Five years after setting up shop in Loyola Corners, Areté Dance Center is still teaching locals how to cut a rug. But with a transition in ownership this year, the studio is looking to augment its dance offerings while still providing the inclusive, welcoming atmosphere often missing on the more competitive dance scene.
After former co-owners Rebecca and Lerey Bishop sashayed away from the studio, Kris Mola became Areté’s sole proprietor in July.
Mola, who had a background in ballet and modern dance before pursuing ballroom dancing, is drawing on her varied dance background to expand beyond Areté’s main draw of ballroom and Latin dance classes.
“For a year before the ownership transferred, Kris had a lot of ideas about how to change things,” Areté Dance Center instructor Diane Allison told the Town Crier. “We changed some things around, revitalized the jazz program and hired a new instructor.”
Jazz instructor Annie Wilson is a Los Altos native. Areté also brought on a new ballet teacher, Joseph LaChance.
Areté now offers classes ranging from Bollywood to Zumba alongside ballet, ballroom and jazz.
Serving all ages
Most ballet studios in the Bay Area are geared toward younger students, but Areté’s students range in age from 20s to 90s.
“If you’re 16, you’re old for some of those classes,” Allison said. “I just finished teaching a gentleman – Elton Bell – who’s 93 years old.”
But in the new year, Mola plans to expand the ballet program to younger students.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Allison is such a passionate advocate of Areté’s growth. She started as a student, taking ballroom classes with her husband.
“I decided to get John a gift certificate for his birthday,” Allison said, though the gift was just as much for herself.
She’s since become an instructor at Areté, and the couple now competes together in local competitions.
Areté Dance Center is located at 979 Fremont Ave., Los Altos. For more information, visit aretedancecenter.com.