A few local enthusiasts for dance and performance have turned their passion into a full-time business as they share their knowledge, experience and zeal with hundreds of rising performers.
Since opening July 2012, The Vibe Dance Center has provided a safe environment for youth and adults to get introduced to dance as recreation and receive proper training to refine dance skills for the more serious dancers.
“What sets us apart as a studio is we set our dancers up if they want to pursue a career in dancing,” said Jon Carr, co-owner of The Vibe. “We have such a unique thing we’re offering and we offer all kinds of opportunities for kids to perform at. We want the kids in our community to thrive. We really have an amazing group of kids here.”
Carr and his wife Elizabeth are owners of The Vibe along with Michael and Christy McCabe. The team came together several years ago when Christy taught a dance class at Baldwin High School, where Carr graduated in 2006.
“I taught at the high school in 2003 where I taught dance, world geography and economics,” Christy said. “I became a contracted teacher once I stopped teaching a full-day schedule, but I continued teaching the dance class. That’s where I taught Jon.”
Hailing from Wilkinson County, Elizabeth graduated from John Milledge Academy in 2007. Her dance experience also began under Christy’s direction at the age of 8.
“We have all worked together for so long and we all bring qualities to the table that we balance each other out,” Elizabeth said of her business team. “Dancing is not a hobby and it’s not a job. It’s almost like a different world when you’re out there. It’s a great way to express yourself, and a way for younger kids to find out who they are. There’s so much pressure from the outside world, but when they come here, they can be who they are; we want them to be creative and artistic.”
The dance center offers dance education classes for ages 2 and up in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theater, hip hop and pointe. As teachers and Company choreographers, Kimberly Hamil and Tiffany Johnson also teach students the art of dance and help them reach their full potential as dancers and individuals.
“We teach them really good work ethic and they’re really disciplined,” Elizabeth said. “It’s not just about their dance skills but their life skills as well.”
The Vibe initially opened with two locations, at 200 Log Cabin Rd. and North Milledgeville Road off Highway 441. The dance center decided to expand its facility at Log Cabin Road in the summer and close the center on Lake Sinclair.
“We’re so thankful for our students and the people that walk through our doors,” Jon said. “Through the dance world, I’ve had so many opportunities to judge dance competitions and meet people from all over the country who are passionate about dance just as we are. I still can’t believe we have this awesome studio.”
The Vibe’s Competition Company completed its 2012-2013 season with more than 120 overall awards, eight choreography awards, Stage One National’s Competitive Spirit Award and the highly-coveted Federation of Dance Competitions’ (FDC) People’s Choice Award. The dance group also became Stage One’s “Teen” Grand Champions. This year’s Competition Company includes 50 youth between the ages of 6 and 18.
“These kids dance anywhere from four to eight hours per week. We practice with them on the weekends and travel with them to Atlanta, Athens, Chattanooga and Charleston,” Jon said. “The Company starts in March and continues throughout the year. We compete at the elite level at competition. The Competition Company is more for the dancers who want to become dancers.”
The Vibe performers have been featured in various school and community events, including First Friday, Deep Roots Festival, flash mobs, Christmas Parade and the more recent Communities In School Christmas concert at Georgia Military College.
More than 200 performers of The Vibe are slated to present “The Tale of the Grinch” at 7 p.m. today, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at Baldwin High School. Tickets are $8 and children 5 and under are admitted free. Priority seating is also available for $10 each.
Registration is currently open for winter and spring. Classes will resume Monday, Jan. 6 after the Christmas holiday.
“We want our kids to have those big city dreams. It’s crazy the connection you can make with someone else’s child,” Elizabeth said. “We want to give our kids as many opportunities possible to pursue their dream and passion by providing our support and encouragement.”
For more information, call The Vibe at 478-452-7811, email firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.thevibedance.net, or like The Vibe Dance Center Facebook page.