By Cathy Shouse
For The Herald Bulletin
---- — FAIRMOUNT — The traffic on Fairmount’s Main Street has gotten busier since Brittany Yeagy opened Encore Dance Acadamy in September 2012. Four nights a week, she teaches up to six classes a night, which means many parents are dropping off and picking up their young dance students.
“Last year, I had 78 students. This year, I have 130 students,” Yeagy said. “I’ve already outgrown my space. I am looking for land to build [on]. That’s my next step, to actually build a studio.”
Many of her students are from Fairmount, and others come from Gas City, Elwood and Frankton. For families with multiple little dancers, she offers class discounts.
In a sense, everything that Yeagy, 29, has done in the past has led up to her success at the studio. Since taking dance lessons all through school, and graduating from Madison-Grant High School in 2004, she has been latchkey coordinator for Summitville Elementary School, was the high school cheerleading coach for several years, and has choreographed for the high school dance team. These days, her former latchkey students and other students flock to her classes.
“I’ve always wanted to open a school, since I was a little girl,” Yeagy said. “That’s all I wanted — to be a dance teacher. The look on the girls’ faces when they finally get it, after they have worked so hard, is just so rewarding.”
Some dancers have known Yeagy for much of their lives.
“The older they get, the more they confide in me and ask me for advice,” Yeagy said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to tell them something they don’t want to hear, but they know it’s coming from a good place, and not from mom or dad.”
Yeagy has been married to husband Bobby, a 2003 M-G grad, for nine years. They have three sons, ages 20 months to 8 years old.
“I get my girl fix at the dance studio,” Yeagy said with a laugh.
Bobby works for AT & T, gets the kids to evening activities, and is her go-to person for props for her dancers. He is using PVC and bungee cords for props for the annual recital, which will be in the M-G High School auditorium June 13 and 14 at 7 p.m.
“I have a graduates class,” Yeagy said. “It’s for people who have graduated high school. They’re dancing to 'Cell Block Tango' from the show ‘Chicago’ and they will be behind jail cell bars.”
All students will perform and she’s gearing them up, getting their costumes in, and making special plans. For the second year, she is organizing a “Dancer Dads” class that will perform.
“The dads secretly love it,” she said. “They were calling me last year for extra practices. They did hip hop. It is a riot.”
Recently, after telling the littlest dancers to focus, she overheard one tell her distracted dance partner, “If you do this really, really good, I will pay you 100 dollars and lots of pennies.”
Shannon Decker-Young and her husband, Terry, have three girls dancing at the studio, spanning in age from a kindergartner to a 16-year-old.
They started dancing at 2 and they now enjoy Yeagy’s gentle, encouraging teaching style and the school’s atmosphere.
“I think it’s the camaraderie with the girls. The girls are nice to each other. They all help each other. If one is struggling, the other ones help her,” Decker-Young said.
Sara Engle and husband Beau’s 8-year-old daughter, Josie, is a dancer.
“I’ve known Brittany since she was little,” Engle said. “Brittany and my sister were best friends growing up. It’s nice it’s somebody local.”
During class one evening, Josie scampered out to where her mother was parked at the curb with her two little brothers. She showed mom her bright, multi-colored recital costume and said that dancing makes her happy.
What does she think of dancing in the recital?
“I’m not that nervous.” Josie said.
“She likes to perform,” her mother said with a smile.
Encore Dance Academy 108 N. Main St., Fairmount 765-623-7306 Encore! Dance Academy on Facebook