Business & Real Estate

Cutting a new rug in Los Altos : Dance center owners strive for excellence in aspiring students

Photo By: Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier
Photo Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier The husband-and-wife duo of Lerey and Rebecca Bishop, left, and Kristina Mola, not pictured, opened Arete Dance Center at Loyola Corners in August. The couple compete professionally in Latin dance throughout the United States.

For residents with two left feet, help is just around the corner – or more specifically, at Loyola Corners.

That’s where the co-owners of Areté Dance Center – Rebecca and Lerey Bishop and Kristina Mola – put their collective knowledge and experience in dance to use. The trio opened the center, located at 979 Fremont Ave. in Los Altos, last August.

Areté provides a plethora of options for adults with a desire to learn dance. The center offers individual and group lessons in genres such as ballroom, ballet, jazz and Bollywood dance. In addition, it provides dance instruction for brides and grooms to-be, as well as dance fitness classes.

“We want adults to experience that it really is never too late to do something you want to do and be good at it,” said Lerey, who with his wife, Rebecca, competes professionally in Latin dance throughout the country.

He pointed to the dance center’s name as a statement of the type of instruction and professionalism dance students can expect. Areté, according to Lerey, is Greek for “excellence of any kind.”

“We wanted something that communicated a desire for professionalism – a quality place to come and dance,” said Lerey, who began his career as a ballroom dance instructor in 2008.

Rebecca noted that the ownership group’s collective education and experience in dance is an added bonus for students enrolled in any of the center’s classes. A Bay Area native, she received her professional training with the Marin Ballet in San Rafael and Alonzo King’s Lines Ballet in San Francisco before achieving certification in Latin dance from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance.

Mola studied dance at the renowned North Carolina School of the Arts and The Juilliard School, earning a bachelor’s degree in dance. Pursuing competitive dancing in the American Rhythm style, she previously danced with a professional company.

Prior to opening Areté, the trio owned and operated Portland Dancesport in Oregon for three years.

“What we can provide for our students is that level of instruction that we were known for in Portland,” Rebecca said. “We also get to expand our artistic creativity.”

The trio is ready to display that creativity to Los Altos by hosting the dance center’s first Holiday Show, scheduled 7:30 p.m. Dec. 14.

The show will feature performances from students and instructors and serve as a platform “to showcase and exhibit what we can do dancewise,” Rebecca said.

Mola added that she hopes the show will inspire the timid to try dance.

“Sometimes people are intimidated to try it, so to come and watch it first might be easier for some,” she said.

Rebecca said one of the center’s main goals is to provide a positive experience at the comfort level and pace of each student.

“As far as students are concerned, that’s our No. 1 (goal),” she said. “Every time you walk in here, we want you to feel completely at home.”

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