Answers by Studio Owner & Artistic Director Lea Dioy-Lo Aparis
Who are you & what do you do?
We are dance studio located in Bellevue, WA, and we specialize in classes of all styles, mostly for school-age kids: 3 - 18. We have ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, hip hop, break dancing, and more. Our Company is comprised of over 30 dancers who train to perform and compete at events throughout the local community and beyond.
Why & when did you start your school?
I had worked for the previous owner as a teacher for 10 years, when she decided to retire and was faced with closing her studio. So, over 5 years ago, I bought her business and have developed Cornerstone Studio into what it is today! I’ve always had a passion for teaching dance, and my corporate business background gave me a great foundation to start from.
What type of dance does your company focus on?
We encourage our dancers to be well-trained in all styles of dance, from ballet to break dancing. However, the most popular styles of dance at our studio are jazz, contemporary, and ballet. We also produce an annual Nutcracker each December.
What's the most memorable dance experience your company has shared, & what made it so special?
The most memorable experience was probably the 1st time our dancers performed at Disneyland. It was a really fun opportunity for them to showcase their skills up on stage inside of the theme park and to take a trip out of state for dance. There were a lot of fun memories made, and we’ve performed there 2 more times since!
Describe your company in one word:
What do you all enjoy doing when not dancing together?
The kids love to get together for sleepovers and fun activities. They’re dancers, so they love doing makeup, jumping on trampolines, and of course dancing wherever they are!
If you were to compare your work to a superhero, who would it be & why?
I’d say Wonder Woman, only because my staff and I are so incredibly busy all the time that it’s amazing we can still produce such thoughtful and powerful work in the midst of it all.
Why do you choose to make dance, and specifically why in Seattle?
I choose to make dance because it sets my heart free and lets me express my creativity and emotions through physical art. Seattle is an amazing place for the arts and dance because everyone’s tastes are different; most people are open to new ideas and can appreciate art/dance for its uniqueness. From classical to abstract, there is a lot of patronage in this city.
What are some interesting/little-known facts about you?
I danced for the Seattle Super Sonics for 3 seasons, back when we had a NBA team... We also have an all-boys Crew at Cornerstone that is run by my husband, Jerome, who is a 2-time world-champion break dancer and currently dances for Macklemore. Unfortunately the Crew was unavailable to showcase [at the fundraiser].
Anything else you'd like to share with our readers?
Enjoy! Dance is an amazing experience for all.
You can read more about Cornerstone Studio & Company online at their website. Make sure to "Like" their page on Facebook, & follow them on Instagram & Twitter, and subscribe to their channel on YouTube for all the latest & greatest!