Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Banks-Beebe.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
After training as a student at Point Park Conservatory in Pittsburgh, Pa and graduating from Point Park University with a BFA in Dance, I performed for several small dance companies as well as the Pittsburgh Opera. After moving to Atlanta and performing with the Atlanta Ballet, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, I began to teach in some local Atlanta dance studios, including Atlanta Ballet, Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, and Pebblebrook High School. Developing a love for teaching, I decided to turn my sights in that direction. After teaching in other studios for more than 30 years, I finally decided to open my own school. I opened Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance in 2013 with two studios in a business complex in Kennesaw. Two years later, I was able to add an additional studio to accommodate my increasing student enrollment. This past August, I opened a new custom designed 13,000 square foot location across from McCollum Field at the Cobb International Airport. Our four new studios range in size from 56×28 to 51×55. I am excited to be able to offer my students ranging in age from three to adult the best facilities possible. I currently have almost 200 students enrolled with new students trying classes every week.
To become the best teacher possible, I have continued my training to include Total Barre certification. I am licensed and certified in Progressive Ballet Technique, Perfect Form Physiotherapy, Revolutionary Principles of Movement and I am the only certified Georgia Affiliate Teacher with America’s National Ballet Company, American Ballet Theater. I am also the only North Georgia dance studio licensed and offering the Leap N Learn young dancer curriculum which is a safe, progressive and developmentally appropriate dance program for creative movement to beginning ballet.
I have a pre-professional daytime program where dancers audition for acceptance and placement. The dancers range in age from 11-17. We compete in international Ballet competitions and attend national summer intensives, with over 50% of dancers receiving scholarships. This past season our dancers were awarded more than $50,000 in summer scholarships. We also have an extensive weekend and evening program that caters to developing dancers ages 3 to Adult.
We have 3 performances each year all in story format. Christmas time brings either Christmas Carol or Snow Queen, our spring performance this year is Sleeping Beauty, and our May show is Wizard of Oz.
AABD also sponsors a professional Ballet company called Ballet SouthEast. The company will be performing a mixed repertoire show this February with classics such as Swan Lake Act 2, Pas de Quatre, Flames of Paris Pas de Deux and several contemporary ballet premieres. I hope to continue growing the school and company and continue my training and that of my staff to provide the best training in the state. I currently have 11 teachers at AABD.
Has it been a smooth road?
Mostly, the biggest struggle was in building a new studio during the summer months while we still had summer intensives and open classes going at our previous location. We could not have done it without the volunteer parents at AABD who are unbelievable. They will step up to the plate to do whatever is needed anytime!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance is a dance school that has a focus on classical ballet technique which is the foundation of all dance but we do offer all other genres including, Tap, Musical Theater/Jazz, Lyrical, Modern, Contemporary, Commercial Contemporary, Pas de Deux, Pointe, Variations, Men’s classes, and Contemporary Ballet. I teach all the pre-professional Ballet classes along with Megan Johnson and most levels of Ballet, Pointe, Pas de deux, and Variations. I choreograph and rehearse all of our original Ballets with Rosanne Walters helping with the younger students.
We are guided by our mission statement. Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance is devoted to developing every student to their fullest potential. We are intricately invested in each student’s development and success. By motivating and encouraging our students to achieve their personal best, AABD is training the next generation of quality dancers.
We work with each dancer to customize their schedule and I am most proud to be a loving, encouraging studio where we are doing our best to uplift each dancer to reach their best. We are different in that all our productions use AABD dancers to perform the lead and supporting roles. We do not hire dancers as our students are technically adept enough to perform the choreography.
We have a solid preschool program with qualified teachers who understand what young dancers need to develop and is not just “playtime.”
We also have a 5-week summer intensive and have a formal theater production (no tickets required) at the end of the summer session. We offer host families for out of town dancers and all our productions are performed at the beautiful Kristi Lynn Theater at the Murray Arts Center in Kennesaw.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Atlanta has so many dance studios that it is not easy to stand out. I have learned to recognize our strengths and commit to that and for me, my studio is my second family. We all care about each other and do everything possible to help each other inside and outside the studio.
- Address: 2255 McCollum Parkway
Kennesaw, GA 30144
- Website: aabdstudios.com
- Phone: 678-224-8931
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org