Kids Etc’s Youth Movement Company (KEYMC) is about to dance into its 35th season.
In honour of the dance centre’s upcoming 35th anniversary, owner and director Rheesa Schachter hinted there may be a recital put on by her students, but those details are not finalized yet.
Schachter has been with KEYMC since its beginning. She founded the company when she was 15 years old, teaching jazz to 12 students out of a school auditorium. She later went on to York University for professional dance training, and she also obtained a business degree at the University of Manitoba.
"I decided that I was going to have a real job," Schachter said about putting her dance dreams on hold.
She worked at a bank for about nine months before realizing she couldn’t stay away from her true passion in life, which was dance.
"I called it my gestation period," Schachter said.
As a result, she set up shop and hasn’t looked back since. Since 1992, KEYMC has been at its 3525H Roblin Blvd. location. The studio went through an expansion in 2001, from 3,000 to 7,500 square feet.
Schachter said she enjoys seeing her previous students return to the studio with their own children, who are eager to learn to dance.
"Reflecting back, what has kept me in it has been the kids. My passion is for dance and also for children, and sharing the joy and love of dance with children, watching them develop and grow," Schachter said.
KEYMC used to offer just jazz, but now the centre has expanded its repertoire, with many trained professionals teaching jazz, tap, ballet, musical theatre, hip hop, lyrical, and modern dance.
There are about 20 teachers at KEYMC, ranging from an instructor who trained in Japan to a jazz teacher who has taught with Schachter since 1992.
"I think that we are truly a family," Schachter said. "Every season brings new challenges and new faces."
Kids at the age of two can start taking classes at KEYMC in programs that have been tailored and designed for preschoolers, which is something that attracted mother Susan Leonard.
Leonard, mother of two daughters, now six (soon to be seven) and 10, signed her kids up at KEYMC because it was one of the only studios that offered classes for two-year-olds.
Her eldest daughter has been dancing competitively for three years.
"The programs have been excellent. We have teachers that have been terrific, and they continue to upgrade their skills," Leonard said.
Although the company’s name puts the emphasis on the kids, there are also classes for adults.
"That’s what the ‘Etc’ is," Schachter said with a laugh. "Our oldest student is going to be 75 or 76 this year. We have some great adult programs. We have four adult classes."
For more information about KEYMC, visit wpgkidsetc.com or call 204-896-5172.