December 1, 2022


Art and Entertainment

DK Dance Studio relocates, expands

ALTON — A single of the city’s best saved insider secrets is about to be its biggest buzz.

DK Dance Productions, started and owned by Darci Kay Ward of Jerseyville, is shut to opening its new much larger Alton studio and filling a vacancy at a acquainted formerly vacant creating. DK Dance’s Alton studio, previously on Point out Avenue, now occupies a more substantial place at Alton Cyclery’s former constructing, 3100 Homer M. Adams Parkway. It also is introducing an elite and competitive cheer crew in Alton. 

Classes are for age 18 months and more mature, including a senior faucet with dancers in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Prep clinics for cheer workforce auditions on Wednesday, July 20, and Thursday, July 21, are open to the community and cost-free to show up at.

There will be a tryout for the cheer staff subsequent the clinics.

“We system to contend twice in the spring,” claimed Ward, who cheered for specialist athletics teams all over school at Missouri Valley School in Marshall, Missouri. She gained her MBA from Lindenwood College in St. Charles, Missouri.

DK Dance Productions will host an open up home with registration for its academy non-aggressive side of classes 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, July 30.

“I describe our courses as ‘pick your own adventure’ at 30 minutes as soon as a 7 days,” Ward claimed. “It’s dance that is not aggressive, so I often say it can be pick your possess experience.”

Ward has constructed her enterprise solely on her enthusiasm for dance, instructing dance and sharing her enjoy of dance with other people who also like dance. 

“I’ve been educating there a 12 months and I like it,” explained dance instructor Sarah Goins, of Alton.

The new Alton locale is set to open Monday, Aug. 8.

“We are in a new making and included two new teams — a cheer crew and an academy level of competition workforce, which does not need as a great deal dedication and investment decision as an elite team. There is a large amount of good points coming,” reported Ward, 43, who begun dancing at age 3.

During the height of the pandemic, DK Dance Productions retained its little ones dancing on the net during shut downs. Ward structured a dance recital, class by class, at the Godfrey Knights of Columbus corridor.

“We introduced the kids’ dad and mom in for each individual course,” Ward recalled. “Technically we did, like, 80 reveals amongst the Alton and Florissant spots. A couple months later we opened in Jerseyville.

“I had a good deal of other dance studios get hold of me about how we dealt with COVID,” she stated. “We pivoted that speedy to hold young ones dancing.”

Alton’s DK Dance Productions opened in 2017, Ward’s 2nd locale between 3. The original in Florissant, Missouri, opened in 2006 and features an elite competitive dance group. The 3rd is in Jerseyville where by Ward grew up and graduated from Jersey Neighborhood Large College.

She under no circumstances truly imagined she’d dwell in Jerseyville once again, and lived in St. Charles, Missouri, prior to relocating back to Jerseyville seven a long time in the past with her spouse, Mark Thompson, and their son, Zac, 9, bringing them closer to spouse and children.

Her mom, Debbie Kay Ward, was identified with Lou Gehrig’s Ailment, recognized as ALS, in February 2020.

“She declined swiftly and we lost her very last May possibly, in 2021,” Ward stated. “I was 1 of her caregivers, alongside with my father, my brothers and their spouses, and family members friends, in the course of the summer time of 2020. I’m so tremendous grateful that I experienced that time with my mother.”

Amid COVID’s peak, Alton Cyclery closed and the building went up for sale.

“Enrollment picked back again up and, as enrollment grew to become additional like it after was, we imagined about shifting properties,” Ward mentioned.

She and her husband appeared at the setting up a number of times and set in an give, but their offer you was turned down.

While even now grieving her mother’s dying, she opened DK Dance Productions’ Jerseyville place. Ward was diagnosed with breast most cancers in fall 2021, five months to the day her mother died.

“I was like, ‘Now this. Am I at any time likely to capture a crack?'” she explained with characteristic levity and perception. “The very first thing I considered was, ‘Zac’s not heading to have a mother.'”

At the commencing of December 2021, Ward underwent a double mastectomy. However she in no way shed sight of her passion for dance and escalating DK Dance Productions.

“I experienced the surgical procedures and considered, ‘I’m in form, I’m going to be high-quality,'” she said. “But I could not carry a cup espresso. I could not costume myself. I couldn’t travel or carry my hands about my head. This went all by way of Christmas it was awful.”

In the course of that time, a person acquired the cyclery making. Ward, encouraged by her husband, questioned the new proprietor about leasing the building, but the charge was also a lot. She had an additional surgery in March, her past treatment pertaining to the mastectomy. 

“They cleared me my pathology was superior,” she explained. “Technically I’m most cancers free.”

Then the owner of the cyclery developing contacted Ward and mentioned they would work with her on a lease.

“We arrived to an being familiar with, so they leased the creating and we began the establish out,” she mentioned. “We’re close to the finish line.

“I’m wonderful with it,” she explained. “What I’ve been by means of the previous two to three many years with my business, my mom, myself, this is smaller potatoes.”

DK Dance Productions has about 600 pupils involving its a few destinations, and Ward claimed they are bringing new courses to entire steam between the 3 destinations.

Ward wished to expand the aggressive dance crew chances at Florissant with no requiring as much of a determination as the elite team.

“Young children want to be involved in other functions, and it can be up to the moms and dads to make these types of a large determination, just like with other athletics, this sort of as baseball or hockey,” she mentioned. “It is a time and cash motivation. It can be critical for me to offer a little something with out this kind of an financial commitment.”

In addition to the cheer application, the DK Stars dance programming will be out there at the Alton and Jerseyville areas.

“Individuals groups will do a few competitions and have class just one evening a week,” Ward mentioned.

“I am most enthusiastic about the aggressive cheer plan to the space, which will be the only 1,” she stated. “We’ve often targeted on dance due to the fact we did not have a facility to have a cheer method. Now is the time to increase a program like this. It truly is gotten warm. There is the Netflix exhibit ‘Cheer.’ It’s time to do this. We have employed coaches whose little ones actually danced on competitive groups and their moms had been cheerleaders and they both of those are from Alton.”

The Alton new cheer staff plan coaches are Kate Hoefert and Chakia Wallace.

DK Dance Productions belongs to A lot more Than Just Excellent Dancing, a community of about 300 studios globally held to the optimum expectations.

“It truly is tremendous critical to me to proceed schooling,” Ward explained. “Our leadership crew, as effectively as our instructors, does this as a result of this business.

“A different point, all of our staff members is YPAD-accredited (Youth Security Advocates of Dance),” she mentioned. “Everyone’s track record is checked they are very first assist and CPR qualified, and we are certified in wellness and training for our dancers.

“We’re the only studio in the whole St. Louis area in this business, which I consider, in the planet we reside in, anyone requires to be background checked when functioning with young children.”

For a lot more details take a look at and DK Dance Studio’s Fb website page or Instagram. For facts on the Alton area connect with 618-433-9774 for its Jerseyville location contact 618-556-7005.