The creative atmosphere is undeniable at the new Rise Dance Center located at 4489 Commons Drive in Destin. Each time the door opens, upbeat music and laughter wafts out and to many passersby, the positive energy is contagious. This is exactly the atmosphere that owners Lorraine and Eric Christen hoped to create when launching the dance studio last week.
“I’ve always wanted to do this since I was a child,” said Lorraine Christen. “There are a lot of wonderful studios in the area, but they are very traditional.”
Christen, who hails from Mobile Ala., said that her vision for the studio is to incorporate as many dance styles as she can and encourage people of all ages to join in the joy of dancing.
“We offer dance from age two all the way up to adult classes,” she said. “We have creative movement classes for the young ones and an all boys hip-hop class to try to get more boys in here, and we have dance-based fitness classes for adults.”
As the weeks and months progress, Christen said she will be adding new classes and listed off several dance styles that will be offered.
“We will definitely have ballet, jazz and tap, and we will also be featuring hip-hop and Acro, which is what you often see in ‘So You Think You Can Dance,’” she said. “We will also be offering contemporary, creative movement, musical theater and improv.”
Christen, who will be one of the center’s dance instructors, began dancing at the young age of four. She attended Sheffield School of the Dance in Mobile, and eventually moved on to work at a large dance studio in Orlando. While there, she brushed shoulders with the likes of Mia Michaels, Cris Judd, Stephen 'Twitch’ Boss, and Alex Magno, many of the best choreographers and dancers in the industry. She also took part in several dance and theater collaborative with the many amusement parks in the Orlando area.
Now, taking all of her knowledge and inspiration, Christen said she is excited to finally see her dream of opening a dance studio come to fruition.
“When I first moved here in 2005, I wanted to stay in dance, but that is when my career in marketing and public relations really took off,” she said. “For seven years, dance went to the side, and it wasn’t until after I had my kids and I enrolled my daughter in dance class that I realized that’s where my heart is.”
Christen said her inspiration to launch the studio came through reading the book, “Daring Greatly” by Brene Brown.
“In the book it talks about being vulnerable and how by taking chances in any part of your life can allow you to achieve great things,” said Christen. “That’s what really inspired me because I’d been sitting on the sidelines for a long time.”
Christen said she uses this inspirational approach in every facet of the new studio, from hiring instructors, to bringing in local organization art collaborations, and especially towards her clients young and old.
“I believe in business integrity, and focusing on value of your customers,” she said. “If you can deliver on what you promise, you will do well.”
For more information on the Rise Dance Center visit www.risedancedestin.com