Turning point: Chelsea dance studio moves into larger space

Katie Alder opened her Chelsea dance studio, That's The Pointe, about three years ago. The studio moved into a larger space across town in May. (For the Reporter/Dawn Harrison)

Katie Alder opened her Chelsea dance studio, That’s The Pointe, about three years ago. The studio moved into a larger space across town in May. (For the Reporter/Dawn Harrison)

By EMILY SPARACINO / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Three years after opening her dance studio in Chelsea, Katie Alder is celebrating another milestone for her business.

Alder’s That’s The Pointe Dance Studio has moved into a larger space across town, off Old U.S. 280.

“It’s a cool transition,” Alder said of the move, which happened in mid-May. “We had outgrown our space.”

With renovations that are nearly finished, Alder has tailored the new studio to better accommodate her dancers’ and staff members’ needs.

The nearly 5,000-square-foot space––which is almost double the size of Alder’s former space––will feature three studio rooms and a “floating dance floor,” a suspended, specialized dance floor designed to protect dancers’ knees and feet.

Other features include a waiting room, parents’ corner and reception desk; a play area for children; a retail area with dance clothes, shoes and uniforms; a study and storage area; a costume closet; and Alder’s office.

“We knew walking in, it was our space,” Alder said. “This has been perfect.”

Geographically, Alder said the studio is close to town, but “off the beaten path,” with plenty of parking and room to grow in student enrollment.

Alder started her business with 47 students and surpassed 100 in 2014.

Her path to opening her own studio was anything but clear-cut.

Alder’s personal dance background is based in ballet. She danced with a professional ballet company for about four-and-a-half years in Utah.

Eventually, she turned her focus to her family and raising her children in Chelsea.

Her daughter Madison danced for two years before switching to cheer.

Alder followed her daughter and got involved with cheer, becoming president of Chelsea Youth Cheerleading for seven years and watching the program grow from 27 to 150 participants.

Alder then took an opportunity to teach dance at another local studio.

Later, while Alder was taking a break from teaching, several of her former students’ parents called her to ask if she would open her own studio.

Alder answered the call, but has kept the focus on her students.

“I don’t want it to be the ‘Ms. Katie Show,'” Alder said. “Our mission statement is we believe everyone has sparkle inside them. It’s all about them.”

Alder said she uses Joffrey Ballet’s primary program mixed with Royal Academy of Dance in her curriculum.

Alder and her staff––which she is looking to expand from about eight members to 10 this season––teach classes for ballet, creative movement, tap, clogging, jazz, musical theatre, character, pointe, tumbling, craft, contemporary and yoga.

Alder said children who are about 3 years old (and potty-trained) up to young adults and adults may enroll for classes.

“The point we wanted to make is dance is not about becoming a professional dancer,” Alder said. “It’s about teaching them poise, dedication and physical fitness. Even our competition team, we call it company because I want it to feel like family.”

Heather Maxwell, Alder’s self-appointed “business manager,” said she likes the atmosphere Alder has created for students like her daughter Linleigh at That’s The Pointe.

“Her parents love her,” Maxwell said of Alder. “They know it (the studio) is a safe place for their babies. I didn’t want to put her (Linleigh) in a studio whose focus is getting her on the stage. I wanted Linleigh to have a safe and fun experience that is appropriate.

“She adores it. She’s learning discipline, but it’s in a warm, loving environment.”

Alder stresses the importance of technique, while also instilling a sense of self-confidence in her students.

For her, the national titles and trophies lining the shelves are just byproducts of her students’ accomplishments.

“I want to teach them how to dance, not a dance,” she said. “The young ones that started with us are maturing into dancers. This has been a fun experience.”

That’s The Pointe is located at 10699 Old U.S. 280 No. 7.

For more information, call (205) 910-7165, email ThatsThePointeDance@gmail.com or visit ThatsThePointe.com.