While many in the Illawarra were making New Year’s resolutions dancer Teagan McKeen, 24, was committing a big one of her own.
Ever since she was a child the daughter of The Cram Foundation chief executive Gareth McKeen has wanted to run her own dance school. And she is starting 2017 juggling rehearsals for Beauty and The Beast that started on Friday at the Illawarra Peforming Arts Centre with the preparation that goes into starting a new business.
The former Wollongong High School of Performing Arts student did a one year full time dance course at Brent Street Dance Studio in Sydney where she graduated with a Certificate IV in the performing arts before attending University of Wollongong where she completed a Bachelor of Commerce.
I have a love of business as well as the arts. This is a good way I can pull both those passions togetherTeagan McKeen
Ms McKeen has often worked at several dance studios at the same time. “I feel it is now time that I pull my business and dance degrees and love of working with people together into this new venture,” she said.
In both areas she has great mentors. Her father was the Australia Olympic Equestrian team manager at three Olympic Games as well as chair of the Illawarra Olympic Fundraising Committee. He was also chief executive of WEA Illawarra. And former employer Katie Reid, of Thirroul Dance Academy, has offered to guide Ms McKeen as she ventures into running The Dance Affinity.
“The studio will teach a bit of everything from tap, jazz and ballet to hip-hop and contemporary. We are also going to teach a lot of musical theatre. I am the choreographer for a local musical theatre company called Soap Opera Productions. I have a love of theatre and performing. There is growing interest in that area because of all the new musicals showing in Sydney. We just want the new school to be an environment where the kids come to enjoy dancing. To improve their technique we want to improve their overall self esteem as well as health and well-being holistically...rather than solely focusing on improving their dance technique. If they are in a positive mindset and a comfortable encouraging environment they will find that self drive within themselves,” she said.
Ms McKeen is targeting pre-school to high school students and is running adult classes. “We have an enrolment day on January 29 from 2pm to 4pm at 14 Industrial Dr, Unanderra. We are fitting that out with a proper sprung floor and mirrors so it won’t be ready to start classes yet. Figtree Physical Culture has..let us rent out their space from Wednesday to Saturday where we will be operating classes.” Further information www.thedanceaffinity.com.