Future of Opelika ballet studio threatened by COVID-19

Published: Feb. 12, 2021 at 2:54 PM EST
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OPELIKA, Ala. (WTVM) - On any given Tuesday night in Opelika, you can find more than just ballet being taught inside this studio.

“I gained a lot of confidence here,” said one of the Ballet Academy students.

“I can just let go and be myself,” said another.

“It’s given me a lot in my life. A lot of confidence. Good friends. Excellent posture. I have really good posture now,” said another student.

The COVID-19 pandemic, however, has threatened the existence of this studio.

Angela White owns the studio and teaches classes well into the evening, but by day she is a hero on the frontlines of the pandemic as a nurse practitioner.

“You have to be dedicated to really become proficient in classical ballet,” said White.

She has seen the effects of COVID-19 both in healthcare and as a business owner.

“Not without sacrifice. We’ve barely broken even ever. It’s my passion, and I’m trying to hang in there because they say a business has got to stay open seven years before you make a dime. I believe it. We’re hoping for that seven years. We’re going on our sixth season,” said White.

The studio is in survival mode and a quicker end to the pandemic would certainly help. One of her students took action into her own hands and set up a Gofundme page, and some donations have come in to help.

Her bookkeeper works the front office for free.

bregitti sumner | ballet academy volunteer

“She taught my daughter when she was very young. We had talked often about opening. She had wanted to open a studio. That was her dream. I told her ‘I’ll help you’,” said Bregitti Sumner, a Ballet Academy volunteer.

It’s been a team effort to keep the studio alive, for the love of dance.

Enrollment at the studio has been down during the pandemic, but they hope to recover this year.

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