BELLAIRE - It won't be long before they are dancing in the streets of the All-American Town.
A new home is being constructed for an already well-established dance academy.
T-L Photo/MIKE HUGHES
TURN IT Out Dance Academy’s Lacey and Mandy Baker will soon be moving their studio to Bellaire. The well-established business, and they are excited to be relocating to their hometown.
T-L Photo/BUBBA KAPRAL
THIS EMPTY lot in Bellaire - the former site of the Capitol Theater - will be the new home of Turn It Out Dance Academy, which will be constructed at this location in the coming months.
The Turn It Out Dance Academy will soon have a sparkling brand-new home. The studio will move from its current venue in on Washington Avenue to 3243 Belmont St. in Bellaire. The new site is where the Capitol Theater stood for decades before being razed many years ago. It is scheduled to open in late August.
Turn It Out Academy is operated by a pair of high-energy and highly talented sisters: Mandy and Lacey Baker. Mandy, 27, is the owner while Lacey, 24, serves as co-director.
Both have distinguished themselves as professional dancers on the national scene as well as in the world of academia. They bring a bundle of talent, passion and communication skills to dance instruction.
The sisters are also excited about being able to build a new studio in their hometown.
"Bellaire is my hometown and when the opportunity arose to build a custom-designed dance facility in this town, I jumped at the chance," Mandy said. "Our goal was for our new building to be within an eight-minute drive from our current location, and now we will be more centrally located to all towns in the Ohio Valley.
"It is also interesting that the same location used to house the Capitol Theater so it was a unique opportunity to bring the arts back to the same location," she added. "We are also enthusiastic about having a new studio for our students. They all work so hard, and we are happy to construct a modern, spacious building for them to call home."
The Sisters Baker and their staff of eight instructors currently have 315 students.
"I am happy to have such a fun-loving staff, who all work together to create a positive environment for our students," Mandy noted. "Their communication skills and professionalism represent the mission of Turn it Out."
Before launching professional dancing careers, they excelled on the prep front. Mandy was Bellaire High valedictorian in 2003 while Lacey was third in her 2006 BHS graduating class.
Their glittering Big Reds' accomplishments are not just contained in the classroom. Both were Bellaire High School's Queen of Queens in 2003 and 2006, respectively, and each eventually went on to be crowned the OVAC Queen of Queen.
The sisters have authored sparkling professional dancing resumes.
Mandy earned her college degree from St. Mary's in California. The Gaels are a frequent participant in the NCAA men's basketball tournament. She danced professionally for eight years, seven of which she performed in the nationally renown Radio City Music Hall's Christmas Spectacular in New York City. She also toured the U.S. as a Master Teacher.
"I was chosen to continue dancing in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular last August, but turned down the contract to concentrate on my goal of owning my own dance academy," Mandy said. "I think that is what separates Turn It Out from other competitors; Lacey and myself are true professionals and could still be dancing professionally, but have chosen to bring our talents to the Ohio Valley."
Lacey, meanwhile, enjoyed a professional dancing career in New York and Los Angeles, where she signed with Stiletto Entertainment. That led to a five-year stint performing on the Holland America Cruise Lines.
"My sister and I have traveled around the United States teaching, as well as taking classes ourselves. We are excited to combine our favorite elements of other dance facilities into our building," Mandy said. "Also, we have outgrown our current location. This new location will give us more than enough square footage and state-of-the-art equipment for our business and TIO dance community to continue growing."
The Bakers' undertaking will pump business life into a village in desperate need of such. Hopefully, a new building in the heart of the business district will spark more activity and development.
"Any new business is great for a town. Our main goal is to provide the most comprehensive dance education to the children of the Ohio Valley," Mandy said. "Any boost in community or economy for the town we are located is a bonus. I'm excited that this building will add aesthetic value to Belmont Street, which already has a lot of character and the potential to grow."
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org