The Cedartown-based business is all about working with youth and adults to spread the love of dancing.
Tiny dancers took dainty steps around a room, following the instructions of Paula Remsen as she leads a trio of young dancers through basic motions used in ballet.
They follow behind like a row of ducklings behind their mother, mimicking to the best of their ability each move Remsen makes. The group each has on a pink outfit and a rainbow tiara, donned before they start each session. Each one for at least an hour gets to be a princess.
Remsen’s goal is to give this new generation of dancers the best foot forward on their goal to becoming stars of the stage — should they choose — during one of many classes her Second Steps Studio School of Dance holds on weeknights in Cedartown at their Prior Street location.
“Anyone can dance,” Remsen said. “Sure, there are technically trained dancers out there, but anyone can dance naturally.”
The goal of Remsen and her instructors at Second Steps Studio is to take that natural talent and train it to become a fluid expression of art, whether through the softer shoes of tap or the more difficult to master pointe shoes of a ballet dancer.
The studio features two pre-ballet classes, one 45-minute course for mothers and their children to dance together, and one for children alone.
There’s also a ballet and tap combo, a ballet, tap and jazz combo, and course just for the trio of dance styles alone. Additionally there are pre-pointe and pointe classes for advanced ballet students, and a dance fusion class as well.
Remsen said adults shouldn’t feel left out, and that classes are being set up for those who are interested in learning as well.
“I think for anyone, but mainly for children is that dance gives them an outlet,” she said. “Most of my kids, and those who tend to be artistic and creative tend to be quiet. So this gives them an outlet to express themselves and have fun.”
Dance classes have been growing in popularity during the past years due to increased exposure from shows like “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing with the Stars,” but Remsen pointed out that dancing has been popular since humans began moving to the rhythms of early musical instruments.
“No one should be embarrassed to come and take part,” she said. “You can come at any level and take part.... you have to get past what others are thinking. Dance is so much about personal expression. You can have two people dancing to the same song and come up with two very different improvisations on it. I’m trying to cater to everyone.”
Remsen added that dance isn’t just for girls, either. A few of her students are boys and take dance under her nephew and theater major Austin Vann, who joined the staff as an instructor.
“He’s a self taught dancer, he just has the ability to do this naturally,” she said.
He’s been working with three boys in the studio and they are learning quick.
“He puts together dances on songs like the Pokemon theme, or to the Darth Vader theme,” she said. “Here coming up he’s working on a routine with the Batman theme. I know in a small town setting it is very difficult to get a boy to dance. You have to get around a lot of issues with that, but the fact that he’s picking more masculine themes helps a lot with keeping their interest.”
The pair of studios that Remsen operates isn’t just all about classes.
Second Steps also has an area for sales and most items needed for classes can be purchased directly from the dance studio.
Remsen is the recent new owner of Second Steps Studio, taking over the business from longtime owner Amy Hooper, who remains an instructor at the School of Dance. Remsen said Hooper wanted to take more time to be with her family, and couldn’t do that running the business as well.
Her life in dance began when she started taking classes at 6, and has been involved with a number of dance companies throughout her career also performed at the University of Mississippi.
“I started competing as a little girl in local competition, and I always had a dream of having my own studio,” she said. “But life happens, and I had children early, and I decided to start taking classes through Amy, and taught for the past five years. ... One of my childhood dreams has come true.”
Remsen served as an instructor for the past five years at Second Steps before taking over the business this year. She also recently joined the Polk County Chamber of Commerce. It has been in business for the past 16 years.
Annual recitals are held in May, and Remsen said that she hopes in the future with two locations to work out of that she can do more.
Ultimately though, teaching dance is just as much a selfish act for Remsen and her instructors, because it allows them to continue to be a part of something they love and enjoy in their lives daily.
“It has always been a part of my life, and when I don’t get to dance I miss it,” Remsen said. “And now I’m here Monday through Friday, it isn’t a part time thing. I’m at home working on dances, choreographing something out. It really is a dream come true.”
Along with youth classes held on weekdays, Remsen said adult classes are set to start with adult tap starting this week. Four are enrolled now, but only 15 spots total are available. Adult ballet will also be available.