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Laura and her daughter, Leila, co-direct the studio’s tap and jazz competition teams. An all-boys hip-hop class is a popular program at the studio that has inspired students to dance on competitive teams in high school and college. Former student Tori Evans danced in college, got an agent, and went on to perform in a national tour of Barbie LIVE! She has also been featured in Reebok advertising, and dreams of dancing at the Academy Awards some day. “I danced with Lana for fifteen years and I’m excited to have a dance career today,” Evans said. “Lana taught me how to be a pro- fessional, to know the choreography, and always show up on time ready to perform.” Danielle Gribus, one of Lana’s long-time students, is not only an award-winning competition dancer, but in 2013 she launched a charitable effort, Gifting Dance, to provide free dance lessons to underprivileged Morgan Hill girls and boys. Lana’s Dance Studio will stage its annual performance of the Nutcracker at Gavilan College, December 7th and 8th. Studio Three Dance tori evans lana’s dance studio Lana’s Dance Studio Lana Wright founded Lana’s Dance Studio in 1979, a lifelong dream that followed a successful early career as a dancer and cho- reographer. Today, she operates two studios, in Morgan Hill and Gilroy, offering ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and lyrical dance. Her dancers brought home multiple awards from this year’s national championship competition in Anaheim; which must be a tradition, because her studio is filled with big, shiny championship trophies. “We have a lot of second and third generation families who are part of our studio,” Wright said. “Some grew up in the studio and returned as adult dancers, or instructors, or with young children of their own who want to dance. There’s an amazing amount of talent and passion for dance in our community, which is what inspires us every day.” Each dance season concludes with a performance at the San Jose Center for Performing Arts so dance families can enjoy watching their students while the students get the experience of performing on a big stage. Some of Wright’s students have gone on to dance with Disney, the Radio City Music Hall Rockettes or have danced with teams including the Golden State Warriors and the San Francisco 49ers. “Dance has evolved. Parents bring their children here because they know we are always on top of our game. Every student is dif- ferent. Some are tough, some sensitive. Our teachers focus on posi- tive reinforcement. They know how to impart good technique and are good role models as well. “Our competitive dancers learn how to warm up properly, and they do cross-training which helps them to have body alignment, overall fitness and avoid injury.” 16 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN Now in its 13th season, Studio Three Dance offers students the opportunity to learn dance in an inviting, non-competitive environ- ment with great personal attention. The studio’s Artistic Director and owner Traci Dalke is a third-generation dancer in her own fam- ily and a former professional dancer who has been teaching children and adults since 1989. Dalke’s dance background is classical ballet and Broadway tap and jazz, and she brings that classical approach to her studio. “There is a recreational, social aspect of dance,” Dalke said, “and an aspirational, artistic one. We serve to both. I take a whole- child approach. Getting to know who the students are, in and out- side the studio, and putting myself in the par- ents’ shoes, helps maddie dalke me to personalize studio three dance the teaching. “Some kids are kinesthetic learners, and dance is a very natural means of self- expression. We want to tap into that through dance, to help them grow.” Studio Three Dance programs are geared to recreation, compe- tition and professional levels, with classes in tap, jazz, ballet, jazz funk/hip-hop and lyrical. Students as young as three years old can kick off their dance experience with a introductory class combining SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2015