We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon Wilson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Shannon, how does your business help the community?

As a dance studio owner for children, Classic Image Dance contributes greatly to our community, and it’s part of our mission to focus on creating community –
community within our 4-walls, and our greater community by spreading joy and providing opportunities for our students to give back to the community they live in.

We create a space where children come for an experience, where they feel loved & welcome, have a 2nd home, and a space where families can gather and make new friends. Not only are we creating community within our own community, but we love to spread joy to our greater community through performances at special city events, children’s activities, retirement homes and more. Dance is a wonderful activity for children to build confidence, increase physical fitness and enhance their social emotional skills, but part of being a dancer, and part of the
training we provide, is sharing our love of dance with others and bringing happiness to our audiences.

Part of our curriculum at Classic Image Dance is help create tomorrow’s leaders. An important characteristic of a leader is someone who gives back to their community, and at CID we participate in several community service projects throughout the year to help those in need right in our home town.

We know most of our students will not go on to experience dance as a career, but the life-lessons they learn in the classroom (respect, perseverance, grit, teamwork, responsibility, determination, passion, goal-setting & humility) can be carried on with them for a lifetime, in all their future endeavors. Our goal is to
develop outstanding, contributing members of society, who will continue to give back and spread these lessons in all they do.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.

I started my career as a dance studio owner/dance teacher when I was 19. I was a Junior at the University of Colorado and my mom decided it was time for her to close her dance studio. Even though I knew it was the right time for my mom to retire, my heart broke for the students, so I decided to take over. At the time, it was more of a hobby for me and I didn’t think I would pursue it as a career. I just loved dance and teaching so much, and I was young and naive, I never thought it would be a problem to have a dance studio and finish school. I was
planning on going into education and being a school teacher, but those plans quickly changed when my dance studio grew to a point where I needed to put most of time, energy and focus on the business. After graduating college early, I dove head first into growing my dance studio. Within 5 years we had added a full size gymnastics gym and another 5 years later we added a full music program.

While I was a competitive dancer growing up, my heart always sat with the students who came to class once a week for the pure love of dance. I knew what an impact dance had on my life growing up and was watching it impact the lives of my students every day, so I knew it was important for all kids to have access to the arts, and made that my goal. It didn’t matter to me if they came to
class once a week or 5 days a week, I just knew the importance of what was happening inside the dance/ music/gym room needed to spread far and wide. I believed dance was for everyone – any age, any level, any size. Moving & dancing was good for the soul.

In 2012, I sold my studio in CO to move to AZ to help my son pursue his dreams of golf. I thought that was going to be the end of my dance studio career, but I was wrong. In 2017, I purchased Classic Image Dance and have had the opportunity to create a unique space for children all over again. I still have the same beliefs and the same mission and want every child to be able to experience dance. I love what I do, and I consider my job one of the best in
the world, but like most things in life it comes with it’s own set of challenges.

There were challenges in growing my first studio and just figuring out how to run a business as a young 20-something. There were challenges in selling a business, in buying a business and in making the new business my own. There were culture changes that had to be made, staff that had to be re-trained or let go, and finding my place as a studio owner in a new town, with new customers and expectations of the way “things used to be.” I would never say that starting a business or growing a business is easy, but as Theodore Roosevelt said, “nothing worth having comes easy.” Every challenge grew me as a person and a leader. It’s overcoming the challenges that allow you to move to the next level, and having a support team on your side to help you through those challenges is a must. I believe everyone needs a mentor and a coach. Their outside perspective allows you to view things from a wider lens and gives you perspective you may have never seen before. You also need supportive family & friends that will be there for you, but will also tell you the truth. And you need to be kind to yourself, do your best to not take business personally and give yourself time to rest & recharge. Remember that you own the business; the business does not own you. That is probably the biggest lesson I have learned through 24 years of business ownership.

At Classic Image Dance (CID) we believe in teaching leadership & life skills and helping to build life-long relationships through excellence in dance. Dance is for
everyone and we would love for children everywhere to have access to the arts. At CID we focus on the whole child – promoting healthy bodies, healthy minds and healthy hearts. “We don’t teach kids to make great dancers. We teach dance to make great kids.” ~ Misty Lown

We offer professional dance instruction for students 2-18 years old and adult classes, catering to all ability levels. At CID we follow the Safer StudioTM guidelines, promoting the overall health and well being of our students. All teachers and staff are YPAD certified, background checked and CPR & First Aid certified. We practice conservatism in music, costume and choreography choices and believe in letting kids be kids.

We hope you will come experience the CID difference. We would love to share the joy of dance with you and your child. At CID we are More Than Just Great

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

There are so many people that deserve credit and recognition in helping me achieve my goals and do what I love every day. I would like to shout out to the More Than Just Great Dancing® organization, my mentor Misty Lown and all of my fellow studio owners who are a part of this incredible group for continually pushing me to be my best, and for their constant encouragement and inspiration.

I would also like to thank my dance teacher, Lisa Holtz Odell, for showing me that hard work pays off and for always being there with a guiding hand or inspiring words to keep going.

And lastly, I would like to thank my family. Starting with my mom, Bev Meyer, who was also my first dance teacher and first boss. She pushed me like no one else could; she taught me the meaning of diligence, perseverance and hard work; and helped me become the dance teacher and studio owner I am today. I would also like to thank my husband, Jason, and my 3 boys, Brady, Riley & Cameron for the unending love and support, and for their patience and encouragement always, but especially during the hard times. And I would also like to thank my boys for understanding when I couldn’t be at all the things they were doing because I was in a season of growing the business.

Website: https://classicimagedance.com

Instagram: @my3boyssw and @classicimagedance

Twitter: @my3boysSW

Facebook: https://facebook.com/classicimagedance

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCz8MISS3JnV4QqTjKdgtbcg

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.