Popular Apex dance studio offers much more than just dance - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Popular Apex dance studio offers much more than just dance

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Academy for the Performing Arts started as a dance studio in Apex but has grown into a small business that offers exercise and cheerleading, a competitive dance company, art classes and even a preschool. Academy for the Performing Arts started as a dance studio in Apex but has grown into a small business that offers exercise and cheerleading, a competitive dance company, art classes and even a preschool.
APEX, N.C. -

What started as a dance studio in Apex has grown into a small business that offers exercise and cheerleading, a competitive dance company, art classes and even a preschool.

Located on Perry Road, Academy for the Performing Arts opened in 2001 as a dance studio and its success has allowed it to take some risks and steadily add programs over the years.

"We just do what works and what people want," explained APA owner Hillary Parnell. "We're willing to try anything. In the fall we're adding art classes in the evening."

In 2003, it added its first competitive dance company; now the studio offers Zumba, yoga, circuit training, ballet barre and much more. In 2009, APA opened Preschool for the Arts.

The program is designed for 2- to 5-year-olds and encourages "creativity, development of fine and gross motor skills, and provides a strong foundation for future education."

"It allows some families that are more interested in art-based to give their kids that experience to try some of the different classes," said Suzy Snowdy, a teacher at Preschool for the Arts. "I think it allows them to experience different things versus just being in a classroom and playing."

In addition to the variety of program APA offers, part of the appeal is that parents say the studio is conveniently located and "mother friendly."

"They may come here and they may stop and do shopping in Apex on their way home," pointed out Peggy Corrigan, who attends exercise classes at APA.

APA serves about 2,000 people each year when all of the different parts of the business -- including a summer camp -- are factored together.

Parnell said the business hosts 20 fitness classes with more than a hundred members, and she has five dance rooms with 500 dance members.

"APA should one day be a medium business, but the preschool will be a small business," Parnell said. "The dance studio will be a small business, the fitness program a small business within it because we like to be able to offer that individual attention to every single one of our customers."

Getting the word out about APA hasn't been a problem, Parnell said, adding that she decided to take a break from the annual Apex Peak Fest because she felt like she was "inundating [people] a little bit."

"As we were at the festival, we would be passing out cards and almost every person that came to the booth or that we handed a card to said, 'Oh, I went to a summer camp already. I know who you are. We go to your fitness classes.' Or 'We're already at preschool,'" Parnell said.

"I feel very comfortable in saying that most people that live in Apex know who we are," she laughed.

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Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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