So you think you can dance?
That’s the question being posed these days on a popular TV show. Ask that question around Webster, and for thousands of children and adults the answer would be the same:
“Why yes, I do, and I learned it at DK Dance.”
DK Dance, located in the village of Webster, has long been one of Webster’s most respected and well-established dance studios. This year, it’s celebrating its 15th anniversary.
Even if you don’t take classes there, chances are good you’re familiar with owner Dena Kay and her young dancers. You seen them twirling, skipping an prancing down Main Street every year at the Webster Firemen’s Parade, and enjoy their performances every spring at Community Arts Day.
It’s even possible you know Dena herself. She grew up here in Webster and graduated from Webster High School in 1998. Granted, she left for a short time to get her undergraduate and master’s degrees at the University of Buffalo. But as soon as she was done, she came right back to her hometown to start her own business.
She settled into a small, one-room, second-floor studio in the village, at the corner of North Avenue and Donovan St. It was a perfect starter location, just across the street from Hank’s Ice Cream, one of the village’s most popular hangouts, and next door to another long-time Webster business, Taylor Rental.
Now 15 years later, Pub 235 has replaced Hank’s, and Taylor Rental is no more. But DK Dance is still there. And it has grown.
Over the years, that one floor has expanded to two, that one studio is now three, and the number of students has gone from a handful to more than 200, with enough classes to support seven staff members, including two members of the Rochester City Ballet.
Despite the school’s growth, Dena has made sure that it hasn’t gotten so large that she loses the personal connection she has with all her students and their families. With so many students, she can’t teach them all herself, but she makes a point to get to know everybody.
“That’s important to me,” she said. “That’s kind of what we built this studio on, a kind of family atmosphere.”
Currently DK Dance offers classes for all ages from children to adults, in a wide variety of dance styles including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, and contemporary. Most of her students she says are “recreational,” taking classes just to learn, have fun, and participate in the annual recital. But there’s also a performance group of about 45 dancers who attend competitions and special events.
Dena especially enjoys teaching her youngest students, some of whom are only about 18 months old, so much so that she’ll often visit them right in their preschool classrooms.
“They’re so carefree, and so love (dance),” she said, adding, “They can learn so much if they’re physically active.”
As DK Dance has grown, so has the school’s commitment to the local community. In addition to participating in local special events, the school hosts an annual fundraiser to benefit children with special needs and adopts a family every Christmas for Making Spirits Bright.
It’s basically Dena’s way of giving back to a community that has done so much for her.
“There’s so many things that have come into my life because of this….The Webster community is pretty amazing,” Dena said. “I’m very fortunate here because we have some of the most wonderful parents who are so supportive of their kids.”
“All the kids that I have are always kind and always respectful and appreciative.” They and their families, she added, are like an extended family.
“It’s truly amazing and it was my dream growing up to have my own place and share it with all these kids and I get to. I can’t believe it’s 15 years.”
Dena Kay lives with her husband Frank and daughters Cali (7) and Eviana (4) in East Rochester. Her studio, DK Dance, is located at 205 North Avenue in Webster. To find out more, visit their website at http://www.dkdancestudio.com and Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/DKDanceStudio.