As it is said: "When one door closes, another door opens." This is often true and, fortunately for Columbia and its surrounding areas, the Columbia School of Performing Arts (CSPA) has opened a studio in the former Wall Candy space on the downtown Square. Here you will find dancers, yogis and fitness devotees twirling, swirling and stretching on shiny hardwood floors in multiple studios.
CSPA is owned by Megan White and Jana Christensen who also co-own the Franklin School of Performing Arts (FSPA), which they bought from their dance teacher Kaylee Cahoon. Megan and Jana started dancing with Kaylee more than 20 years ago when she opened up the studio after moving from NYC and falling in love with Middle Tennessee.
Megan and Jana both live in Columbia and wanted to start their second location in their hometown. And both ladies hold impressive credentials that qualify them to run two studios concurrently, as well as teach classes - from ballet, tap, jazz and modern to yoga, Zumba, pilates and adult dance.
Jana, the artistic director of FSPA, has had students go on to nationally recognized college dance programs, as well as students dancing on Broadway. Jana is also a certified Pilates instructor who has been to training in New York, Colorado and New Mexico. Jana's personal goal as a dance teacher is to instill correct alignment and body patterns in her students through the art of dance.
"We want to provide a community oriented space for wellness with multiple modalities of health. For children, this may look like classic dance classes that focus on the whole person. Our comprehensive dance program not only teaches dance technique, but it also encourages kids to use movement as an expressive outlet with improvisation and composition. In addition, we reinforce dance history so they know their personal dance lineage, and lay a strong foundation in proper body mechanics to prevent injury and allow for a life time of dancing," explains Jana.
Megan, who has been teaching dance and fitness in the Middle Tennessee area for 15 years, is currently the Executive Director of FSPA. She has studied dance in Nashville, New York and California over the past 20 years. Megan's students have gone to dance with internationally recognized programs, such as the American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Alvin Ailey, Next Generation Ballet, Scripps College, and Florida State University. Megan is passionate about teaching movement to all, whether it be dance or fitness. She holds a Bachelor’s in Science in Psychology, Dance and Nutrition, and is currently seeking her Master’s in Graduates Studies in Dance Movement Therapy.
"Coming from a dance background, it is important for me to continue to be part of community of movers who look at fitness and movement in a holistic way," says Megan. "When we're young we run around and play constantly challenging our bodies in new fun ways. As kids, you don't think of the monkey bars or rolling on the floor as work, but rather as fun. As a society, we have moved away from functional movement in play and work, and now find ourselves more sedentary than ever, and our movements have become very two dimensional. With classes like adult dance and mind-body fitness practices like pilates and yoga, we are challenging gravity with our movements and looking at new ways of moving through space."
Several other talented teachers are also teaching at CSPA. Children and teen dance classes begin this week, including ballet, modern, jazz, tap and hip hop. CSPA even offers a special needs class taught by Dr. Betsy Davis, a Licensed Occupational Therapist and former dancer. While some classes are already full, there are others that still have availability.
Fitness classes begin in September, including pilates, yoga, Zumba and adult dance classes. What's nice is that some classes run concurrent with youth classes, meaning you can work out while your child is in dance.
For more information and the full dance & fitness schedules, please click HERE.