Alicia Knopps had a big dream when she was 14 years old. She had a love for dance and she wanted to share her passion with others by opening her own dance studio in her parents’ basement. Nineteen years later her studio, Diamond School of Dance, has grown into something she could never have imagined. Knopps is ringing in the studio’s 20th year by opening a brand-new facility in Eau Claire this month. The new facility will offer kids and families a dancewear store, a professional photography studio, and most importantly, more space for students to learn the art of dance.
“This is a dream opportunity for dancers to receive the highest-caliber training. The growth and opportunity this brings to students in our community is unprecedented.” – Alicia Knopps, Diamond School of Dance
“Our new Performing Arts Center is set up to serve 700 students this fall with expansion plans in place to reach over 850 students in the years to come,” Knopps said. “With over 550 students enrolled in over 1,500 class spots each week we were bursting at the seams in our old facility.”
The expansion added four studio rooms with room for growth into three more, a reception area, plenty of gathering spaces, a private conference and office room, plus a separate dancer’s lounge and homework bar.
There is also space for the dancewear store, Premier Dancewear, which provides dancewear, shoes, and more to the dance community. The photography studio, Diamond Collective Photography, is the area’s leading dance photography studio, Knopps said. She is also proud of the impressive team of professional dance instructors she has on board.
International performing artist Flavia Garcia is relocating from New York City this fall to become director of Diamond School of Dance’s pre-professional ballet training program, the Eau Claire Ballet Conservatory. Knopps says having Garcia on board will inspire students to reach their goals.
“This is a dream opportunity for dancers to receive the highest-caliber training. The growth and opportunity this brings to students in our community is unprecedented,” Knopps said.
“This summer we were able to bring in the directors of Berks Ballet Theatre and Ballet Co. Laboratory to work with our students,” Knopps shares. “This month we are flying in guest artists from across the country to educate and inspire students in our community. These opportunities for growth are priceless!”
Diamond School of Dance’s motto is “more than just great dancing.” The company also wants to shape students into well-rounded dancers who go beyond dancing to develop important life skills. Knopps hopes the gathering spaces and homework bar addition will give students the opportunity to catch up on homework between classes in a quiet space. The new facility will also bring Diamond School of Dance to the forefront as a place where kids can reach their full potential in life by creating a second home and a positive culture and community where they can thrive.
Knopps is set to open Diamond School of Dance’s new performing arts center with a huge grand opening event from 10am-2pm on Saturday, Aug. 10, at 2861 Mall Drive, next to HOM Furniture. The event will be a celebration not only for students, but their families and community members as well. Those who attend will enjoy inflatables, face painting, a dance party, and door prizes. Families will also be able to tour the facility, meet with the school’s team of instructors, ask questions, and enroll in classes. The day will be made even more exciting with some special guests.
“I believe that dance lessons teach life lessons and that we have the beautiful opportunity to help shape kids’ lives and develop the next generation of leaders who will change our world,” Knopps said, a clear testament that Diamond School of Dance will continue impacting young lives for years to come.
More information about Diamond School of Dance is available at diamondschoolofdance.com.