DANCE STUDIO OWNER FLEEING?
Parents outraged studio owner is moving while owing money and cancelling kids’ recital
About 50 local parents are owed money by a local dance studio and had to tell their kids their dance recital was in jeopardy after the studio’s owner shut down the studio, stopped responding to calls and planned to move out of town.
Valerie Odom, owner of Starbound Dance Company, located at 2124 Main Street, Porterdale, opened the studio last summer, according to Michelle Stephens, whose 7-yearold daughter attends the studio. Odom registered her business with the state July 28, 2013, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.
The first recital was planned for Saturday, May 31 at Porter Hall, but the venue was never officially booked.
Stephens said planning for the recital had not been going smoothly when all parents received an email
People are outraged. Most of us are just upset because we have to tell our kids they’re not having a recital. I’m planning on doing whatever I can.
— Chris Glover Parent
Wednesday, May 28, from Odom saying the studio was closing, effective immediately, because she was moving out of town.
She did not tell any of the parents where she was moving. Odom and her husband own a home in the Laurel Ridge subdivision off Ga. Highway 81, according to the Newton County Tax Assessor’s website.
The show went on
After Odom’s curtain call, the parents got together Friday at Romp N Roll Skating Center in Conyers to come up with a plan to let their children perform; owner Donna Maloof let the kids skate for free during the meeting.
The parents’ plan came to fruition Saturday.
The skating center, located at 3174 Salem Road in Conyers, agreed to let the kids perform their recital at its facility Saturday afternoon.
Some parents said their major concern was allowing the students to have their recital, but the families are still out the fees they paid Odom.
Recital fees cost $50 per family plus costs for costumes per child that Odom collected from parents. Stephens said she paid the $50 fee and about $65 for costumes. Regular lessons cost $50 a month. Stephens said she has been sending her daughter to Starbound for six months.
Stephens said Odom told parents she would refund their money, but so far no one has reported receiving their refund.
The studio is closed, Odom’s Facebook page has been taken down, the studio website no longer exists and Odom cannot be reached on her studio number or cell phone. Parents and The News have tried contacting Odom with no success.
Chris Glover also has a 7-year-old daughter involved with the studio. He said all parents have been corresponding after Odom sent the mass email notifying them the studio closed and recital would not happen.
“People are outraged. Most of us are just upset because we have to tell our kids they’re not having a recital,” Glover said prior to the recital being held at the Romp N Roll. “I’m planning on doing whatever I can.”
Parents have discussed possibly filing charges against Odom, talking with the Porterdale Police Department and other law enforcement agencies, but no official action had been taken as of Friday.
Glover said he paid about $170 to Odom for the recital and costume fees but that some parents with multiple children at the studio may have paid anywhere from $100-$500.
Odom and her husband filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy Oct. 2, 2006 and they had their debts discharged Aug. 11, 2010, according to U.S. Bankruptcy Court documents.