dance routine". She knows the names of the techniques being used
and the difference in the styles of the dances, she has become more confident, and most of all, she met all of her best friends at CDC. My oldest daughter loved the staff and dancers so much at CDC,
she stopped playing softball to start taking hip hop classes!
Anyone considering CDC for their dancer should give it a try, I promise you'll be blown away by the experience and friendliness of the staff and other parents and dancers at CDC!
Lynne Harper (Tuesday, 11 June 2013 10:27)
I wanted to give a big thanks to all the staff at CDC. I have been through 2 recitals so far with CDC and they are so enjoyable and the hard work the staff and students have done through out the year
really shines through.
My niece Gigi Davis started dance at CDC at 4 and will be starting her 3rd year in the fall and she loves it. When I told her I signed her up for 3 summer dance classes she squealed with joy.
Gigi took dance at another dance school when she was 3 and I was so glad I found Chesterfield Dance Center and got her signed up at 4. I first started her in Ballet at CDC and then there was a
Hippity Hop class after her Ballet and she watched them and on the way home she told me she wanted to take Hip Hop instead of Ballet, I told her no ballet, no hip hop. She said OK and took both
classes. In the 2012 Recital she did her Hippity Hop Routine and Ballet Performance. She watched some of the older girls perform at the recital that year and after the Recital she told me "I love
Ballet, it is beautiful."
I would recommend CDC to any new dancer starting out or any dancer looking to dance at a new studio. The staff really wants each and every dancer to do their best and will guide them every step of
The new studio has much more room and now Carrie has Kritina to do the office work so she can run the studio and keep an eye on everything. Carrie wants each and every dancer to perform at the best
of their ability. Carrie seems to be on top of all the activities at the studio and she will answer any question you may have about your dancer. She will get feed back on all the dancers so she knows
what is going on with every dancer.
This years recital in 2013 was wonderful. Even allowed the adults to do the Harlem Shake for 20 seconds if they so desired. We got our 20 seconds of fame this year.
I took Gigi and 3 of her friends from her dance classes to sit in the audience with me after they had finished there performances. It was so cute to watch the younger ones watch the older girls
dance. They just enjoyed it so much and they were so impressed. One of them said, "I want to dance that good when I get older." alot of "wows" too.
Chesterfield Dance Center gives you a warm and fuzzy and as many dancers as are enrolled, it still feels like s big family and everyone wants all the students to do an excellent job.
The Recitals have gone off without any major issues. I had some of my friends come this year and watch and they were amazed at how well the dancers could dance. They told me "that is the place for
Gigi to be for dance."
Again thanks to all the staff at CDC. Keep up the good work.
Casey Higgins (Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:14)
Great recital! Thank you for you and your staff's dedication to the dancers. We see huge improvements year after year, and Caitlin is so eager to take more classes.
Thank you again! You guys are awesome!
Nancy Yglesias (Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:10)
Dear Carrie and staff,
I just wanted to let you know that I was VERY impressed with the recital this weekend! The dancers seemed well-prepared with great routines and very tasteful costumes! Julianne had a great year
dancing and I am glad that she is part of your studio. You've done an excellent job!!
Mrs. B. Olanrewaju (Wednesday, 15 September 2010 12:49)
For many years we faithfully traveled from Chester to Brandermill so that my daughter, Britney Olanrewaju, could attend the dance center of her choice. There was none other like Chesterfield Dance
Center according to Britney O. We passed multiple dance studios and there were many days I thought, this is just ridiculous. Nevertheless, from the age of 7 to 17 one of the family vehicles was on
Rt. 288 for as many as 3 to 5 days per week.
In Britney’s early childhood her focus was playing soccer and basketball. She was an awesome competitor in both sports. I enrolled her into the first dance class at the age of 7 simply to balance her
activities. Miss Carrie, as she was affectionately known, was Britney’s first teacher. We would have never thought that our daughter would give up both sports to focus on dance. However, at middle
school age Britney decided that “dance” was her activity of choice.
Britney excelled in jazz, modern, contemporary and hip hop dance styles. Dancing became her #1 love. She was accepted into the Specialty Center for Performing Arts at Thomas Dale High School. Right
away it was apparent that her technique was very advanced compared to many other dancers in the program, which can be contributed to the training she received at CDC. There were numerous dance
opportunities afforded to Britney during her high school tenure, which can be attributed to her CDC training.
Currently, Britney is in her 2nd year at George Mason University majoring in Performing Arts/Dance and Business Management. Also, she is a member of the GMU Urbankowlogy Hip Hop Dance Team. During
her freshman year they were selected to audition for America’s Got Talent. I hear the excitement in her voice every time we speak. The excitement that comes from dancing! Thanks to the great CDC team
for the many years that you provided love, encouragement and mentoring to our daughter, BRITNEY OLANREWAJU.
Mrs. B. Olanrewaju
Sabrina Nordan (Saturday, 29 May 2010 09:56)
As the first student to detail my experience at CDC here on their website, I hope I might offer potential dancers insight as to how Chesterfield Dance Center works. I've been dancing at CDC for four
years, and now as a senior looking back, I can truly understand that CDC is a home to me and how much of an impact the faculty and dancers there have made on my life. Before I started classes I was
downright awful. I didn't know a pirouette from a calypso (One is a turn, the other a jump--kind of a big difference). But over four short years, Chesterfield Dance Center and its staff molded me
into the dancer I am today: a member of Cosby High School's award-winning dance team, Titania, who nailed her double pirouette in her Jazz routine in the recent recital. Some may not realize what I
big accomplishment this is; most dancers train from the age of three and never stop. Yet, in four years CDC has brought me up to par with those who have danced all their lives. Throughout my four
years, my teachers encouraged me rather than treating me like a hopeless case who started too late, which was honestly what I felt like. There was a communal belief in me between all the teachers
there, even those who did not have me as a student. And when you're the oldest in all your classes by at least 3 or 4 years, having someone treat you nicely is refreshing to your ego. My junior year
I decided I would try out for CHS' Titania, "just for fun." When I told Miss Liz I was trying out, she offered to help me with a few technical skills I needed to tweak. On her own time, off payroll,
she helped me perfect my axle, Russian, and turns. With Miss Liz's help, I made it on the dance team, and was probably its proudest member. The great thing about Chesterfield Dance Center is that any
teacher would have done that for me, for any student. At Chesterfield Dance Center it's like we're a family, constantly helping each other. CDC encourages an environment where dancers are friends,
not competitors, and teachers are there to help you, not babysit you. Dancing has taught me grace, poise, strength, identity, and confidence, all traits any young person should have. Looking back at
myself four years ago desperately trying to find a dance studio, I'm thankful I picked the right one. Chesterfield Dance Center has become my home, through its family like environment, professional
staff, and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty. If you or your child is considering Chesterfield Dance Center try a class, talk to the staff and I guarantee you'll find your home here
Shannon Moeller (Monday, 24 May 2010 21:45)
Thank you and the staff of CDC. As a music teacher, I understand all that goes into putting on a show like this weekend, and you did an outstanding job. But more important than the great show, is the
love of dance that you instill in your dancers. Madeline LOVES coming to dance each week, and was so excited about the performance this weekend. Thank you and Lauren and Katelyn for developing this
love of dance in her. You are all amazing!!!
Shawn Senning (Sunday, 23 May 2010 13:22)
Mrs. D (Saturday, 01 May 2010 23:01)
Although my daughter, Kelsey, has only been dancing with you for one year, I would like to say that I am quite impressed with the dance training my daughter received at Chesterfield Dance Center. I
think it is amazing that you give the dancers so many opportunities to perform throughout the year as well as bringing in awesome teachers for Master Classes. You have definitely helped to prepare my
daughter for her college experience as she works toward her BFA in dance next year. And for that, we thank all the teachers at CDC!
Julinda Lewis, Richmond Times Dispatch (Friday, 30 April 2010 12:41)
4/5/2010, review of rva dance collective's evening length show, 'breakthrough'
"The Chesterfield Dance Center's student dance group, dELIRIUM were the evening's special guests, and performed a stark, eerie and intriguing work, "Parameters," set to an Ani DiFranco song of the
same name, that begins with a lesson about coming home to find a strange man sitting in your bedroom. The young group's message was quite compatible with that of their mentors."
Amy Pritchard (Friday, 30 April 2010 12:39)
My daughter has taken dance at CDC for 4 years and she loves it! The knowledge of the instructors and support given to my daughter by the CDC staff is what makes the difference in encouraging a love
of dance. CDC’s flexibility in allowing my daughter to try more challenging classes provides another benefit that I haven’t found with other dance studios. They focus on assessing the individual’s
strengths rather than just trying to fill a class. It’s gone so well, that I enrolled my 4 year old this year too!
Irma Faszewski (Friday, 30 April 2010 12:38)
As the mother of four girls, dance has been a very importan part of our lives for a long time. We have been part of the Chesterfield Dance Center family since it opened in 1998 by Liz Venini. Before
that my children had been taking dance classes from another studio in the Richmond area. My eldest daughter Cari, 14, had been considered one of the best dancers at her old studio. When we started at
Chesterfield Dance Center, Cari quickly realized that her knowledge of dance was less than students who were younger than her and had taken classes from Liz at another studio. It was a startling
wake-up call to realize that she had not learned what she needed to learn after 11 years of dance. The level of instruction at Chesterfield Dance Center surpassed any of the instruction that my
daughters had been receiving at the old studio. As the years passed I was always amazed at how much my daughters learned in their classes. The love and dedication that they teachers have for dance
has been transferred to each of my daughters, so that their love for dance has also grown. Three of my daughters no longer take classes at CDC, but Cari takes ballroom classes at a studio in
Washington DC, my second daughter Lauren, who is studying abroad, takes dance classes and is a member of a dance team in England, and my daughter Sarah is a member of a dance company and a dance
minor at William and Mary. My youngest daughter Catherine is a senior this year and will be attending VCU, majoring in dance and choreography. When I started my children in dance, I had no idea how
much it would eventually mean to them. I know that the instructors at Chesterfield Dance Center played a major role in my daughters love of dance.