Pike Road Dance Academy ready to compete in Montgomery

·4 min read
Pike Road Dance Academy competition and creative director Britney Schremser (far left), Academy founder Raquel Whitehead (middle), and dance instructor Lauran Harrision are preparing the Academy's three teams for competition in early February.
Pike Road Dance Academy competition and creative director Britney Schremser (far left), Academy founder Raquel Whitehead (middle), and dance instructor Lauran Harrision are preparing the Academy's three teams for competition in early February.

Pike Road Dance Academy founder Raquel Whitehead will lead three teams in competition next month at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre, confirming her belief that Pike Road was ready for more arts.

The former professional dancer said Pike Road has graciously supported the Academy since she opened the business in 2020 at the historic Marks House.

“I saw that there was a need for a dance studio in Pike Road and that we desperately needed more awareness brought to the arts in our community,” she said. “The town has been so supportive and the families that are in our studio are quite possibly the best families out there. Pike Road has been a wonderful community to open my business in.”

Whitehead is one of many entrepreneurs who have found growing Pike Road fertile ground for making their dreams of business ownership come true.

The PRDA Mini Elite, Premier, and Elite teams are preparing for their season which starts Feb. 4 at the Dance Masters of America MPAC event.

Most of the Academy’s students come from Pike Road, east Montgomery, and even Tallassee, Whitehead said, adding that when the school opened in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, she was blown away by the overwhelming support from the community.

The school’s new location is 232 West Elizabeth Lane in Pike Road.

“We started in the historic Marks House, and we quickly outgrew it. Our new facility and property came just at the right time and has been such a blessing,” she said. “Our new facility is in the middle of Pike Road. It is located right off of the new Pike Road overpass/exit off of the interstate. It is on the service road to the left as you get off of the exit. It is the perfect location for us, and we absolutely love it.”

The Pike Road Dance Academy Elite team is working hard to be ready for a Feb. 4 appearance at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.
The Pike Road Dance Academy Elite team is working hard to be ready for a Feb. 4 appearance at the Montgomery Performing Arts Centre.

The Academy offers nine levels of dance classes ranging from beginner, intermediate to advanced, and competition style (professional) instruction. The classes were developed for beginners all the way to more serious dancers seeking a progressive curriculum.

Whitehead, who earned a double degree in communication studies and dance from the University of Alabama, is an accomplished dancer who has studied and danced with The Alabama School of Fine Arts, the prestigious Julliard School, the Kirov Academy of Ballet, and the Hungarian Dance Academy in Budapest.

“I have danced professionally for a little over 15 years and teaching has always been a passion of mine. I started teaching at my mother’s studio in Prattville (CJ's Dance Factory) when I was very young and fell in love with teaching children the love of dance and the arts,” Whitehead said. “When my own children became a little older, I knew I would have time to dedicate to opening my own studio and being able to pass my love of the arts to our youth.”

The Pike Road Dance Academy Mini Elite team is preparing for their season which starts Feb. 4 at a Dance Masters of America event in downtown Montgomery.
The Pike Road Dance Academy Mini Elite team is preparing for their season which starts Feb. 4 at a Dance Masters of America event in downtown Montgomery.

She has also danced professionally in Italy, France, and Germany. She competed in the Miss Texas and Miss Alabama America Organizations for five years. During that time, she was crowned Miss Dallas, Miss Fountain City, and Miss Wiregrass Area.

Whitehead believes that dancing and the arts are especially important in today’s challenging culture.

“Dance is an artistic outlet for all children that allows everyone to express themselves in a positive way. This is so important in the generation that we are raising,” she said. “Dance brings positivity with music and rhythm to all children. There are so many genres of dance to choose from to express yourself in different ways. There's ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop, acro, modern, and contemporary. All of these allow for all types of expressions of the body without using words. This is a benefit to children who are still trying to find the words to express themselves.”

The Pike Road Dance Academy Premier team will begin their season Feb. 4 at a Dance Masters of America event in downtown Montgomery.
The Pike Road Dance Academy Premier team will begin their season Feb. 4 at a Dance Masters of America event in downtown Montgomery.

Whitehead has been teaching all genres of dance for 18 years. She also has taught for The Academy of Ballet and Jazz (ABJ) in Tuscaloosa and was the school director for The Montgomery Ballet.

To take classes at the Academy, a child needs only the proper attire for each class. All of the attire requirements as well as other information are listed on the school website at www.pikeroaddance.com.

“We offer classes starting from 18 months old all the way to 18 years,” Whitehead said. “We offer ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, gymnastics, hip hop, and contemporary. We prepare students for the professional dance world, college, world renowned competitions, and auditions of any type.”

This article originally appeared on Montgomery Advertiser: Pike Road Dance Academy ready to compete in Montgomery

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