My name is T’Kea Le Grande and I am the owner of Avalon Dance Studio. Our facility offers an environment for young dancers to build their skills and passion for dance. It allows them to express their artistic abilities through the movement of dance in a variety of styles, like: ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop and tap.
Avalon Dance has been opened since 2008 and my goal is to build strong, confident artists for the future. This is accomplished by offering a strong technical foundation through classical and eclectic styles of dance.
As a young child, I always wanted to open my own dance company. Specifically, one that was targeted to children with Down Syndrome. I recall many years ago taking a dance class with a young lady with this disability and it truly drew on my heart. The level of passion, dedication and love for dance stuck with me and I knew I wanted to offer a safe haven for these amazing individuals.
There are so many things that I love about being a small business owner, but the biggest thing is having the freedom of creativity. As the Artistic Director for countless choreographed segments, including Clare and the Chocolate Nutcracker, Orlando Magic, the girl band Cassiopeia and the University of Central Florida, I am blessed to have the opportunity to express my creative side through dance.
The biggest challenge of owning a small business are the unexpected challenges and uncontrollable situations that impact the operations of my business. Most recently, I’ve had challenges with lease negotiations as well as facing systemic racism.
I have a lot of plans for Avalon Dance; one of which is to tap into the original goal I had as a young girl. And that was creating a dance program that allows children with all levels of disabilities the opportunity to express themselves on the dance floor and on stage.
Another goal of mine which I recently accomplished, was publishing my own book. Being an athlete growing up, especially a female athlete, was extremely challenging. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be a certain size and look a certain way because of the pressures of society and the media. When I was growing up in the dance world, we were expected to be a size 2… and to be a ballet dancer, not only were you expected to be a size 2, you were also expected to have straight hair and be a certain skin tone. The world has definitely changed over the years, but we are still fighting image battles. I think it’s important to start with our youth, and raise them to believe that no matter your skin tone, height, size, hair texture, etc., you can be an athlete…and in my book, you can dance, too!
I enjoy a little indulgence at times. Caring for yourself, whether that is physically, emotionally or spiritually tapping into what you need at any given time, and doing it ! That is my definition of self-care.
To learn more, follow Avalon Dance on Instagram @avalondance and visit their website at avalondance.net