Encore School of the Arts closesPublished 2:12pm Tuesday, August 6, 2013
With a “heavy heart,” Creative Director Amy Rose announced non-profit Encore School of the Arts/Encore Dance Company is closing its doors immediately, putting the studio in the former Lincoln Elementary School, 405 E. Division St., and its contents on the market.
“Several of our instructors, including myself, are going on hiatus from the studio to tend to family or daytime careers,” Rose wrote in a statement distributed late Monday night. “Encore prides itself on quality instruction. We’ve had the privilege of employing some of the area’s most qualified instructors. Unfortunately, our area doesn’t have a ready supply of educated dancers. We simply were not able to secure enough staff for fall without compromising our quality of instruction.”
“My phone’s been ringing off the hook because everybody’s shocked and devastated,” Rose, of Decatur, said Tuesday morning. “I’m sad for the dancers who are ‘homeless.’ ”
Rose, who decided to devote a year to her three children, after 11 seasons at the studio, said two instructors are expecting and others came to the same conclusion to take a break “in a weird alignment of the stars.”
Kimberly Martz, mother of a 4-year-old daughter, had decided to step back from the dance faculty, though will continue to direct the extreme pom team at a school or business to be determined.
“I can’t imagine having less than seven teachers,” Rose said, acknowledging the irony that a business “on the rise” with 115 students was folding because of a shortage of qualified staff. She said students trained locally who continue with dance usually settle in urban areas instead of returning home, so teachers typically come from Kalamazoo, South Bend, even Chicago.
“It was a difficult decision by the board to close our doors,” Operations Manager Kathee Kiesselbach said.
Family Martial Arts, owned and operated on the first floor by Dave Stafford of Niles, a third-degree black belt, will continue in the building at least through August.
“I was very surprised, totally in shock” when she heard, Kathy Miller, who founded Encore 28 years ago, said, reached at the Dowagiac studio she established in 1988.
Miss Kathy’s School of Dance, now known as MKSOD, moved to its current location at 141 S. Front St. in 1998. She also has her original location in Decatur and a third in Niles as she starts her 40th season.
MKSOD, enrolling beginning Aug. 12 for ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, clogging and lyrical classes, is the home of performance troupe Positively Dance.
While “a little sad,” Miller said giving students opportunities she didn’t have growing up keeps her motivated. “Things happen for a reason,” she said.
Michele Winchester, whose Miss Michele and Co. is located in the business incubator on East Prairie Ronde, could not be reached for comment.