By Carlee Frank
Dance is defined as, “to move rhythmically to music.” However, at Kay Duffy’s School of Dance, it is so much more –students make lasting friendships and learn valuable lessons. This is no surprise when the instructors are so passionate.
“For me, it was like dance was my way into figuring out the world,” Margaret Duffy, co-owner of Kay Duffy’s, said.
The school of dance was founded in 1955 by Margaret’s mother, Katherine (Kay) Duffy. Kay studied and taught dance for years, and finally wanted to break out on her own.
In the early 1980s, after Margaret completed a degree in dance, she moved back to the area to co-own Kay Duffy’s with her mother.
Kay Duffy’s is located at 60 S Cascade Drive. Classes in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop and Irish are taught to students ages 3-18 years old. The season runs from September to June, concluding with a recital at the Springville High School.
Duffy explained that dance studios are much different now than they used to be. There used to be many more, and each studio was full of students.
“Way back when, when my mom opened the studio, there weren’t many sports for girls. Almost every little girl took dance as a physical activity to do,” Duffy said.
Over the years, sports have been made more available to girls, especially since Title IX was enacted in 1972. Duffy said she is not upset by the decreasing number of students to dance because she simply wants to see children up and moving.
“Dance isn’t for everyone,” Duffy noted, “We’re another physical option for people.”
She also notices influxes of students to sports and activities that do well in the Olympics. For example, when Mary Lou Retton won gold in 1984, many students took up gymnastics.
Duffy said it is so easy to live life by your thumbs nowadays, that no matter your activity of choice, a sound mind and a sound body are important.
She is the main instructor at Kay Duffy’s and said in the first couple of weeks of class, she gets many knee hugs from the young students. They learn simple things such as front and back in ballet, how to form a line and how to listen to a teacher.
“Working with kids is wonderful,” Duffy said, “I can literally write a book and a half on the funny things kids have said to me.”
She said she knows that it’s often hard on parents to see their children grow up and move on, but it is one of her favorite parts. She is always proud to see students move on to a career in dance, but said she’s just as excited when they enter college to study engineering, education, or anything else.
With Duffy’s current students, she said she’d love to start performing at more community events and businesses, such as the Jennie B. Richmond Nursing Home. Her students also perform an annual recital, and some compete in the recreational level Summerdanse Competition at Maryvale High School in May.
Duffy said dance is what helped her get through her angsty teen years, as well as figure out school.
“In school, history dates were a total mess for me until I equated them with the types of dance styles I knew were from certain eras,” Duffy said.
She also finds herself unconsciously dancing along to the music in grocery stores. If you are nodding your head right now because you do the same thing, maybe you should go to Kay Duffy’s School of Dance!
Classes start at 4 p.m. on weekdays and early Saturday mornings.
For more information, visit their website at http://kayduffyschoolofdance.com/ or the Kay Duffy’s Facebook page.