Dance studio changes hands 0
Chyna Schell, 23, is the new director of Haliburton Dance Academy Ð formerly Haliburton Dance Arts. She bought the business from Terri Mathews, who will continue instructing at the dance studio on Maple Avenue in Haliburton. JENN WATT/HALIBURTON ECHO/QMI AGENCY
Chyna Schell has been dreaming of running Haliburton Dance Arts since she was 14.
That was when she and the owner of the studio, Terri Mathews, first started talking about it.
"She had such a focus even then. She always cared more about the studio . more than just an employee or a dancer," Mathews says.
When Mathews decided she wanted to focus on instructing rather than managing, Schell was the obvious fit.
"She's somebody who has that love for it. She would be the perfect person to carry it on," she says.
Under Schell's ownership, the name will change to Haliburton Dance Academy, but the familiar acronym HDA will remain.
"It's to signify the change and [show] it's a new leaf turned over," Schell says of the switch.
The 23-year-old is thrilled to be taking over the 16-year-old business where she learned to dance.
"I grew up dancing here. I would not be the person I am today with HDA," she says.
Schell is a practitioner of nearly every type of dance except ballroom, which she has less experience with.
She has danced all over the province in Toronto, Ottawa and Huntsville, as well as Australia, where she lived for a year.
While she has great affection and respect for the way Mathews ran HDA, Schell has a few of her own ideas.
She wants to start a new class for five- to seven-year-olds that includes no performance and no costumes, just acrobatic gymnastics.
She plans to introduce optional competitions after recitals for those kids who are interested. She also has renovations to the Maple Street location in mind to spruce things up.
HDA serves the widest demographics possible with students ranging from 18 months old to well into their senior years. They currently have about 75 dancers, but Schell wants to bump those numbers to around 150.
Dance has changed her life, Schell says, and she hopes HDA under her watch will continue to change the lives of others.
"My mom always said any money put into dance was an investment," she says. "It's not just a sport . it's an investment in children's lives."
Haliburton Dance Academy is located at 41 Maple Ave. in Haliburton. You can contact Schell at email@example.com or by calling 705-457-5388. More information can be found at www.haliburtondanceacademy.com.
This weekend is the group's year-end show at the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion. There are performances on Friday, May 25 at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 26 at 1 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Tickets are sold at The Photo Shop on Highland Street and cost $15.