gmhTODAY 04 gmhToday Sep Oct 2015 - Page 74

Written By Crystal Han For the love of dance … a family tradition 74 Dance is a beautiful art form capable of captivating an audience and guiding them on a dazzling journey. While this is definitely a component of dance, for teachers like Traci Dalke of Studio Three, it extends far beyond the realm of entertainment. Dance is love, passion, and a teacher of life lessons. For Traci, dancing has been a bit of a family tradition. Her grandmother, mother, and two aunts all loved dance. When Traci started taking lessons at her grandmother’s dance studio in South San Jose, it quickly grew to be her passion and she became the 3rd generation dancer in her family. Traci continued to dance well into her adult life and she taught for her aunts in South San Jose. In 1990, she moved to Gilroy to raise her family. Traci and one of her aunts always talked about opening a studio together, but between having young children and moving to different locations, they could never seem to find the right time. After they’d done so much planning, Traci felt confident that she could handle a business on her own. In 2002, when her youngest daughter was in kindergarten, she opened her first dance studio. Everything went smoothly for Traci at first. She started small, with 30 students her first year. By the second year the number of students doubled and by the third year they had nearly tripled. Business was going great until the recession hit. At the same time everyone was struggling with the economy, developers decided they wanted to demolish the building in Traci’s parking lot and build a new development. They walled off the parking lot with a chain link fence and marked the area with demolition signs. When Traci’s customers saw the fence they immediately thought her business had shut down. They stopped coming to class and the following month they didn’t pay. In one fell swoop, Traci lost all of her hard work. It was tough, but she managed to hang in there until her lease was up. Thankfully, Traci had the good fortune of meeting Kat Filice, a creative director for Articulate Solutions, and she hired Kat to make her website. Kat suggested that she look at the downtown area to open up a new studio. After careful consideration, Traci decided that downtown Gilroy was the best place for her to have a fresh start. She saw the area as a very special niche with great potential. “It’s my town, it’s where I raise my family. It’s where everything happens for us,” she explained. At the time Traci first opened Studio Three, many of the businesses we know and enjoy today weren’t there. It was a bit of a struggle changing people’s perceptions of business in the downtown area, but gradually Traci helped turn the tide. As a member of Rotary Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and of the Gilroy Garlic Festival Association, Traci was already well established within the community and she was constantly getting the word out about downtown. That, in addition to word of mouth from many pleased customers, GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015 gmhtoday.com helped her business thrive. The downtown area also began to flourish. “I feel like I kind of contributed to people being okay with being in the downtown area and having it be safe. If people can feel confident that they can bring their kids here and the environment around them is safe, it’s good to tell other people, ‘Hey, maybe I do want to have a shop or a restaurant down there,’” she said. The lessons Traci learned from opening her business are the same ones she wants to impart on her students: that achieving goals takes hard work. “You just have to jump with two feet and trust in yourself,” she said. If her students walk away with a sense of self-worth, honesty, and creativity, then she knows she has accomplished what she set out to do. Growing up, dance was always Traci’s go-to place for peace and calm. This is the feeling that she hopes will stick with her students and that they will keep dancing as their outlet. Whether they choose to pursue dance as a career or they find a different path, she is confident that dance will always come back to their lives in some way. Traci’s love of dance and of teaching it to others will continue to give her new lessons about life. “I’m constantly learning, constantly changing,” she said. No matter where she goes, dance will be a never ending source of inspiration for generations to come. DANCE PHOTOS PROVIDED BY STUDIO THREE For the love of dance … a family tradition D ance is a beautiful art form capable of captivating an audience and guiding them on a dazzling journey. While this is definitely a compo- nent of dance, for teachers like Traci Dalke of Studio Three, it extends far beyond the realm of entertainment. Dance is love, pas- sion, and a teacher of life lessons. For Traci, dancing has been a bit of a family tradition. Her grandmother, mother, and two aunts all loved dance. When Traci started taking lessons at her grandmother’s dance studio in South San Jose, it quickly grew to be her passion and she became the 3rd generation dancer in her family. Traci continued to dance well into her adult life and she taught for her aunts in South San Jose. In 1990, she moved to Gilroy to raise her family. Traci and one of her aunts always talked about opening a studio together, but between having young children and moving to different locations, they could never seem to find the right time. After they’d done so much planning, Traci felt confident that she could handle a business on her own. In 2002, when her youngest daughter was in kindergarten, she opened her first dance studio. Everything went smoothly for Traci at first. She started small, with 30 students her first year. By the second year the number of students doubled and by the third year they had nearly tripled. Business was going great until the recession hit. At the same time everyone was struggling with the economy, developers decided they wanted to demol- 74 ish the building in Traci’s parking lot and build a new development. They walled off the parking lot with a chain link fence and marked the area with demolition signs. When Traci’s customers saw the fence they immediately thought her business had shut down. They stopped coming to class and the following month they didn’t pay. In one fell swoop, Traci lost all of her hard work. It was tough, but she managed to hang in there until her lease was up. Thankfully, Traci had the good fortune of meeting Kat Filice, a creative director for Articulate Solutions, and she hired Kat to make her website. Kat suggested that she look at the downtown area to open up a new studio. After careful consideration, Traci decided that downtown Gilroy was the best place for her to have a fresh start. She saw the area as a very special niche with great potential. “It’s my town, it’s where I raise my family. It’s where everything hap- pens for us,” she explained. At the time Traci first opened Studio Three, many of the businesses we know and enjoy today weren’t there. It was a bit of a struggle changing people’s perceptions of business in the downtown area, but gradually Traci helped turn the tide. 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