Local studio aims to foster self-confidence, integrity
Sarabeth Balon has been dancing since she was 2 years old. She took classes throughout her childhood and began teaching when she was 16. After graduating from The University of Texas, Balon was set to attend law school in California.
“Everything was packed and had been shipped out there when I realized I didn’t want to stop dancing,” Balon said. “I knew my purpose in life was to dance, and with no one to support but myself, there was no better time to set up a studio.”
Balon opened Lonestar Dance Center for Performing Arts in 2004, offering four classes a day Monday through Friday.
“There was no lobby—just one room with benches along the walls for parents,” Balon said. “The space was so small, but we had to make do to build a better future.”
The studio has been expanded five times, and today the 6,000-square-foot site offers 14 types of dance classes, from ballet and tap to clogging. Balon also coaches a 42-person competitive dance team. But for her, dance is not about winning.
“I gained most of my confidence through the dance classes I took,” she explains. “Passing on that confidence is my ultimate goal. I want the children I teach to walk away with a positive self image. It’s important to know who you are and be OK with that.”
The instructors at Lonestar Dance Center focus on six concepts: respect, responsibility, perseverance, learning, loyalty and integrity. Balon says she is constantly asking her students what integrity means to them.
“I love hearing their answers and how they phrase it,” said Balon, who is referred to as “SB” by her students. “As one of my students put it, ‘Integrity means doing what SB tells me to do even if she’s not watching.’”
The competitive team, known as Energy Dance Company, is composed of five categories of dancers ranging in age from 5 to 17. The dancers participated in 10 competitions last spring as well as several weekend-long conventions. They typically attend eight to 12 hours of class per week.
Balon and her staff of 10 offer competitive and recreational dance classes for all ages, including a boys’ hip-hop class and adult Zumba, as well as ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and lyrical dance. Lonestar participates in a number of community events throughout the year, including Deutschen Pfest and Trail of Lights. In addition, the studio holds two recitals per year—a holiday benefit recital in December and a spring performance. This year’s December recital will benefit the Austin Children’s Shelter.
“This studio was founded on recreational dancing, not competition. Our classes are meant to inspire students, bring mental and physical health benefits, foster collaboration and teamwork, ignite passion, teach self-expression, enhance self-esteem and self-confidence, and expose students to culture and history,” Balon said. “It’s a gift I received as a child and one that I want to share.”
Lonestar Dance Center for Performing Arts, 2606 FM 1825, Ste. 119, Pflugerville, 670-0301, www.dancetexas.com