The Cedartown Academy of Performing Arts

The Cedartown Academy of Performing Arts is opening soon at 307 Main St., Cedartown. 

Sean Williams/SJ

Cedartown residents may have noticed ladders, paint buckets, and renovating downtown lately.

That's because that vacant, eye-sore of a building taking up space in Cedartown is being recreated with a new vision in mind: The Cedartown Academy of Performing Arts. Located at 307 Main St., Denise Johnson is back after a 17-year hiatus to use her lifelong experience in performing arts to teach various forms of dance including tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, acting, and theatrical dance production.

The Academy will be officially up and running again Aug. 7, and the academy's grand opening and open house is Sunday, Aug. 6 from 1 to 6 p.m.

Dance Max of Marietta will be at the school for shoe and fitting and dance wear.

The academy itself is an "elite performing arts school with more than 40 years of experience," writes Johnson on her website. Johnson is a certified teacher by Dance Educators of America – meaning she is test certified to teach dance- and provides education "through proper, formal techniques."

Whether the students are taking classes for acting, tap dancing, or jazz, those enrolled will be graded on goal based syllabus for every level and will receive timely reports. Parents who enroll a child will receive updates on their child's performance and can attend interval parent's days.

Once ready, the student's and teacher's hard work will be demonstrated at various competitions and venues throughout the year.

Those interested in registering can pay a visit to the academy once open or enroll at the website at http://www.cedartownacademyofperformingarts.com/register.

The grand opening of the dance academy is good news for both the die-hard dancers of Georgia and the regulars of Cedartown because a tired old building is being replaced with a place for individuals to express themselves and entertain others.

This idea is stated best by building owner Jordan Hubbard who is "excited to get Denise in that building."

"Of all the buildings downtown, this one has been an eyesore for a while," Hubbard said. "We are glad to get it going for her and look forward to seeing the great things she does for the children of Polk County. She has a passion for this business—and it's good to see more folks working with our youth of Polk."

Dancing since age 3, Johnson certainly has a passion for the art. Johnson was given the opportunity to dance with legends such as Kenny Ortega, Patsy Swayze, Charles Kelley, Gary Orr, Frank Hatchett, and more thanks to her background of performing.

Johnson also won the State of Georgia talent show in 1976, was chosen for the first Georgia Governors Honor Program in dance, and has taught over 4,000 students in Northwest Georgia. Her students have performed at various venues and events including the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and a televised Disney special.

Another staff member helping Polk youth to become the best dancers around include dance and theatre teacher Alexis Robinson who is currently a Jacksonville State University senior and is close to earning her bachelor's degree in theatre performance. The theatre buff has also received training in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, and improvisational.

Sydney Harding is a Jacksonville State marching ballerina who has received education in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop. Harding has participated in her school's dance line and served as a captain of two years. She hopes to graduate in 2018.

Sara Whitner, like Johnson, began dancing at the age of 3 at the Cartersville School of Ballet before performing with the Cartersville City Ballet Company. Whitner has studied ballet, jazz, tap, and modern. The lifelong dancer is also known for her choreography.

New businesses opening is always exciting—especially when those businesses introduce the community to culture and the arts.

Johnson and The Cedartown Academy of Performing Arts, welcome back.