By Karen Billing
Inspired Movement Dance and Performing Arts may be only two months old at its new location on Carmel Mountain Road, but the company and its owner, Jenna Saylor, have been a popular presence in Carmel Valley since 2010, hosting classes out of the Boys and Girls Club Polster branch.
Saylor’s classes grew too large for the space at the Boys and Girls Club, so she was able to move to her own space and open a dance studio in January.
“All of the students followed me over so I was lucky that I didn’t have to start from scratch, just got a brand new home to be in,” Saylor said. “I never expected at 25 years old to be able to do this. I feel blessed to be able to do it this quickly. I wouldn’t be able to it without the support of my family, the parents and the kids.”
Inspired Movement Dance and Performing Arts offers youth classes in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, musical theater, hip hop and acro. For young pre-school dancers there is a ballet-tap combination class. And for adults, the studio recently added salsa and Zumba classes.
Saylor went from teaching all of the classes herself to now having five instructors on staff.
Saylor started dancing when she was 3 years old and grew up dancing in a small town studio in San Luis Obispo County. She trained in all styles, including ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop, participated in the annual “Nutcracker” performance and competed regionally and nationally with the studio’s competition team. Despite the fact that she enjoyed performing, Saylor really wanted to teach.
“I’ve always had a passion for teaching,” said Saylor, who started assisting teachers in the studio at age 16.
She took on her own classes teaching beginning ballet and tap — and directed the youngest dance competition teams — when she was still in high school.
When she moved to San Diego in 2008, Saylor worked as a nanny and taught preschool while teaching classes at local studios, all the while having the goal of opening her own studio one day.
She was lucky to get the opportunity to open Inspired Movement Dance and Performing Arts classes at the Boys and Girls Club in 2010, her classes filling quickly. With the growth and need for more space, she obtained her space on Carmel Mountain Road, just before the intersection of Sorrento Valley Road, next to the Corner House Café and Caliente’s Mexican Food.
She completely gutted and redid the space — there are two dance studios with two-way mirrors so parents can watch but the children can’t see out and be distracted.
A big lobby is decorated with stylish, cozy couches and chairs. In addition, fun, sparkling mini chandeliers hang from the ceiling.
The students have their own dressing room, as well as a homework room that Saylor has made an enticing spot to be in, with bright pink and green walls, desk space and even a bright pink miniature chaise lounge.
“I remember living at the studio so it’s important for me to provide kids with what they need,” Saylor said. “I want kids and families to feel at home here because of the hours they spend here. It’s a comfortable and safe environment.”
In the lobby, parents can also check out a small retail area with dancewear by Del Mar’s Details Dancewear, a boutique Saylor loves that designs all their competition costumes.
“We used to just have a tiny hallway where parents could look into classes, now [parents want to stay] and that’s how I like it and how it should be,” Saylor said.
One area where Inspired Movement Dance and Performing Arts has really grown is with its competition teams. Recently the teams went to the Nuvo dance convention in Long Beach where the dancers competed, and the older dancers took convention classes from master teachers, such as choreographers and dancers from “So You Think You Can Dance.” Her teams earned six golds and three high silvers. Recently, they competed at the OC Hollywood Vibe competition and convention where the teams took eight golds and one platinum. Inspired’s 7-year-old soloist Raquelle Romero took first place in the musical theater solo category.
“Every competition our students go to they end up getting better and better and that progress is all I can ask for,” Saylor said.
Saylor said her competition team is very young and as the team keeps improving, she is excited for what the future holds.
Those not on competition team still get the chance to show off all they are learning in dance class. Inspired Movement Dance and Performing Arts will hold end-of-the-year recitals and this year for the first time they are staging the first act of the “Cinderella” ballet at the La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, set for June 23.
With her classes brimming with dancers, Saylor finds small moments to revel in how far she has come in a little over two years. She said there have definitely been those “pinch yourself” moments of realizing she owns her own studio and has accomplished a dream by age 25.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Saylor said
Inspired Movement Dance and Performing Arts is located at 3323 Carmel Mountain Road, suite 101, San Diego, 92121. For more information, visit www.Imdpa.com; 858-523-8874.
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