Dance studio celebrates 20 years

Published 9:23 am Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Brenda Johnson has been operating the Corky Bell Dance Studio in Alabaster for the past 20 years. (Contributed)

Brenda Johnson has been operating the Corky Bell Dance Studio in Alabaster for the past 20 years. (Contributed)

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

When a family friend phoned Brenda Johnson 20 years ago to ask if she was still interested in a building for a dance studio, he warned her that the property he knew of needed some TLC.

When she and husband Marvin decided on the second floor, they might not have been aware of the impact Corky Bell Dance Studio would have on the youngsters of Alabaster and the surrounding area in the years to come.

The studio serves ages 3 through 18, and classes include ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical and baton. Class times vary with age, so most classes are 45 to 90 minutes long. There are approximately 200 students in the program.

A competition team (Dancing Diamonds) reaps the rewards of extra practice with a “big trip” every other year. This year’s trip, on March 27, is to New York City for four days and a personal visit with the Rockettes.

There is a junior and a senior division of the competition team, which ranges in age from 6 to 14. Mothers, students and staff look forward to this trip with great anticipation.

“We do this to reward our girls but don’t want to overwhelm them with constant fundraising. We are civic minded, participate in local garage sales, parades, shows, etcetera,” Johnsaid said. “Each year, the students bring canned goods for the needy. I want them to know others are not so fortunate and need our help no matter how small it may seem.”

This year, Corky Bell Studio won four platinum awards – the highest-possible award – at Birmingham’s Alabama Theater and at the Bessemer Civic Center.

A family business for sure, Johnson is glad to offer the parents a comfortable sitting room with closed circuit television to watch their children.

Johnson loves the pressure and rewards of her business. She will be delighted to talk with you about your child’s needs and preferences.

“Got to keep the kids, parents and staff happy…no small job but I can do it,” she said.

May 17 will be Corky Bell Dance Studios 20th annual recital.