The studio has grown from just eight students to 140 in the last 15 years.
ADAMS, Mass. — Jaclyn Grabicki was a sophomore at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts when she started up her own dance studio with eight students.
This weekend, she is celebrating her 15th year with a performance featuring 140 current students and another nine former students.
Dancecapade School of Dance will hold its annual production at Berkshire Community College in Pittsfield at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m.
The two-hour performance features 40 dances in an array of styles — from ballet to hip hop to tap. Tickets are $12.
For the anniversary, Grabicki said she has brought back former students who have since moved on to college, gotten married or even had children.
"Some of these girls haven't danced with me in four to five years," Grabicki said on Friday.
While the 15 years may have flown by for Grabicki, seeing these former students and a prepared photo slide show will certainly bring back memories.
She recalled on Friday how worried she was in her first few years when some of the few students she had dropped out. But she always knew she wanted to teach dance and kept up with the latest trends and, in return, her classes grew and the company grew out of two locations.
"I started out teaching in a one-room studio and every year it gets bigger and bigger. I needed more space," Grabicki said, whose studio is on Spring Street. "I knew that this was what I wanted to do and to see the progress of the kids give me such great joy."
One of her current students have been with her for all 15 years — starting at age 2. Seeing the students grow over the years is what Grabicki cherishes the most. But it wasn't just the number of students that have grown. The staff has grown as well. Grabicki teaches about 20 classes a week but with the growing number of students she had to hire five additional instructors.
Most of the classes are for school age children — ages three to 17 — but Grabicki also teaches adult classes too. Outside of the classes, in 2000 she added a competition team that travels to places like Florida, Boston or New York to compete.
"They run totally on fundraising," Grabicki said. "These are the ones that are really involved in the studio."
That team started with only four students to 17 members this this year, she said.
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