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  • Writer's pictureBret and Amber Tueller

Take A Bow

The iconic dance studio, Colorado School of Dance, is celebrating 20 years and a million dreams.

Lisa Tuska grew up dancing. She has always loved it. Her passion carried her throughcollege where she graduated from Ohio University in Dance Training.From there she opened her first dance studio in rural Ohio and grew it into a thriving business with over 400 dancers. Her husband's career dictated a move to Colorado and they landed here in Parker.

Lisa enrolled her children at local dance studios but was not content with the training that was available. Together with Amy Colwell and Karen Levine, the three mothers decided the best solution was to open their own studio that could give their students the instruction they all desired. And just like that, Colorado School of Dance was born.

The studio opened in 2002 as a one-room dance program in the Stroh Ranch Community Center. Since that time, it has become one of the most iconic studios in the state and even garners national attention, having won several national titles. What began as a desire to provide dancers proper technique and a healthy, well-balanced dance training, has become the industry standard for all others to emulate.

One of the things Lisa and her studio are best known for is the Nutcracker of Parker. The annual tradition is as engrained in the community as the holiday season itself. Starting in 2003, the aim of the CSD (Colorado School of Dance) was to create a community Nutcracker, not just one for the studio. The event is sold out every year and often only days after tickets go on sale. This year, PACE made the contraversial decision to bring in a production from out of town. That decision that has been bemoaned by locals and an outcry from the community has caused Town officials to answer some tough questions. But Lisa and her staff handled it with class. They will still be putting on their annual show, just on different dates. And ticket sales have been as frantic ever.

Given the renoun, the prestige, and the reputation of such a studio, you might expect to find yourself in a very "sterile" business environment when you walk through the doors at CSD, but nothing could be furtherfrom the truth. They are welcoming, unassuming, and humble. The staff and dancers are a family.

Talking with Lisa and her staff it is easy to fall in love with thisdance studio. They have createdan environment that issteeped in excellence, yet family-friendly. They are truly an elite program, but still just our community studio. All because these three mothers just wanted to teach dance.

A former student summed up the influence that CSD has on its dancers, staff, parents and community.

I came to ColoradoSchool of Dance in 2004 in search of a more serious dance education than I was getting elsewhere. I began half-way through the year and was instantly welcomed by Lisa Tuska and her staff. We would rehearse in a tiny, one-room studio and I think there may have been all of 40 students enrolled. In 2005, I was selected for CSD’s very first competition team and some of my best memories in high school were performing with that team. I remember in 2006 when Lisa opened up her new larger location a few blocks from the original and we were so excited to have three massive studios! Upon graduating in 2008, I remember feeling like I was leaving something more than a dance studio behind; I was leaving my family.

Three years ago, I returned to CSD to teach children’s classes on Saturdays. I now teach multiple days each week and I am the new Communications Manager! It is really special getting to work in my second home and pursue something I am so passionate about.It’s beyond incredible seeing how our studio has grown and flourished. CSD now enrolls close to 600 students and operates out of a 10,000 square-foot community center.

What is even more special than getting to work in such a meaningful place,is that my daughter is starting classes this year. She is only a year old, but will be taking our Mommy and Me class on Wednesday mornings.I cannot wait to see her walk through the doors as a student and build her own community at CSD.

-Hannah Fitzgerald (Former student, current instructor and parent)


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