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Friday, March 31, 2017

Belladance: Local Dance Studio wins BIG

Belladance Senior Dance team 
This time of year, talk of the “Big Dance” abounds but while some might think of college basketball, Julie Tedesco Keller (owner of Belladance) could only think of the incredible success of her dance teams at the Revolution Talent Competition in Columbus, OH on March 19.  This major regional competition featured 546 different routines but at the end of the day, Belladance’s Senior Team stood out amongst all the rest, receiving first in their division, first place overall, and the highest scoring routine of the entire weekend. This qualified them to travel to the World Competition in New York City in early August.
Co-Owners of Belladance Julie and Bella Keller

Keller, who opened the studio last summer, is incredibly proud of the accomplishments of her dancers at this tournament but also has a special reason to be proud- Bella Keller, Julie’s high school senior daughter, danced with the winning senior team.  Additionally, Bella was awarded a platinum medal for her solo performance, a first place trophy in her category, and third place out of all 28 of the solo performances.  As if that weren’t enough, Bella recently got the news that she had received a full-ride Governor’s Scholars Program scholarship to attend Northern Kentucky University to study dance and has decided that while pursuing her degree will also continue with, and enhance her role in, Belladance Studios- taking on the role of co-director with Julie Keller.

As Julie Keller approaches one-year of operation at her Fort Thomas studio and reflects back on the time spent there, she cannot help but feel quite content and proud of all of the accomplishments. Says Keller, “This studio has such a family feel and we are in a truly happy place; we’ve received so much love and support during our first year here.”

Keller went on to say that her husband agrees but- continuing with the college basketball theme- he is amazed that “there is not only March madness on the court but it is happening in the dance world too.”

Small Lyrical Group
And madness might be the perfect word to describe the success of Belladance at the competition.  In addition to the senior team’s victories, Keller's younger team, The Sparkledots, competed on Saturday and received a platinum medal, first in their category, and first place overall for their age group.  On Sunday night, The Sparkledots received recognition for being the “highest scoring novice routine of the weekend,” per Keller.

Julie Kuhnhein, mom of eight-year-old Annie Kuhnhein who participates on The Sparkledots and had her first solo, says of her Belladance experience, “We have danced with a majority of studios around Fort Thomas and feel like we have found the perfect fit for us at Belladance.”  Kuhnhein went on to say, “This studio is an amazing combination of artistic talent, true passion and a well-run business that feels like family. Julie and Bella have a vision that I did not truly appreciate until watching our team compete this year.”

Kuhnhein also appreciates the amount of individual attention her daughter receives from Belladance and the team bonding that both her daughter and her experience as members of the Sparkledots.  She finishes by saying, “all of the mothers have commented during the season just how impressed they are with their daughter’s improvement, along with the true love of dance Miss Julie works to instill in the girls.”

Kelly Horner, mom of Brianna who is getting her first experience on a dance team as a member of the Sparkledots, agrees with Kuhnhein saying, “She (Brianna) has grown so much as a dancer, and has developed a special bond with her teammates. It has been amazing to see the girls together on and off the stage.”

Clearly Julie and Bella Keller are doing something right to not only enjoy such recognition from the adjudicators at competitions this past year but also to have so many wonderful things said about them by the parents of her students.  In this regard, Bella had "high hopes for what this studio would accomplish this year; however, it has far surpassed all of (her) expectations. The love between all of (the) girls is so real and undeniable. It has been quite the adventure this year and I can't wait to see where the journey will take us."

Bella Keller with the Sparkledots
The Kellers have plans, though, to not just rest on their first-year accomplishments but to grow from there.  There has been discussion of possible expansion of the Fort Thomas studio which is their second studio (Belladance’s original studio is in Florence and continues to do extremely well as a business and in competitions and education).  Additionally, they look forward to welcoming students soon for their second year in Fort Thomas.  As such, Belladance will be holding tryouts for their competition teams on Thursday May 4.  For the full schedule or more information, interested persons are encouraged to check out their website at for additional information.

To close with a quote from Whitney McKay, guidance counselor at Johnson Elementary school and mom of Betsy who is also a member of the Sparkledots, “Julie and Bella are building more than competent, exceptional dancers; they are developing kind, compassionate, and caring girls! My daughter knows that she is accepted exactly as she is but she is also expected to give 100% to her teammates and the other girls in Belladance.”  That is what this world needs more of, to be sure- compassion, acceptance, and 100% effort.

Monday afternoon class
(Writer’s Note- in the interest of full disclosure, my 5-year-old daughter dances at Belladance. She has grown immensely as a dancer, with her stage confidence, her presence, her knowledge of dance, and her admiration for Miss Julie, Miss Bella, and her fellow students.)

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