Editor’s note: This is one story in a series about local businesses in the City of Fairborn. This feature puts a face to the names of those that have been part of the community for many years – some of those best-kept secrets.
FAIRBORN – Miami Valley Dance Center owner Kelly Fuller has found a career in her childhood dream.
Fuller been a part of MVDC in Fairborn for 35 years. She got into dance when she was 8 years old at the Fairborn YMCA with Noreen Peterman as her teacher. Peterman then opened her own studio – where Fuller took dance classes until she was 18.
At age 19, Fuller worked as a teacher for Peterman. When Peterman moved to Florida, this offered Full a dream come true – her own studio. At the time Fuller was then getting her business degree at Wright State University. A business loan and her parents’ support, Fuller became the owner of a dance studio.
“I chose Fairborn because I grew up in the area and kids in town need someone who would give them guidance and direction in dance,” said Fuller. “I feel that it’s also close to other businesses that it would support and benefit them as well, and helping the City of Fairborn grow.”
A license or special training is not required to teach dance, but Fuller has been certified through Dance Masters of America for approximately 15 years ago. She took an entrance exam in ballet, jazz and tap. The exam inlcuded written, oral, demonstrative, dance and performance sections. She said it was intimidating at first. Joining that organization helped giver her a better grasp of dance teaching techniques for children.
Fuller then started attending the teachers training school offered in the summer months, which was a three-year program. She completed the training, then took the two-year masters program, from which she was the first to graduate. To keep her certification with Dance Masters each year, she must maintain a set amount of continued educational hours in which she and her teachers take classes from other dance instructors throughout the country – learning new styles and how to inspire kids about dance.
MVDC has 15 employees; some of which are her former students. More than 300 students take classes from the center, most within a 30-mile radius of the studio. The youngest age at the studio is age 3. She has expanded since opening the business, adding hip-hop, Irish and contemporary to her original jazz, tap and ballet classes. Fuller decides the costumes and routines but allows student to help in that area as well.
The center’s students attend many competitions – some being very challenging for the youth. They start working on their recital routines in February, but Kelly plans as early as the prior fall, as she has to run the back drops, order costumes and work on routine music.
Alongside her studio work, Fuller has been a national judge for some of the competitions; the last one taking place in Las Vegas.
“I enjoy working and living in Fairborn and I want to keep a positive outlets for kids. I’m excited that Fairborn is reviving itself.”
Proud of her hometown and she life long resident and business owner takes pride in her students and business, and wants others to do the same. Fuller was named Hall of Honors in Fairborn High School.
And when was asked to come in and talk to a high school class about what it was like to own a small busines she told those students, “If you have a dream – no matter how crazy people think it is – go for it.”
Jo Ann Collins is a long-time Fairborn resident and guest writer.