Nonprofit SLC dance studio building dancers and character

Aug 5, 2022, 10:09 AM | Updated: Aug 30, 2022, 1:24 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Every week, anywhere from 100 to 150 dancers make their way through the doors of Rise Up School of Dance — a nonprofit dance studio based on the west side of Salt Lake City that uses dance as a powerful key to unlocking their students’ best selves.

In addition to being a studio for all, the dance studio reaches families who may be financially strapped or have multiple kids who want to dance, believing no child should have to be turned away from dancing because of money.

Even though it’s a dance studio, what students learn isn’t all just dance.

Alyssa Bertelsen, Rise Up School of Dance’s executive director, said the school’s mission is to empower its students and point them in a positive direction.

“Humans first. Dancers second,” she said.

I think being valued when someone’s looking at you… we love you and we really want you to be here with us if life-changing,” Bertelsen said.

Bertelsen said she always wanted to dance, but her family couldn’t afford lessons.

Then one day, her name was picked out of a drawing, where she won free dance lessons.

From there, everything changed.

“It felt like such a miracle. That was when I was 9,” Bertelsen said.

Now, Bertelsen is the instructor, teaching and encouraging 9-year-olds, like Eva and Hannah.

“I wanted to create a space where kids like me could have a similar experience but also expand that,” Bertelsen said.

Offering sliding-scale tuition based on family income, the Rise Up School of Dance gives dancers ranging from ages 3 to 76 an opportunity to dance.

“Ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary — any style that they want to do,” Bertelsen said.

Every month, students gain skills outside of dance, including a social, emotional and mental health wellness class.

The goal is to help their students leap into lifelong change for the good.

“Any kid who wants to take dance in an environment where they’re really going to be invested in as a person and not just seen as a body and a dancer: That is what means everything to me,” Bertelsen said.

August is registration month, and classes start on Sept. 6. Those interested can register here.

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Nonprofit SLC dance studio building dancers and character