Photography Provided Lillybug Photography
Kristin Kovacik has been a dancer all her life. It was no surprise that even with a fulfilling career in nursing, something was still missing. It took the trials of life and a wise friend to steer her back to dance, which led her to open Serenity Dance Connections in Brownsburg.
But she’d never claim it as her own.
“We all work together,” Kovacik says of her team, a group of women who met in the world of dance.
Kovacik co-owns the studio with Therese Scott, the director, and has hired women she’s known for years to help teach, direct and run the studio.
Kovacik used to teach Tabitha Drury’s daughters, and Drury is the tumbling, acrobatics and cheer instructor. She also used to teach the older sister of Megan Dodson, the studio’s ballet instructor. Scott’s granddaughter Kenzie is a hip-hop instructor at the studio.
The studio held its grand opening on September 12 and offers classes in ballet, tap, jazz, tumbling and hip-hop for boys and girls of all ages up to 18 years old. For little ones there are preschool classes, as well as Tiny Tumblers and Mini Movers classes. There are also parent-and-child combo classes and cheer classes. To top it off, there are competition and performance opportunities, but not in the typical dance fashion.
“We just wanted an outlet for the dancers to feel safe, confident and empowered,” Kovacik says. “Winning wasn’t the only goal. How you feel about yourself, and giving you an outlet for your passion, is our priority.”
Kovacik acknowledges that while many love dance, not everyone can be a professional dancer. She learned from personal experience that dancing can promote leadership skills, self-confidence, motivation and team building - all skills she used in her nursing career.
The birth of this studio in some ways stemmed from significant losses. Scott lost her son and husband, and Kovacik lost her mom, her biggest fan and teammate in the dancing world.
“We always have the right to change our minds in life,” Kovacik says. “The main core of my decision for opening the studio was remembering the trip I took to New York City with my mom. I auditioned for the Rockettes, and though I was too young to make it, my mom’s eyes lit up when I made the final cut at auditions. She told me she always wanted her little girl to be a dancer or a nurse.”
Scott, a close confidant, could see what dancing was still bringing to Kovacik’s life and encouraged her to pursue it outside of nursing.
“Therese saw this passion in me when I was in the dance room that she didn’t see outside the dance room,” Kovacik says. “It was similar with her granddaughter Kenzie. So we teamed up to create this outlet, this safe place.”
Kovacik is particularly proud of two specialty classes the studio will offer. There will be a Sensory Sparklers class, a dance class for those with sensory development issues or special needs.
“There aren’t many spaces that can offer what we can,” Kovacik says. “We have the equipment to offer them dancing and tumbling. It helps their range of motion, their emotional health and their mental health. It also offers a community and support system for the parents.”
The studio will also offer Ministry In Motion, a faith-based program combined with music that teaches students routines that can be offered at church programs and holiday events.
“I’ve had a lot of transformation in my life,” Kovacik says. “God is a big factor for that. We will not preach nor dictate religion, but we will offer this faith-based program for those who are interested.”
Kovacik and Scott both feel the studio is more important now than ever. With her background in nursing, Kovacik has a finger on the pulse of not only coronavirus protocols, but also teen depression and anxiety.
“Just having someone support them, helping them go through those feelings using movement is significant,” Kovacik says.
Drury has an extensive background in competitive cheer and choreography for competition in dance, so she knows firsthand how expensive dance classes and competitions can be. She insists these programs are affordable, even when offering competitions.
“Everyone here gets an opportunity to perform on stage or in a classroom,” Drury says. “We want every child to truly feel wanted here.”
That’s why the team created the Serenity Forum, a loose term for how Kovacik, Scott and other teachers ask parents for feedback on choosing competitions, fundraising and other topics.
“We want parents to have a say in where their money is going,” Scott says. “There are no hidden costs with costumes and such.”
What matters most to the women behind Serenity is providing a community space for kids to grow and thrive in their friendships and skills.
“There’s a lot to be said about friendship here,” Drury says. “More than dancing and winning, these kids get so excited for each other’s accomplishments. It’s more than just a dance studio. You don’t have to have any particular skill level. Our whole goal is to foster a love of dance.”
Serenity Dance Connections is located at 600 West Northfield Drive, Suite 2000 in Brownsburg, IN. For more information, call 317-852-0355 or visit them online at serenitydanceconnections.com.