Durham Magazine June/July 2022

Page 58


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One of Durham’s best new businesses and dance studios sees early success despite opening amid the pandemic

ierra Riddle didn’t begin her dance career believing that

one day she’d have a studio of her own. She graduated with a bachelor’s in dance studies and psychology from Meredith College in 2015 and started providing lessons full time at a private studio in Cary. “I thought I was actually going to go back to graduate school,” Sierra says. “But I fell in love with teaching, like everyone said I would … it’s something that was just naturally fitting for me.” After five years of instruction in Cary, Sierra decided it was time to work for herself and find a space where she could offer dance lessons. “I wanted 56




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to open a place where we could openly say, ‘This is a place for everyone,’” Sierra says. “We want to do as much as we can to make sure everyone who walks in this door feels welcome.” The name she chose for her studio reflects that aspiration: All in Dance Academy, which opened in July 2021 in the Sutton Station shopping center. “We ask for pronouns on our registration,” Sierra says. “We have gender-neutral signs on our bathrooms. … We wanted to make sure that everybody feels represented.” She co-owns the business alongside her husband, Joey DeVito, who works full time in the marketing department for software company Keen Decision Systems. “The second he gets off work, he’s working our front desk, taking kids’ temperatures, doing our marketing and building our website,” Sierra says. The couple initially set their sights on a location in Chapel Hill. But when Sierra, who grew up attending Nina’s School of Dance – heard about a space in Durham, she decided to pursue it. “My husband and I just immediately fell in love with All in Dance co-owners Joey DeVito and Sierra Riddle [Durham],” Sierra says. “My mom, Susan Pearce, grew up in this area – our family actually had land on Riddle Road – [and she] thinks it’s full circle that we’re back [here]. It truly fell in our lap, and we couldn’t be happier we’re in this location.” The studio focuses its instruction on dancers from ages 2 to 18 years old and provides a variety of lessons in styles including tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop and acro dance, which combines classical dance techniques with acrobatics. Classes take place Monday through Friday, with some Saturday classes available. All-day summer programs are also offered this year, which Sierra says allows dancers to get “a little taste of everything.” Emily Minick, who joined as an instructor in December 2021 and teaches two acro jazz classes, recommends that prospective students sign up for trial classes, which allow them to sample a session before fully committing. She adds that she’s greatly enjoyed watching the studio’s fast success. 