Observer News Enterprise

Raise the Barre celebrates expansion with a ribbon cutting

- BY KATE WIMBERLY

On Friday evening of May 6th, Raise the Barre hosted a ceremonial ribbon cutting to inaugurate the expansion and relocation of their dance academy. The space boasts of around 3,000 square feet, compared to the 900 square feet, one-room facility they started with. The expanded space holds 3 dance rooms with mirrors and floating floors, a lobby and waiting area for parents and caregivers, and a bathroom with stalls.According to Jaimie Walden, owner of Raise the Barre, they also plan to open a dance store in August. This store will be open to the public as well as students and their families, and costumes and other dance supplies will be available for purchase.

“When we first opened we had 20 or 25 students, and in a year it became more than 100. I had to turn people away, and I hate turning people away. Got the building in November, and gutted the whole thing with four people,” shared Walden.

Their new building is located at 825 conover blvd west, where hwy 70 turns into conover blvd.

Raise the Barre opened in January of 2020, but had to close a short few months later due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They were able to open again with restrictio­ns the following September. Raise the Barre teaches classes in ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, tap, musical theater, gymnastics, and hip-hop. They have classes for ages 1 year through adults. Walden also teaches Zumba and Pound–a cardio and strength training-based fitness routine with participan­ts using drumsticks to the beat of the music.

Walden has been dancing since she was 2 years old. At 10, she was an assistant teacher, and at 16 she already owned her own studio. In 2009, she danced for Disney World, where she performed 3 times a day in the show at Magic Kingdom and in the parades throughout the park. She performed on Season 8’s So You Think You Can Dance, and in 2013, she began teaching at various studios. Then, in 2020, she

opened Raise the Barre. “My parents really supported me. There are a couple of students I have now who I could see doing what I did,” stated Walden.

Walden is certified through Dance Masters of America, and has been a member since 2005. She is a certified Zumba and Pound instructor, and a Certified Youth Fitness Trainer from the American Sports and Fitness Associatio­n.

“I love ballet, I didn’t as a kid. I hated going to ballet class, my parents had to make me go, but as I got older, I enjoyed it more,” Walden said, commenting on her favorite types of dance. “But my passion is either hip-hop or lyrical. I didn’t start until my teen years. It goes back to old school hip-hop and the culture of hip-hop.”

In January of 2020, Walden was invited on the show, QVC@3 on WBTV, where she went and performed hip-hop style dance.

Raise the Barre has just posted their new schedule for Summer and Fall. For more informatio­n, please visit https://www.raisetheba­rredanceac­ademync. com/.

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