By Morgan Bryce
Pink lettering and a silhouette of a young girl pirouetting adorn the dark blue painted walls of Opelika’s Royal House of Klass Dance Studio, which held open tryouts last weekend.
These colors and the “K” in the business name hold significant meaning for Studio Owner Tyesha Hart and her cousin Shamel, who each lost a child during the March 3 tornadoes.
“My 11-year-old daughter Mykala loved to dance and the color pink. Her cousin Jonathan loved royal blue … and when I was thinking about how to do this, I knew that I wanted to find some way to honor them, and the paint and ‘K’ in the studio name is a small way of doing that,” Tyesha said.
Tyesha added that the cousins were close. While Jonathan, nine, preferred playing video games, he would attend Mykala’s dance practices and performances and “enjoyed cheering her on.”
The March 3 tornadoes not only claimed lives from the Hart family, but destroyed all of Tyesha’s earthly possessions. Instead of focusing on her grief and loss, she said she focused on what her next step would be, which eventually led to opening her own dance studio.
Nearly two weeks ago, Tyesha said she learned that the space at 300 Columbus Parkway that once housed Elite Champagne Divas Dance Studio was available. After a quick tour, she immediately gathered the necessary funding to close on a rental deal for the space.
With assistance from Shamel and family, the studio’s interior was quickly transformed into the space that Tyesha had envisioned.
Drawing some of the area’s best dance instructors together, one of the studio’s primary focuses will be its competitive dance team for children ages five to 19 known as the “Royal Diamonds of Klass.” There will be zumba and other fitness classes for children, plus dance programs for adults in the near future.
Previously a stay-at-home mom, this marks Tyesha’s first small-business venture, but will be supported by Shamel and the building owner.
While the studio may acknowledge the memory of their late children, both Shamel and Tyesha said they want it to provide a positive outlet for local youth and be a source of hope in their lives.
“Honoring Jonathan the way she (Tyesha) has means a lot to me. I believe (the studio) is going to make a big difference and impact on the lives of children here,” Shamel said.
“We want this to be something for kids in our area. A lot of kids want to dance but have nowhere to go,” Tyesha added. “This is giving the parents an opportunity to get their kids involved and active.”
Summer class schedules will fluctuate but the studio will be open Monday through Friday in the fall from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. during non-competition weeks and will remain open an additional 30 minutes during competition weeks.
For more information, call Shamel at 334-408-8647.