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Community strong: IGNITE Dance & Yoga grows skills, health and friendships in first two years
After 10 years of traveling the world working as a professional dancer for Holland America Cruise Line, and stints in California and Las Vegas, Katie Black decided she was ready for more. She pursued yoga training, getting certified though the world-recognized Yoga Alliance. Katie was ready for a new start. All she needed to do was find her roots.
It turned out that Black’s roots were waiting to grow right here in North Bend. Not long after opening the doors of her first business, IGNITE Dance & Yoga, two years ago this month, Katie knew she had made the right choice.
On any given day, IGNITE’s four classrooms are filled with students, young and old alike, learning new skills for life, staying fit and building friendships. It’s those friendships, those relationships, that led Katie to start this business in September of 2010. Connections between dancers, instructors, friends and neighbors are what have made IGNITE a success, and as it enters its third year, the studio continues to grow, Katie’s bold vision leading the way.
From those first days in 2010, when Katie and her family members ran the business and taught the classes, IGNITE has grown to nearly 30 instructors, together teaching more than 160 classes for adults and children every week
IGNITE offers dance and yoga classes for all ages, from young children to seniors. Beginning with the youngest students, there is the Spark! preschool enrichment program, and classes for youth including creative movement, ballet and tap, tumbling, boys’ break-dancing, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, musical theatre, acro (tumbling), and contemporary. Youth dance gives young people focus, strength and flexibility. Katie relates the story of one boy, Max, whose amazing acro and yoga class skills helped him make big plays on the baseball diamond, and had his buddies start signing up.
Adults can take part in several varieties of yoga, including, hot, warm, gentle, prenatal, Vinyasa and introductory classes, as well as monthly yoga workshops. Yoga has positively impacted all ages at IGNITE. Students have benefited from not only the physical demands of yoga, but also the emotional and mental challenges, helping with patience and stress reduction.
Zumba, a fast-moving, dance-centric workout, along with ballet, tap and Broadway-style dance classes are offered. Adults and teens explore acting concepts in an improv class.
In its first two years, the studio greatly expanded, from two dance rooms to three rooms to, this fall, four. The latest addition is the private, quiet, yoga “oasis,” a space for 25 people to practice. The new addition, which has its own landscaping, parking and entrance, gives IGNITE new visibility on the city’s main street, and Katie is understandably proud of it.
Katie believes IGNITE has a different feel from most studios, and that her students can sense this.
“It’s a community spirit,” she says. “My mission is to have a place where people can be themselves in a non-pretentious environment. Where people can really thrive and work to their fullest potential and feel like they have a family that supports them.”
It’s not about who’s the best dancer. Small stuff isn’t sweated.
“There’s no anxiety when you come in to take a class,” Katie says. “It’s down-to-earth, real people with incredible instruction.”
Visits to her family in Snoqualmie led Katie to try teaching classes on the Eastside. When her students’ parents began to request that she stay, the seeds of IGNITE were planted.
“I had traveled nationally, taught master classes, but you don’t see those kids improve every week,” she said. “I realized how important those relationships were to me—seeing the kids grow as dancers, being stable in their lives, being someone they could rely on.”
After two years of success, Katie smiles, and tears up, as she thinks about what the community support has meant for her.
“I love it so much,” she says. “Life has changed a lot. It’s so good. So good.”
The different faces of IGNITE—children’s classes, adult dance, yoga and competition teams—all intertwine. Dance and yoga encompass the whole family, and there is something for everyone.
For her staff, there are high expectations, but teachers rise to them. Katie emphasizes communication: “Making sure that we connect and that we have similar goals. I trust every single person that works here. We keep it healthy and happy.”
That welcoming feeling extends outside the exercise room. There is always a friendly face to answer questions at the front desk.
Katie has also improved much of the building, from expansion to landscaping to customizing the top quality sprung dance floors—which are husband Gavin’s Black’s specialty, designed for less impact—and fewer aches—in the dancers’ legs.
Katie isn’t hesitant to try new ideas—as long as they fit into her vision of helping her customers, students and families have a better experience.
IGNITE gives its youth dancers the opportunity to earn their spot on traveling competition teams, and shows their moves at regional and national events.
Starting with 20 children and teens in the first year, in 2012 there were 90 youths who came to audition, which amazed Katie.
Not everyone makes it, but the opportunity helps every student move toward their potential. Competition team members take advanced classes, bond as a team, and practice extra, simply for their love of dance and commitment to each other. The teams, like other classes at IGNITE, lead to lifetime friendships.
When classes are fun, families can be deeply involved. Katie points out the annual Dads’ Dance, which is held for every youth recital. Students’ fathers perform a dance all their own, getting in on the fun. In 2011, they were the “Blues Brothers.” This year was the dance of the “Disco Dads.”
“When dance is your passion, and you’re serious about it, it becomes your family,” Katie says. “It’s about more than classes. It’s about relationships.”
Yoga Oasis opens
IGNITE Dance & Yoga holds a special grand opening for its new Yoga Oasis, all day Sunday, Sept. 16.
There will be live music, massage demos, lots of giveaways and prizes, and other special events.
For the open house, the studio is partnering with Pioneer Coffee, QFC, Emerald City Smoothie, Birches Habitat, George’s Bakery, The Valley Theatre, Selah Gifts, and North Bend Bar and Grill. It’s a great opportunity to find out what the studio has to offer for your family.
• IGNITE is located at 472 East North Bend Way. Learn more about classes or sign up at www.ignitedanceandyoga.com, call (425) 292-9880, or e-mail to email@example.com.