Hi to everybody considering Ignite Dance Co. out there 🙂
My name is Stephanie Arentz and I am Co- Director of Ignite Dance Co., which I run with my sister Caitlin Devitt. Ignite was originally SD Dance Studio, which I decided to start back in 2004, whilst in my third year of university. I was training to be a dance and history high school teacher (Bachelor of Dance/Bachelor of Education at UNSW) and had full intentions of doing this full-time. I had a few ex-students of mine from a previous teaching job ask if I would ever open my own studio. I hadn’t really ever considered it but really missed teaching these students and though, hey, why not?!
So, in June 2004, SD Dance Studio was opened at PCYC Bankstown. We started with very humble beginnings, dancing just on Saturdays and with only 25 students. But I loved it 🙂 Caitlin was only 15 at the time but assisted me with the teaching and was involved in the running of studio as much as a teenager could be!
By 2005, when I graduated from University, I had really started to form a passion for business, as well as dance teaching. I was really enjoying my studio but I wasn’t able to pay myself a wage at this point and so I began casual teaching to fill in the gap. I worked at both jobs for quite a few years while the studio grew and grew! We opened up weeknight classes at a scout hall in Condell Park. My days were full of teaching, all day at school and then straight to the studio for the afternoon/evening. I really became aware that school was not where I wanted to be and made a plan to grow the studio to the point where I could leave school teaching for good.
Part of this decision was to move to better facilities, a place we could call home. We found a warehouse for rent in Padstow and moved in at the start of 2009. It was the best decision we ever made. I found that first year difficult as we lost students with the move but we kept pushing on and had faith in my plan!
By this stage Caitlin was studying at university (Bachelor of Early Childhood at Macquarie) She had begun to take on a much bigger role in the studio, teaching more classes and being more involved in the running of the business as well. Things were looking up and we really began to find our feet and knew where we wanted the studio to go. I took the plunge in 2012 and stopped school teaching to focus completely on the studio, which was an exciting but scary decision (which I’m glad I made!)
Fast forward 7 years and we now have a wonderful team of teachers who are just as invested in our students and dance family as we are! Miss Megan joined us in 2012 and teaches all of our Hip Hop and Tap while Miss Jessie joined the team in 2015 and is our resident ballet guru.
We are looking forward to seeing where the future takes us and hope that you’ll be part of the journey!