Where should I begin? My name is April and I’m addicted to dancing. I’ve been dancing for almost 31 years and I’m pretty sure I can’t stop. Dance for me was never about performing, it was about dancing from my soul. To me it was a way of releasing what’s inside rather than putting on a sparkly costume. I was never that girl. I was the rule breaker. I was much more interested in creating the dances, rather than performing them. Still to this day, I would rather be back stage than perform. It’s not a matter of stage fright nor performance anxiety, I just prefer to let my dancers shine. Dancing is not about me. For me, dancing is about teaching these dancers something about themselves. Dancing is teaching them something that they didn’t know they had inside of them.
I started assistant teaching back in 1997 with The Studio School of Dance in Paducah, KY. Miss Carlene had a baby and I filled in as her assistant to help my mom pay for my dance lessons. When Miss Carlene decided to close her studio and move on, I joined Center Stage Performing Arts and continued my dance studies and joined the competitive troupe. While I loved all the dancers I was in the troupe with, I knew competitive dancing was something I would never have pursued on my own. When I went off to college at Murray State University, I continued my dancing with the Racer Girls Dance Team and a minor in dance. Unfortunately, I was more worried about socializing than an actual education and left Murray the following semester. In 2005, I found myself living in Louisville, KY and decided I was ready to open my own dance studio. I offered several classes to children and adults and with out lack of real advertising, I closed it four months later. In 2009, I found myself teaching dance to special needs adults at the art center I worked at. After months of deliberation, Sassafras Dance Company was born. I taught after hours at my job for almost a year before branching out into wide open spaces. In 2011, the Pink Ladies Movement was founded. Raising money for Breast Cancer Awareness by performance. I founded a troupe of eight ladies which grew to almost thirty ladies by the time it ended. In Feb 2012, my husband and I decided to move home to Paducah, KY and open a second branch of Sassafras. Business was booming as I was a big fish in a small pond here in my hometown. We put on lavish shows which were accompanied with live music and food. Sassafras thrived and I took on co owners in 2014. We opened our classes up to children as well as adults. We decided to renovate a building in historic downtown Paducah in the summer of 2014 and that’s where Sassafras’ journey started to come to an end. I had to have surgery in November and my health conditions only became worse. By December 2014, we decided to close the company as it became too stressful with my recent health conditions.
Now my dance journey is a that of a much small scale and I’m ok with that. I know what I want and don’t want out of dance. I have redirected my thoughts to what is important to me. I no longer work with adults as children are my true passion. I’ve taught hundreds of dancers over the years from ages three to eighty. I love them all regardless of their capabilities. I love showing them how to unleash something inside that they did not know existed. I’m not a fan of competitive dancing and I make that very vocal in our community. I see it as a waste of money and nothing more than self validation. If a dancer needs more opportunities to perform, go outside! Perform! Perform where ever you feel like it! Dancing is a performance art and can be expressed anywhere. You don’t need fifty trophies on a shelf to prove that you can dance. In the real world, none of that matters. What matter is the training and tools you have received to prepare yourself. Many dancers never go on to become professionals and that’s ok! Dancing helps provide discipline and structure for your everyday life.
I look forward to my new dance journey and can’t wait to share it with you!