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National Dance Week: Synergy Dance Academy

This week, we’re focused on celebrating dance and what it means to us. At Jackrabbit, we are honored to work with dance studio owners and love hearing about their passion. I love to see dance studio owners and teachers connect to share the love! Keep an eye out for the other posts in the National Dance Week series to meet some other awesome Jackrabbit Dance users!
Synergy Dance Academy: Established in 2012 by Kari Fisher. She has over 15 years of experience as an educator, artist and community volunteer. She received her dance training at Monona Academy of Dance under the direction of Jo Jean Retrum and Jean Adams. She took classes in tap, jazz and ballet for 12 years and was a part of the Wisconsin Dance Ensemble’s Nutcracker for 10 years. They offer classes for ages 3-18 in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary and lyrical as well as “Mini Mover” classes for the tiniest of dancers! Their “Chance to Dance” program is specially designed for dancers with developmental differences. It provides these dancers an opportunity to explore and express themselves through music and movement.
Why do you dance?

I no longer “dance” for myself but I do teach. When I was dancing it was because it was fun. Plain and simple, it was a blast to do!

What is your passion?
My passion is connecting with kids of all ages. I can honestly say that every day I open the doors to my studio I get excited! From my “mini movers” to my teenagers, I cannot express enough how enjoyable I find these kids. They make me laugh all of the time and I’m truly blessed to call so many of their parents friends as well.I can’t wait to talk with the kids to see how their day was and I love how they search me out to open up about all aspects of their lives. I’m extremely lucky to be doing what I love best!
What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a teacher. After receiving my Associates Degree in Commercial Art I decided to return to school to get my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education. During which time I taught dance on and off before I had my own two children who then began taking lessons where I started to teach at as well. When the owner retired 3 years ago I wanted to start my own studio with all of the same teachers who had been a part of the “old” studio. So far so good! I’ve gone from 8 instructors that first year to 21 this year!

What is your biggest challenge and how do you overcome it?

My biggest challenge is a personal one. I have a 13 and 16 year old who dance at the studio 15+ hours a week. It’s extremely hard for them to see me as “owner/teacher” when needed (like when I need to give them corrections when I’m running their team dances). To them I’m just “mom” which has led to some stress. I’ve only been doing this for 3 years so unlike a lot of studio owner kids, they didn’t grow up with me doing this. I was a stay at home mom for 13 years, the change has been challenging for all of us.

What is one thing a dancer can’t live without?
Dancers cannot live without honesty. A good teacher knows how to “tell it like it is” to a dancer without hurting their feelings. They also know when to add that extra bit of support to get their dancer(s) to the next level. Honesty toward a dancer about his/her performance is the greatest compliment you can give a dancer. It’s saying “you deserve my opinion even if it’s not the same as yours because I think you can handle it”. My experience has been that kids will step up to the challenge of improvement if you give them honesty vs. lip service.

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