Renee Fleischer, right, leads a dance class at her Steamboat studio Saturday.

Photo by Joel Reichenberger

Renee Fleischer, right, leads a dance class at her Steamboat studio Saturday.

Steamboat's Oak Street Dance Studio gets new name

Elevations Dance Studio to open Aug. 19 in space on Oak Street

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Renee Fleischer, left, leads a dance class Saturday morning in her downtown Steamboat Springs studio.

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Renee Fleischer leads a class at her new studio.

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For more information about Elevation Dance Studio, visit www.elevationdancestudio.com or call 970-871-1880. Class registration begins today, and an open house is Aug. 19 with free classes from 1 to 7 p.m.

— It was not quite 10 on Saturday morning, and Renee Fleischer already had 20 women dancing up a storm. As heavy Latin beats pounded from the speakers, the energetic teacher led her Zumba class through a series of vigorous dance steps.

It was a scene the lifelong dancer had never pictured.

“I never thought I’d have my own dance studio,” Fleischer said. “It was sort of a dream. But the timing’s right.”

The purple and white walls inside what was once Oak Street Dance Studio have been painted soothing beige. A front desk is under construction downstairs, and new carpets will be installed before classes begin Aug. 30 in what now is called Elevation Dance Studio.

Fleischer, who taught Zum­ba fitness dance when the building at 326 Oak St. still was Oak Street Dance, signed a year lease on the space and will reopen with the new name and a new vision.

Registration for classes at Elevation begins today.

“There are so many talented kids and adults within Steamboat,” said Fleischer, a former Denver Broncos cheerleader. “And there are amazing instructors that live here. We’re going to strive to bring that out.”

For two years, Wendy Mik­­elsons and Heidi Jolly managed the Northwest Ballet Studio, which then transformed into the Oak Street Dance Studio, renting the space out to instructors by the hour.

Karin Kagan, who owns the space with her husband, Josh, said they look forward to having Fleischer direct the studio staffed by 12 dance instructors.

“We were thrilled she was interested in the space, especially with her dance experience,” Karin Kagan said. “We’re extremely excited for the change. We’re excited for the community with the variety of opportunities she’ll provide for young students to adults.”

The new dance studio will offer a school year, curriculum-based dance program for children as young as 3.

Fleischer said the in-depth program focuses on building foundations of technique.

The youngest students will have a half-hour First Steps class, and 4- and 5-year-olds will begin to learn basic ballet techniques. Starting at age 6, children’s classes will be split into jazz, ballet and hip-hop.

Adult classes will include hip-hop, jazz, contemporary, turns and leaps, Irish dancing, hoop dance and belly dancing.

Fleischer will teach four Zum­­ba classes and jazz dance. But as a former dance student and performer, she never thought she’d be at the head of the class.

“When you start teaching, you feel in the back of your head, ‘Can I do this?’” she said. “But I do love teaching.”

She said dance instruction in Steamboat doesn’t always keep up with the latest trends in teaching and artistry, something she hopes to remedy by using her network of dancers and choreographers in Denver, where she attends classes and conventions.

“I feel like I can bring something new to the table,” she said.

After Zumba class Satur­day, the women dissolved into small groups to sip water and chat. Gina Toothaker said she takes several classes at the studio, and when it changes directorship, she will continue to hone her style and passion in the same space.

“It’s exciting,” Toothaker said about Fleischer’s endeavor. “I think it will bring a great new energy to the studio.”

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