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About Us

  /  About Us

Our Studio

South Valley Creative Dance opened its doors in 2004 with a clear intent to nurture each child as an artist. Over the past 20 years we have continued to center nurturing, well-being, and artistic development at the core of our educational programs. We strongly believe in the inherent value in all children and our studio strives to provide opportunities for personal expression through the medium of dance in a safe, supportive, and encouraging environment. All of our educators have a minimum of a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance, as well as extensive experience working with children of all ages. Our educators understand that dance is more than a series of physical exercises. Instead, we see dance as a fine art engaging the physical, mental, and spiritual senses of each individual.

Who We Are

South Valley Creative Dance is currently under the co-artistic directorship of five individuals who have a passion for providing quality dance education to children. Nicholas Cendese and Tami Knubel, two former owners of the studio along with Julie Johnston, Carrie Peterson, and Kristen Messenger: parents and teachers who have been with SVCD since its earliest years – came together in 2023 to begin a new chapter for this studio that has become a well-loved and respected program in the southern Salt Lake Valley. As 100% co-equals, these five individuals are taking different roles within the studio to make sure goals, opportunities, and challenges are fully met for each dancer. It is their desire to create a space where families truly feel part of a community with a unified appreciation for each child as an artist.

What We Do: Elementary Years

Using creative movement as an introduction to dance for children 18 months to grade 5, we use concepts natural to children such as jumping, hopping, galloping, skipping, sliding, leaping, turning etc.  Through the elements of time, space and energy these movements are expanded upon each year as children explore and create patterns, rhythm, repetition and artistic expression.  This includes age appropriate technique. Use of props, musical instruments, poetry, mathematics, science, visual arts and literature allow limitless discoveries for children as they develop their movement vocabulary.  It is a space where children are allowed to be children and are valued as such.  We believe they are born with an inherent ability to express themselves through the arts and that we, as educators, are simply guiding them through this process of discovery.

What We Do: Grades 6-12

Using the foundation of creative movement during the early years, the older child is then introduced to modern dance.  Through technical training in the modern genre, dancers become skilled technicians in the art of dance.  Working with clarity of line, body articulation, position, fluidity and continuity of motion, students begin to explore and train in a more rigorous fashion.  We incorporate ballet training, stretching, and strengthening exercises to ensure that each student is able to move with power, grace, and awareness.  While the emphasis shifts away from natural movements to more concrete choreography and complex patterns, we continue to develop each student as a creative thinker and artist through improvisation and composition activities.  The studio year-end performance includes all dancers ages 3 to 18, allowing them an opportunity to share their artistry and develop themselves as performers.

Our Philosophy

Our goal as a studio is to help every student understand the unique and wonderful ways dance, movement, and art can be a part of their daily life.

We are not a competition studio and do not stress or teach routines/steps or encourage cookie-cutter performances from our students.  We value each child’s unique individuality and encourage its development. We allow each child to explore and make choices in the moment and encourage creative problem solving over ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers.

We strive to give each student unique tools, ideas, and lessons that they can apply throughout their life and encourage them to always look at the world as artists, art lovers, and creative thinkers.

Creativity In Action

We look for ways that our students can put into practice everything they learn in class.  Once students are old enough (6th grade and up) they are welcome to join “Creativity in Action” – a performing group that meets during its own class period on Thursday evenings.  Dancers in this company have the opportunity to work with guest choreographers, develop their own choreographic ideas, and work to build a show that is performed at the end of the school year. This performance is separate from and in addition to the studio show.  Please contact the studio with any questions about Creativity in Action.