Although their dance backgrounds are quite different, a love of tap dancing unites Sally Standish and Pat Balderas, owners of the Off Broadway Dance Company in Toledo. The women purchased the dance studio, exclusively for adults, and offer tap classes for beginners as well as seasoned tappers.
"We both had a passion for it, and, since we were retired, we had the time to do it," says Pat, who also teaches tap classes. She adds, "I love teaching and I didn't want to stop."
Pat didn't start dancing until she was in her 40s." I saw a dance group advertised in the papers. My husband was working out of town, so I had some time. I had always wanted to do it," she says. "I walked into the studio and fell in love with tap." Pat took master classes and eventually began teaching tap for beginners.
When the previous owner had less time to put into the studio, Geri and Pat discussed ownership and decided to make the leap. Their plan is to attract new students, such as women and men also, they emphasize who are tired of exercising at the gym. "Tap is something new and fun, and it gives them a chance to perform," says Geri. She adds that tap dancing builds both muscular strength and mental acuity. "Dance keeps our minds and bodies in good shape."
Since assuming ownership, Pat and Geri have expanded the opportunities available to the students, such as bringing in master teachers. "That's great for the students, to improve their skills," says Pat. In addition, the studio travels to Chicago in August for a tap workshop. "We get a weekend of intensive training," says Pat. "It's a great way to keep skills up and know what is going on in the industry."