Charles Stewart Dance Institute, Redding, CA (1987-90). Owner-Manager school of dance school and Capezio dance wear retail store. I taught ballet and traditional jazz. Other teachers were hired to teach hip-hop, aerobics, belly dancing, and ballroom dancing. Formed and directed 501(c)3 non-profit regional dance company—Redding Dance Theater. Published quarterly dance publication—Gotta Dance. Wrote entire bookkeeping computer programs for the business utilizing Microsoft Excel. Produced, choreographed, and performed a regional California Miss America Pageant (1988).
I truly enjoyed creating the dance studio and teaching classes. Market research revealed that Redding could easily accommodate a third dance studio and there was no dancewear supply store. I designed the studio in an art-deco style with imported vinyl flooring, two permanently mounted video cameras to allow students to record their lesson, and continually showed ballet videos on the four televisions mounted in the store and waiting areas. After just 2 years after the studio and Capezio store opened I was breaking even. However, two problems occurred. The subflooring began to soften and the landlord simply filled the holes with cement. The floor became un-danceable. Also, I came down with hepatitis B (from my acupuncturist) and was sick for a month. Although the employees continued operating the store and I had teachers cover for me, the other dance studios in town spread the rumor that I had AIDS. I threatened the other teachers and the community college to stop spreading the lies but it was too late. No children showed up for class and sales at the retail store dropped to zero. This was in the late ‘80s and there was great fear of AIDS. People were willing to drive 2 hours to San Francisco or Sacramento for their dance supplies instead of buying them at the only store in town. They were afraid that I would sweat on their child and the merchandise in the store was tainted with the virus. As a private business, I could not force people to buy dancewear from me or attend classes. Three months of zero sales and discouraging reports from the only two adult students to return made it obvious that the business was doomed. Reluctantly, I closed both the studio and dancewear store in 1990.