Lakeside Dance: four feet, two hearts, and a ton of rhythm
By Donna Douglas
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
In two years since opening their hearts and their dancing feet to Barrie, Adam Spadafora and Ashley Wren have coaxed their fledgling dance studio into a full service, fun-filled place where people find their comfort on the dance floor.
In fact, Lakeside Dance Studio, which has been operating from a third-floor, shared space in downtown Barrie, has grown sturdily, to the point where Adam and Ashley are opening their own 3,000-square-foot facility mid-June.
Reluctantly they’re leaving the downtown, but are excited to offer their clients free parking, easy highway access and a lot more space, totally dedicated to dance. The duo met while teaching at a Toronto dance studio, but each has been dancing since they were really young.
Ashley went the traditional route of ballet, modern dance, dance recitals, etc. Adam was a Michael Jackson fan and break-dancing was where his enthusiasm lay. With music and rhythm as part of their DNA, turning their energy into their own business was a logical next step.
But, why Barrie, for these two Torontonians.
“I’ve been analyzing the dance market for a long time. Dancing With the Stars has impacted North America and the wedding business is trending to dance, especially theme weddings,” Adam says. “Couples are dancing down the aisle; they’re designing weddings with specific themes, and Barrie is a growing community with lots of young families and lots of weddings.” It just made sense. But neither of them was prepared for how wonderful Barrie would be.
“We had no idea. It’s such a family oriented city and lots of single people who want to enjoy dancing,” says Ashley. “Social dancing is a huge part of what Lakeside is all about. Our clients love to come and enjoy dancing with other people, socializing together.”
Adam is quick to point out how great dancing is as a physical workout. “I have a client who has gone sky diving. He’s been bull riding. He says dancing scared him more,” says Ashley.
And yet, once people get comfortable, they find a whole new activity that’s really incredible for them.
As they established Lakeside, Ashley and Adam built a series of private lessons, group sessions and in their new studio, they’ll offer practice dance parties every Friday night for their enrolled students.
When they open at 304 Dunlop St. W. (in the strip plaza at Dunlop and Highway 400 that houses Pennington’s and Xcopper), they’ll be making a huge leap forward.
No longer will clients have the three-floor climb of steep, steep steps. They’ll now be able to do weekly parties, and to be able to use their space in whatever way they want. Their introduction to Barrie has seen them do a lot of giving. For two years they’ve been training the volunteer dancers for the Easter Seals fundraiser dancing contest, a big commitment.
They also performed at the Orillia Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital Gala, and conducted a sample dance class at the event.
They raised money at a medical fundraiser for Kayla Johnston at Christmas by donating dance lessons and performing. They performed and did a swing dance lesson at a Georgian College students’ fundraiser. For the pair, their business highlights are their Christmas Dinner Dance where clients dine, visit and dance the night away.
“We had more people than we had room for,” says Ashley, looking forward to their increased space.
Adam says that while they have no employees yet, his mom, Diana Farquhar, has been invaluable as she helps at every single special event.
Their promotional 2/lesson class is a great way for people to try out their program and they price it for students at $39.
They’ve built a series of packages and payment options so people can select what’s best for them.
All in all, they are dancing footsteps to success. Perhaps their biggest event will occur this August when they dance down the aisle to their own wedding!