Undergoing not one but two major facility expansions since its founding in 2011 says something about our community’s thirst for art education: The large draw to Elite Dance Center (EDC) shows that the youth are anxious for quality arts education and excited to find a program with such distinctive training in dance.
“It means a lot to see the studio grow year after year. And not just by the numbers but in the number of dedicated students ready to work and excited to express their artistry,” says Christina Root, owner and director of Elite Dance Center.
Root always knew starting her own dance studio was what she was meant to do. “I loved performing more than anything as a kid, but when I was in high school and all the way through college, teaching dance and choreographing became an even bigger passion for me,” says Root.
After establishing herself as one of the premiere dance instructors and choreographers in Indiana, Root saw a need for a studio like EDC in her hometown. “As I was getting my degree in Elementary Education and Mild Intervention at the University of Saint Francis, I realized that opening a studio was definitely the path for me. I get to combine my degree and passion for the arts every day at EDC.”
Her enthusiasm for arts education through dance is what prompted Root to create a dance studio unlike anything Fort Wayne had seen before. “I have searched high and low to bring my dancers the absolute best faculty in the area,” emphasizes Root. EDC has a resident faculty that includes a director of a local contemporary company, a professional ballet dancer and dancers who have worked extensively in various aspects of the dance industry.
“All of my faculty have been dancing almost their entire lives and have traveled the country seeking the best dance training they can find.”
Not only does EDC host an impeccable resident faculty, it also brings in master teachers to host workshops that are open to the public. “These master teachers come from as far as New York and Los Angeles, and have things like Broadway shows, performing with the Rockettes and touring the world with major recording artists on their resumes,” explains Root.
EDC offers children ages three to 18 training in all styles of dance. And while it has a thriving recreational program for the young dancer interested in training an hour a week, what makes EDC unique is its customizable competitive program. The competitive program is divided into part-time and full-time schedules based on commitment level.
“My competitive dancers train five days a week in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and pointe, and have the opportunity to travel upwards of a dozen times a year to competitions and conventions. These dancers work to not only establish themselves as serious artists locally but on a national level as well by furthering their training with some of the country’s best teachers and choreographers,” explains Root.
The benefits to training at EDC go beyond the immediate results in students’ dancing. “My daughter Caroline has grown tremendously with her dance skills and those skills spilled into other aspects of her life. She developed confidence, an incredible work ethic, discipline and teamwork and leadership skills that will serve her in and out of the dance studio for the rest of her life,” says Carol Thelen, parent of a current EDC dancer.
Root is proud of the program at EDC, explaining that it fits and nourishes everyone’s needs.
“Mentally, my daughter has a great attitude about herself and the other kids she dances with. Physically, she has become stronger and more coordinated. Everyone who works at EDC is so professional, kind and welcoming!” say Chuck and Kara Pastor, current EDC parents and owners of Chop’s Steaks & Seafood.
One thing EDC emphasizes for its students is the importance of community and staying engaged with the culture of arts surrounding them. Root and her dancers are involved in numerous charitable events and organizations that promote youth fitness and healthy living. In just the past year, EDC worked with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Taste of the Arts, the SPCA CatWalk, the Carriage House’s Fort Wayne Dancing with the Stars, the Heart Walk, Project READS and Fort4Fitness. “We raise money, volunteer, perform—anything we can do to help.”
For Root, expanding arts education in Fort Wayne is a personal mission. “I’m fortunate to be able to pursue what I love most. And to share that with the community I grew up in is so rewarding. EDC hopes to become a long-lasting staple in the Fort Wayne arts community by being involved and helping to educate our youth in the performing arts,” says Root.
“Moving forward from our five year anniversary, my hope is the studio will continue to grow as it has been and to see that our reputation is firmly established in town as a performing arts staple working with the community to grow,” says Root.
EDC is looking forward to growing along with Fort Wayne’s bright vision for its future. In the same way the city is working to establish itself as a vibrant Midwest destination, so too is EDC striving to become a powerhouse dance studio in the region.
“My hope is that our uniqueness in training and artistry becomes undeniable to dancers in Fort Wayne and we continue to attract hard working, dedicated students who love to dance!”
Upcoming EDC Performances
The EDC 2016 Showcase
Sunday, May 22 at Carroll High School
1 p.m. - Junior Dancer Showcase
5 p.m. - Advanced Dancer Showcase
Young Choreographers Showcase
Thursday, June 9 at the downtown Allen County Public Library
A student-run show featuring original dance choreography from local youth.
Owner(s): Christina Root
Address: 1583 West Dupont Road Fort Wayne, Indiana 46825
Phone: (260) 739-7738
Years in Business: 5
Number of Employees: 10
Products & Services: Recreational and advanced competitive dance training for kids age 3-18 in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and tumbling.