Say Cheeeeeese!

Last Sunday, we had Picture Day for the CPAA Dance Company and Kidz Crew. Here are a few candid shots that were taken by parents while waiting for their children to take their pictures.


Student of the Week for November 4, 2013 is...NYLA!

Nyla is our Student of the Week for the week of November 4, 2013. Nyla is a student in Troy's acrobatics and tumbling class and Miss Siara's hip hop class. She is a great asset to both classes. She takes corrections from week to week and leads by example for all of the other students. She is kind, caring and a hard worker! Here is a bit about Nyla:


Monsters of Hip Hop FUN!

The CPAA Dance Company and Kidz Crew attended Monsters of Hip Hop in Atlanta GA last weekend. We had an awesome time! The kids attended classes all weekend by some of the top hip hop choreographers and dancers in the industry.  Classes started on Friday night and continued of Saturday and Sunday...all day long! We joined other dance studios and hip hop crews at the Sheraton in downtown Atlanta to learn from the best!
On Saturday evening, Monsters let all of the studios perform in a Showcase in order to allow the choreographers to critique the dances from the studios before we actually attend a competition. Some of the Dance Company members performed their small group hip hop dance to "Come and Get It". They did awesome...and the choreographers LOVED it! It was our first time performing the dance in a stage set venue. And I couldn't be prouder of the girls. The had the audience hyped! Congratulations of performing so well ladies!

They also held a Hip Hop Freestyle Battle for all of the kids on Saturday evening. Tim from the Kidz Crew won $50 and 3rd place in a very competitive battle. Congrats Tim! Some of our parents GOT DOWN in the Parent's Battle, too! Melony, Latesha, Janelle and Sherronda all showed off their skills on stage. They killed it...and got a nice workout too! Latesha got 2nd in the Parent's Battle and almost came home with a scholarship for her daughter. Way to go Tesha!
Overall, we had a GREAT time. Monsters of Hip Hop is always one of my favorite conventions. This week, the kids came in practicing all of the dances they learned at the convention. We can't wait till next year to do it all over again!



Student of the Week for October 14, 2013 is...ELIZABETH-ROSE!

We have a new student of the week...Elizabeth-Rose! CONGRATULATIONS! Elizabeth-Rose is in her first year as a student at CPAA. She takes ballet and jazz combo class with Troy, and has been a joy to work with!

Here are her answers to her "Student of the Week" questions:

What's your favorite food: Pasta

What's your favorite ice cream: Chocolate Ice Cream

What's your favorite style of dance: Lyrical

What's your favorite subject in school: Spelling

What do you want to be when you grow up: A teacher

Elizabeth-Rose likes to dance! She spent 7 years in Europe because of her Dad's job: 5 years in Belgium and 2 years in England. She is half Jamaican (because her mom is Jamaican). 

Congratulations Elizabeth-Rose! Keep working hard!


CPAA Student of the Week for October 7, 2013 is...HANNAH!

Congratulations to our new Student of the Week...Hannah! Hannah (9 years old) is in her 3rd year as a student at CPAA. She is a 2nd year member of the Kidz Crew and also takes ballet and jazz class at CPAA. She is taught by Miss Siara and Troy. In class, she has been recognized by both Miss Siara and Troy for her outstanding work.

Here are the answers to her "Student of the Week" questions:

What's your favorite food: Baked chicken
What's your favorite ice cream: Strawberry ice cream
What's your favorite style of dance: Jazz
What's your favorite subject in school: Japanese
What do you want to be when you grow up: A lawyer and a dancer

Hannah has been studying Japanese for 5 years. She enjoys Children's Church and playing soccer and golf. She loves to make up dances!

Congratulations Hannah. You are awesome!


A Wheelchair for Dancers!


TAMPA — The kids released their wheelchairs and leg braces, the sticks that help them see and the iPads that help them speak, and piled them in a corner.
They went to Merry Lynn Morris, with her twisting blond hair and legs like a ballerina in a jewelry box. She helped them stretch and rubbed their bellies.
"Reach your arms all the way up," she said. "Look to the sky, and say thank you!"Morris is a dance professor at the University of South Florida, and more recently, an inventor. She was introducing kids with spina bifida and cerebral palsy to a chair she dreamed up. On this weekend in their class, the chair would let them dance. Not pretend to dance, not be pulled by a dancer, but actually dance.
The kids peered at it, standing tall in the corner of the studio.
Anybody in any body should have the right to dance, Morris said. An accident or a disability needn't relegate the people you love to your back, pushing you, telling you where to go.
If her father had been able to use this chair, he might have danced again, too.
The Rolling Dance Chair was born from the brain of a dancer, not an engineer. It has taken seven years and $150,000 of grant money to get to this point, evolving from a stripped down Segway — those rolling devices that tour groups ride through cities — to a sleek, elegant design.
It's getting closer to what Morris imagined, getting more attention from the world each year. U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, a double amputee, tried the chair on a visit to USF in 2010. In October, Morris will present her invention at the Smithsonian Institution during a conference for innovators, speaking alongside the press secretary from NASA and the deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
The chair is stately with a synthetic round seat that's clear, designed to almost disappear under the dancer. It is sturdy enough for a second dancer to stand on, spinning, leg extended in full arabesque.
The most important feature of the chair is the person sitting in it. He is in control. When he leans, the chair moves. The wheels can propel the chair in any direction using the slightest movement of a body.
It's an extension of dance, Morris said, not an obstacle. No one thinks twice about a tap shoe, or a ballet shoe with a wooden block on the end. Think of Broadway dances, the rolling desk chairs and elaborate sets. Think of the hoops and flames of Cirque du Soleil.
People have a harder time getting past a wheelchair.
"You create these devices and people are frightened of them," said Morris, 38. "Get out of the way, here comes the wheelchair user."
Reality doesn't have to be so black and white, and dance doesn't have to be so exact. It's something she has learned over the years.
"The manifestation of this project is sort of my whole way of being in the world," she said. "It has been shaped by the desire to bring multiple realities together."
• • •
Morris was a dancer from the start. She had strong ankles and uncanny leg extension. She also loved to take things apart, ride her bike with no hands and try every piece of equipment on the playground.
She enjoyed the rigid instruction of ballet, the structure it provided. But she also loved when her dad danced silly with her, tossed her in the air, threw his head back and let loose one of his wild belly laughs.
Bill Morris was a man of God, his family said, a Gideon who distributed free Bibles, a Navy veteran. He was starting a marketing business with his wife, whose name was Catherine but whom he nicknamed Sonshine when they first met at a prayer meeting. They said he rescued animals and people, bringing in those who needed a place to stay.
When Merry Lynn Morris was 12, she and her father painted her room in their Tampa home a sunny yellow. She remembers him leaving to go get more paint, but he didn't return. His car was hit head on, his family said. He was in a coma, and the doctors didn't think he would survive. The accident left him with a severe brain injury, a blind eye, a broken hip and a shattered knee. After seizures set in, he had intermittent paralysis and was mostly confined to a wheelchair.
They took him ballroom dancing for therapy and got him to try standing between ballet bars.
"The dancing stimulated him the most," said Sonshine Morris. "He was beaming. He would smile."
He didn't understand basic things — that you need an umbrella in the rain, for example. But he could answer obscure questions on Jeopardy! or say something deeply philosophical.
They tried every chair they could find, from power chairs with joysticks to simple soft shell models. The chairs all had drawbacks, elements that felt cage-like and separate.
Merry Lynn Morris danced in a professional ballet company and studied at USF and Florida State. She rarely meshed her dance world and home life. The crisp rules of dance, the exacting finger positions and postures, were a respite from the complicated reality.
"They didn't really feel like they connected," she said. "Later, I kind of realized that people recognize that life is bigger, and there are important things, and you can share those things."
As for Sonshine, she dreamed her husband and daughter might dance together one more time, that he might fly across the stage with her little girl.
• • •
Morris has long been drawn to "mixed ability" dance, kinesiology, ways to combine dance and science. For years, she has worked with REVolutions Dance, a company for dancers with and without disabilities, which offers weekly dance classes for kids.
In 2000, she saw a performance by wheelchair dancers and noticed how they had to pump the wheels, how the chair was more of a distraction than a seamless part of the movement.
She and her mother spent time in the back yard taking apart Bill's old wheelchairs, fashioning them into marionettes, wondering if clamps and sticks and pulls might make the wheels move — might make the chair dance.
In 2005, Morris approached the USF College of Engineering with the idea for a wheelchair that moved with the user's body. The first grant was for $20,000. The college bought two Segways. Students mounted a seat to one.
Another group worked with an existing power chair, reorienting the connection of the joystick. Pressure changes on the seat caused movement similar to a Segway. It was good at first, but like a new pair of shoes giving slow blisters. It was jerky, had trouble stopping.
"The experimentation process in this project is incredibly important," Morris said. "You can theorize in your head all of these kinds of ideas and concepts and things, but then the actuality of being in the chair, is a totally different piece of it."
The chair went to California to a company called Visual Realm, then to Pensacola and a company called Vertec, where developer Neil Edmonston started work. It needed smoother, more intricate controls. Maybe an object that could be strapped to the head or chest of the person in it, programmed to read subtle movements. But also something a caretaker could use in place of pushing. A remote control, in a way.
A smartphone, Edmonston realized, with its ability to respond when a person tilts it. It was the perfect option for this supercharged century, when we're all really just bodies interacting with devices.
"When you have that kind of flexibility, you open yourself to a great deal of opportunities," Edmonston said. "This is a research project that could potentially be very exciting."
Edmonston envisions the chair eventually working like a robotic vacuum cleaner, programmed to know the boundaries of your house, to know that when you unload the dishwasher, you need to move back and to the right to get to the counter.
It could be used for even more than dance. It's what Morris wanted from the start.
"What my mom and I discovered when we were caregivers were the challenges of what disability means," Morris said. "Just navigation through a space that was designed for a 20-year-old able-bodied person, it has really opened my eyes in how we design things, how we make those choices, and why. Who are we thinking about?"
Bill Morris died decades after his accident. But he did get to watch as his daughter's invention took shape. A series of dance performances at USF featured an early incarnation of the Rolling Dance Chair.
He went to three of the shows, watching from the dark wings, mesmerized.
Merry Lynn Morris helped Jessica Hendricks climb into the Rolling Dance Chair.
The 7-year-old girl with spina bifida had a pink bow in her hair and a tiny, traditional wheelchair in the corner. Morris set controls on an iPhone and slipped it into a brace against the little girl's chest.
Jessica moved forward. The chair moved forward.
"Whoa," Jessica said. "This is fun. It can turn?"
Jessica moved 45 degrees and the chair spun. Morris hung on, spinning with her, bending deep and extending her leg, and together they flew across the floor.
Stephanie Hayes can be reached at or (813) 226-3394.

CPAA Student of the Week for September 30th is...MORGAN!

Each week, we will choose a "Student of the Week" at CPAA. This will be based on their attitude, work ethic and overall ability to perform well in class. We are so pleased to have our VERY FIRST "Student of the Week" at CPAA...Morgan! Morgan (6 years old) participates in three classes at CPAA - ballet/jazz combo, hip hop and acro. She is taught by both Ms. Siara and Troy.

We asked Morgan a few questions about herself and here are her answers!

What's your favorite food: Salmon
What's your favorite ice cream: Chocolate with sprinkles from Cold Stone Creamery
What's your favorite style of dance: Ballet
What's your favorite subject in school: Science
What do you want to be when you grow up: A model with a green dress!

Morgan is also a yellow belt in karate. She just bridged over to become a Brownie Girl Scout in the Spring. She also LOVES her acting class.


Congratulations Morgan! We are so proud of you!


A Day of Grace with Boston Ballet

This video is...beautiful. Next up, a time lapse for a Saturday at CPAA.


Dancing with Abby Lee Miller!

Hailey and Zoe with Abby Lee Miller
Abby Lee Miller, from the hit TV show "Dance Moms", came to Charlotte to do a meet and greet and teach a master class to a ballroom full of dance students from all over the Southeast. Three students from CPAA went to the Renaissance Charlotte Suites Hotel on Sunday, September 29th to meet and take class from Abby Lee Miller - Hailey, Taylor and Zoe. Not only did they get to meet Abby Lee, they also met Maddie and Mackenzie from "Dance Moms" too!
Taylor with Abby Lee Miller


Festival In the Park

On Sunday, September 22nd, the CPAA Dance Company performed at Festival In The Park. Festival In the Park is a fun-filled event to promote and stimulate interest in the arts. There were over 180 artists and crafts people who demonstrated and displayed their art. There is also many food vendors and rides for the kids, just like a fair or a carnival. It was held in Freedom Park. 

IMG 3731
Miss Siara and the ladies at Festival In The Park


We are all MOVED in!

We have moved into our brand new studio! We are now located at 7520 S. Tryon St, Suite #17, Charlotte NC 28217 (behind Zaxby's and beside Lawan's Soul Food). The new location is awesome! Take a look at these pictures to view the new space!

Break Room

Yellow Studio

Hall of Fame

Blue Studio

Yellow Studio

Front Studio

Until next time!


Summer Updates + BIG ANNOUNCEMENT!

Man, have we been busy during the summer! From competing, to classes, to auditions...we have been on the move! Here's what we've been up to:

  • The CPAA Dance Company and Kidz Crew traveled to Orlando, FL to compete at Legacy Dance Championships Nationals. Not only did they perform well, but they had some of the highest scores of the competition! "Church", "Move Shake Drop" and "Tango" all got the chance to compete in the Final Showdown of the Legends for a chance to win the $600 cash prize. Only 13 total dances in that age category were invited back to compete! 
  • "Church" won Third Place in the Showdown of the Legends. All of our girls represented CPAA so well. We are extremely proud!

  • Summer Prep Classes and Intensives were held for all of the students who were preparing to audition for the CPAA Dance Company and Kidz Crew. These girls have been dancing like maniacs (in a good way!) in order to make sure they are ready for the new dance season. We had over 25 girls participate in the Dance Company prep classes and over 10 girls participate in the Kidz Crew prep classes.
  • Auditions have been very successful! We had three weeks of audition and we are currently in the middle of the last week. It is so exciting to see new and old faces preparing for the upcoming dance season. I bet it is going to be the best year yet!
  • On July 27, 2013, CPAA celebrated National Dance Day by teaching the NDD Hip Hop combination in a free class to our students and filming a video to commemorate the event. Check it out!  
  • NEW! This year we will begin an ALL BOYS Hip Hop Kidz Crew! Auditions will be held on September 14th at 9:00am. We will give FULL TUITION SCHOLARSHIPS to 7 dancers to participate in the All Boys Hip Hop Kidz Crew. Help spread the word to all boys who like to hip hop dance!
Here is the final BIG announcement...


A brand new dance studio will be ready in time for our Open House on Augsut 24th! We are moving to a bigger space to accommodate our dancers better. We have been working so hard to get the new studio ready for our dancers. We can't wait to show you our brand new space!

It's been a crazy summer. And now that it's winding down, we'd love for you all to join us at our Open House on August 24th from 12:00-2:00pm in order to register your children for the new dance season. Classes begin on August 26th. Space is limited, so it's important to get your child registered as soon as possible. 

View the Schedule for the upcoming Season and download a registration form. (or register online!)

We are looking forward to seeing you at CPAA's brand new studio!


Let's Celebrate National Dance Day!

Hello everyone! National Dance Day (NDD) will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2013 this year! Launched in 2010 by “So You Think You Can Dance” co-creator and Dizzy Feet Foundation (DFF) co-president Nigel Lythgoe, National Dance Day is an annual celebration that takes place on the last Saturday in July. This grassroots campaign encourages Americans to embrace dance as a fun and positive way to maintain good health and combat obesity.

Each year DFF creates instructional dance videos for people to learn, perform and share with others as part of NDD. Created by some of your favorite “So You Think You Can Dance” choreographers and featuring some of your favorite dancers from the show, their videos aim to cater to a range of dance abilities so that anyone can take part.

This year, DFF co-presidents Nigel Lythgoe and Adam Shankman choreographed an “Everybody Dance” routine for people of all levels of ability, and SYTYCD choreographers Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo have created a “Hip-Hop Master Class” routine for those who want to challenge themselves.

On Friday, June 26th, at 6:00pm, Miss Siara and Troy will be teaching a free class to ANY and ALL students who would like to learn the Hip Hop Master Class routine! We'd love for all of our students, and any friends or family that would like to participate to come and take class with us that Friday. On Saturday, June 27th, we will all come together at 2:30pm to rehearse and video our routine for National Dance Day. I've attached our video from last year. This year, we are planning an even bigger and better display of our love of dance to celebrate National Dance Day, and we want you ALL to participate.

If you are taking summer classes during the week of July 22nd, we will be teaching the routine in classes during the entire week.

Let me know if you have any questions. I can't wait to see you all to celebrate National Dance Day!


Recital was AMAZING!

CPAA students were phenomenal in this year's recital. Our theme for the 2013 Spring Recital was "Dancing Around the World". All of our recital classes did dances from different parts of the world. We took our audience on a ride all around the world.

We are so proud of our students and their accomplishments from this past year. They have grown so much as dancers, and as people. We couldn't have made this year so successful without our wonderful parents...a BIG THANKS to you all :)

Before the recital started, we played a slideshow of pictures taken by Lauren Cordova at Dress Rehearsal. Many parents wanted to view it again. it is!

The CPAA Dance Company and the CPAA Kidz Crew will perform at Taste of Charlotte on Saturday, June 8th at 3:30pm. Come and support CPAA at the Center Stage at the intersection of Tryon and Trade St. We will be sure to take many pictures and share them with you all!

Summer Classes start on Monday, June 10th. To participate in the CPAA Dance Company or the CPAA Kidz Crew, you must take at least 4 weeks of classes during the summer. Look up the Summer Classes for more information and register ASAP. Space is limited!

Until next time...peace, love and dance :)


Last Day to Purchase Recital Tickets in Advance!

It's recital time! Here's our students chance to show you what they have learned this year! Our students and teachers have been working so hard throughout this year. They are ready to show you all how awesome they are.

Our annual spring recital, "Dancing Around the World" is this Saturday, June 1st at Nation Ford High School starting at 5:00pm. We have an amazing show lined up for you guys. All of our students will be performing their end of year dances.

Today is the last day you can purchase tickets in advance. If you come by the studio today, you can purchase Adult tickets for $10.00 and Children tickets (ages 6-12) for $5.00. If you decide to purchase tickets at the door, the price will increase by $5.00.

Give us a call at the studio if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you all on Saturday!


Progression is Key!

Mar'yana - April 2013 & September 2012
When participating in the CPAA Dance Company, the members are constantly pushing and progressing throughout the year. If you want to take your dancing to the next level, joining the CPAA Dance Company is your next step.  These pictures of Mar'yana, Alex and Ellora are proof! 

This is their first year in the CPAA Dance Company. They are our youngest dancers at the ages of 5 (Alex), 6 (Mar'yana) and 7 (Ellora). Constant training, hard work and dedication will get you far. Just look at these pictures and see the difference. The pictures on the right side are from September 2012, and the pictures on the left are from April 2013. 

Ellora - April 2013 & September 2012

WOW! So much improvement in 6 months...
Keep up the hard work girls! You rock :)

Alex - April 2013 & September 2012


Performances and Competitions...We keep it moving!

Well since the last post, we have had so much going on! One Saturday, some members of the CPAA Dance Company and the CPAA Kidz Crew performed for the Queen City Sarcoidosis Foundation's Annual Dinner. They had a beautiful formal dinner. Our girls performed some inspirational numbers and also some fun, high-energy entertaining dances. The Kidz Crew performed "Move Shake Drop", the CPAA Dance Company performed "Help the People", and Cameron, Toni and Zoe performed their solos. The crowd LOVED our performances. The girls definitely gave hope and inspiration and rocked the crowd too!

This past weekend, the Dance Company and the Kidz Crew traveled to Asheville NC to compete at Encore Dance Competition to the Stars. Also at the competition were other talented, local studios Miller Street Dance Academy and BB Dance Productions. There was so much talent at this competition. It was awesome to be amongst so many talented dancers.

Our girls performed so well! Not only did they perform their numbers the BEST they have ever performed them, but they also scored extremely high! All of our group dances received Platinums, and "Church" received the highest honor to receive...a Diamond! Only two studios actually received a Diamond at Encore in Asheville. We are so proud to be one of those studios! Here are the results:

     1st Overall Junior Elite Small Groups
     Junior/Petite Choreography Award (chosen from    
     all dances performed on Saturday!)
"Dance With Somebody" (Cameron)
     1st Overall Petite Elite Solo
"Move Shake Drop"
     2nd Overall Junior Recreational Small Groups
"The Dance"
     3rd Overall Junior Elite Duet/Trios
"Imma Be" (Toni)
     5th Overall Teen Elite Solos
"Habanera" (Riley)
     Special Judges Award

Encore was our last regional competition of the season. Next up, we are preparing for the recital! The 2013 Spring Dance Recital is "Dancing Around the World". It will be held on June 1, 2013 at 5:00pm at Nation Ford High School Auditorium. We are so excited to have all of our classes, as well as the CPAA Dance Company and Kidz Crew perform in our annual recital. Make sure you get your tickets ASAP!


Community Service for the Kiddies!

On Saturday, May 20th, member of the CPAA Dance Company and the CPAA Kidz Crew completed a community service project for a ministry called "Moved by Compassion".

"Moved by Compassion" focuses on helping provide food and day to day items to homeless men and women. They collect items and bags and pass them out to the homeless on Sunday afternoons. Our goal was to make 50 total kits. The kits included everyday items such as deodorant, lotion, toothbrush/toothpaste, underwear, socks, tuna/chicken kits, vienna sausages, canned fruit, breakfasts bars, and many other items as well.

After practice on Saturday, around 6:00pm, we all brought whatever we purchased to the studio and began to sort and pack bags. We listened to music while the girls and the parents went to work. The girls were so excited to work on something that helps others. They had such a sweet spirit that made them feel so special for helping the less fortunate.

50 kits completed!

A big thanks to all of the students and moms that came to help out! It is so awesome that our girls can make a difference. Also, a big thanks to Drea, Cameron's mom, for putting this community service event together!

The girls posing together after their community service project


Back from Spring Break...On to the Summer!

Welcome back from Spring Break CPAA Nation! I hope you all had a relaxing and restful break during your week off. In classes, we are getting ready for our end-of-year Spring Recital! Our Spring Recital will be held on Saturday June 1st at Nation Ford High School Auditorium. Tickets and more information will be available soon...

Big congrats to Hailey and Zoe! They won scholarships at Nuvo Dance Convention. They got to meet and take classes from world renowned choreographers Travis Wall (SYTYCD), Stacy Tookey (SYTYCD), Ivan Koumaev (SYTYCD), Jason Parsons, Mark Meismer, and Ray Leeper. We're proud of you girls! What a way to spend your Spring Break :)

Now that we are back from Spring Break, it is time to begin registering for your summer classes. We have several options available for you to choose from during the summer. If you are planning on participating in the CPAA Kidz Crew or the CPAA Dance Company, remember to sign up for the Prep Classes and your Summer Intensive!

Click Here to view the Summer Class Descriptions. Download the Registration Form for the Prep Classes/Summer Intensives and the Recreational Classes. Remember, space is limited. Register ASAP to reserve your spot. If you have any questions, feel free to email Miss Siara at or give her a call at the studio!


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