Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy students perform at a recital. With Zoom classes, outdoor classes and video critiques, academy  owner Maria Huber-Mitchelson said, “We danced our way through this pandemic.”

Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy students perform at a recital. With Zoom classes, outdoor classes and video critiques, academy owner Maria Huber-Mitchelson said, “We danced our way through this pandemic.”

Photo provided by Maria Huber-Mitchelson


Dance studio celebrates survival through pandemic

By: Kara Szymanski | Shelby - Utica News | Published June 24, 2021

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SHELBY TOWNSHIP — The pandemic was tough on everyone, and for the youth, the pandemic really shook things up and challenged them.

For local businesses, there were many new requirements and changes made. A local dance studio in Shelby Township, where many kids attend their dance classes, had to make many of these changes to keep its kids safe.

Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy is now celebrating its success in keeping its dance students safe, making it through the pandemic without having to close its doors, and having kept up with all the regulations during the pandemic.

Kristen Yerkovich, a proud parent of two dancers and patron of RPDA for over 12 years, said the pandemic has been challenging for the dancers.

“It has been a challenging year, but this studio pulled out all (the) stops to keep our dancers safe and doing what they loved. They have so many fun summer camps coming up that the local community could sign up for, too. All in a safe manner. Our studio owner endured the pandemic, kept our kids safe, and we made it,” she said.

She said Rhythm Pointe made it through the tough year with all the changes and new regulations that were required of businesses for so long.

“We did not have any cases that stemmed from our studio during the year. Kids that were quarantined were exposed at schools but not at our studio. Our studio owner did an amazing job keeping kids safe and allowing them to do what they loved,” she said.

Once some businesses were able to reopen, many were forced to compromise in order to keep customers and employees safe, if they did get to reopen.    

Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy in Shelby Township is one of these businesses that was forced to close for months and then was able to reopen, but with new guidelines.    

The academy decided that, in order to keep everyone as safe as possible, it would begin to host dance lessons outdoors.

The students practice so that they can compete in competitions each year. The classes are for participants of all ages.

Yerkovich said Rhythm Pointe took many safety precautions last year to keep the kids dancing and did an amazing job.

“It was a fun, safe environment, and the owner and instructors did so much to allow the kids to do what they love,” she said.

She said it was hard on her kids during the months when the academy was forced to close. She said they will now be able to hold their recitals for everyone to enjoy.

Rhythm Pointe’s annual recital was held on June 17 in two shows; the dance studio was not able to host a recital last year.

“Rhythm Pointe was unable to host our annual recital in 2020 due to the pandemic, but we made it through and are hosting it this year with an art show, DJ, celebration, etc.,” she said. “This year’s title to the event is: “There’s No Stopping Us” to celebrate making it through the pandemic.”

Maria Huber-Mitchelson, the owner of Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy, said that the change in holding dance lessons outdoors has gone pretty well, despite the heat.

“Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy made it through the pandemic and continues to push. Between online Zoom classes, outdoor classes and video critiques, we danced our way through this pandemic. We refuse to give up. Dancing is our safe place. It clears our minds and builds us up internally,” said Huber-Mitchelson.

The academy now teaches outdoor classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, technique, strength and stretch, improv, and progressions.

For more information, call the studio at (586) 726-9565 or email rhythmpointedanceacademy@comcast.net.

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