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Meet Chan’nel Johnson of Education Thru Dance in Mableton

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chan’nel Johnson.

Ms. Chan’nel; as she is affectionately known by her students started dancing at the age of 4 at Rosina’s Studio of Performing Arts in Swedesboro NJ. It was here that she got her first taste of national competition and performing for large audiences. Later, Chan’nel also began student teaching and doing choreography for younger classes. In 1995 Chan’nel moved to Atlanta to attend Clark Atlanta University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications.

After graduation she began teaching dance around the Atlanta area and producing stage shows for different artists. She is a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. and the founder and director of The Entertainment Consortium, Education Thru Dance LLC. and The Dance Project Performance Company. Her credits include “A Soulful Celebration” which she wrote, co-choreographed and directed, Arts over Atlanta Showcase Series, Dancestar Talent Search and the “Arts with You” Artistic Residency Program. Chan’nel has choreographed over 100 award-winning pieces for national competitions and through the ETD Outreach Program has serviced over 1000 children through after school and community programs. Her work has been honored with several regional and national awards. Chan’nel is proud to add International Choreographer to her resume as she did the choreography and staging for the Ms. Latina USA and Ms. Latina Del Mundo Pageant Systems in the Dominican Republic and recently served as the producer for the Miss California Latina Pageant. Ms. Johnson considers herself a dance educator and loves coming in contact with children through her programs. It’s through these interactions that she gets the most joy from seeing young children exposed to the arts. On any given day you can ask her why she chooses to be a dance educator and she will tell you… “If I can positively affect one child through the art of dance then I have the opportunity to change the world one dance at a time.” It is this attitude that has allowed Ms. Chan’nel to teach dance for over 20 years.

Currently, she serves as Executive Director of ETD Dance Studio located in Mableton, GA. This collaborative arts program that caters to children offering Dance, Music and Drama. This award-winning dance studio has several partnerships with local schools and arts-based companies. Through the studio, Ms. Johnson is able to provide assistance to students interested in pursuing a career in the arts through the studio’s program; Performing Arts Prep. Academy (PAPA).

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
No, the road has definitely not been smooth. After I graduated from college, I took the LSAT and was on my way to Law School for Entertainment Law. A good friend of mine, that was already a lawyer, read my personal statement and I will never forget her saying and I quote “this is good Chan’nel but it doesn’t say that you want to be a lawyer…it does however say that you’re a dancer” imagine my face when she said that! Talk about whats for you is for you! So I opened my first studio when I was only 26 years old with a business partner that was also a good friend. It was located in Buckhead right on Peachtree Street, We were ambitious and had a good program, but speaking for myself I didn’t always make the best business decisions and we were so young. Needless to say we closed the studio and went our separate ways. Coming off of this split, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I remember getting the yellow pages a literally going through it and calling every school asking:
1. If they had an after school program,
2. Did they offer dance in the program,
3. If they would be interested in offering dance.

After calling for days, I had three schools interested. I went into those schools and The Education Thru Dance Program was born. I have been teaching children for 20 years, I’ve seen them go through Highschool, graduate college, have their own children, open their own studios, and then bring their kids back to me to teach…can you believe that? Full Circle!

There are obstacles every day. people don’t believe in what you are doing, don’t take you seriously and don’t support you. Kids quit dancing everyday with no explanation, you wonder if you are doing the right thing if it’s worth the sleepless nights. People don’t believe in your vision, don’t see your goals, they just don’t get it. Smile in your face and then talk about you to others. People resent you, fear you, envy you and then copy your concepts, etc. The list goes on and on.

You have to really believe in yourself because without that you won’t make it. Deal with people where they are so that you don’t end up disappointed. The challenges keep me on my toes so I welcome them. You can’t worry about what people think or even do. Let them copy you…The original will ALWAYS better.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Education Thru Dance – what should we know?
ETD Dance Studio is a full service performing arts studio. We offer classes in all genre’s of dance along with Acro Classes, Acting and Voice Workshops, performance opportunities and a pre-professional competitive dance team. Students range in age from 2 years-Adults.

ETD specializes in addressing the whole student. We work to make sure that our students have a positive self-image, have effective communicating skills, are team players, problem solvers, thinkers and leaders; Dance is just the vehicle used to reach our kids. We have seen that the proper mix of fine arts and academics creates an extremely well-rounded student.

ETD is probably best known for our Outreach Program. We have serviced the most students by going into area schools, community centers, churches, etc. and teaching dance through After-School programs or as part of a school curriculum. Students and parents are introduced to traditional dance classes through this program and many of them go on to pursue dance in high school, college and professionally. We believe in giving back to the community and supporting the people that support us.

ETD as a whole is probably most proud of the effect that we have had on our students. Students come back and tell us how they appreciate the discipline and expectations set on them when they were young. They appreciate the consistency that they received at the studio. Regardless of what was going on in their lives they knew Ms. Chan’nel and ETD Dance Studio would be there. That is what makes us happy; to know that we make a small difference in a child’s life. That by us holding these children accountable and exposing them to dance, their worlds open up and they see that there are several other options available to them to be successful in life. Seeing them use the tools they gain here to fulfill their goals is the most rewarding.

ETD is unique in that we are not motivated by financial gain, but rather that our students have an authentic experience. We are never driven by numbers or enrollment, but rather the quality of students that we are attracting. We allow children as young as four years old multiple opportunities to perform and showcase their talents. We are not just teaching recreational dance, but rather providing experiences for these kids that they will keep for a lifetime. We are a family here at ETD and that is what sets us apart.

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
My Aunt and business partner. She believed in my crazy idea to open a dance studio and has supported ETD from day 1. None of this would be possible without her. My mother and family that have encouraged me to follow my passion from when I was a little girl. It is because of them that I don’t live with limitations.

My instructors- for all of the hard work they put in teaching our students. My staff and office manager for their tireless effort in keeping this studio running and believing in the dream.

All of my students and parents for believing in ETD and continuing to support our efforts every year.

Pricing:

  • Classes are billed hourly starting at $55/month
  • First Class is ALWAYS Free – Call to set up trial class
  • Registration is currently Open for Spring 2020 classes

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Deshaun Cockroft of DC Photography ATL

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