Dance and yoga studio expands

Friday, April 26, 2019

After just under a year in Alta’s old high school building, it seems yet another business has found room for growth.

Owner Christina Allen is excited to expand with another room on the third floor just for yoga and fitness, giving her 45 year-round dancers their own dedicated room.

“This suits us well for yoga,” she said, showing the spots she plans to renovate. Marker boards are being peeled off and murals will be refinished to help Drishti yogis find their focus.

Their initial move into the building took over what used to be the old high school’s speech classroom. It offers a convenient elevated stage with a sitting area for parents to watch, which is unusual for dance studios.

“[Other studios] usually have a parents day,” Allen said.

Drishti, the sanskrit word for focal point, it is something that’s resonated with her since she was a child with ADHD. Finding her focus brought peace, so now it’s a trademark her kids are guaranteed to hear every session.

“The whole motivation for asking of this room was that my tappers are very… happy,” she said. “I’ll have to refinish this floor, in their first room.”

Eventually, she wants to invest in a new dance floor, but for now, she says it’s good for her dancers to get used to the hard floor, especially with lyrical dance tricks.

“It’s a whole different confidence thing to do it on a hard floor,” Allen said.

She started in May with just a logo and a few flyers, quickly growing to 100 sign-ups for her summer dance camp—more than the 40 or 50 she had hoped for.

Only 10 months in, it’s already time to open up registration for summer dance camp again, something she’s been comfortable with for a while.

“I was in charge of summer dance camps, so the idea of starting this was easy,” she said.

But she didn’t think it would be this easy. A former teacher of history and writing and Buena Vista University and Iowa Central Community College, she had to give it up to run her business full time.

“When I opened my studio, everyone from home was like ‘It’s about time!’,” said the former dance instructor at Omaha’s YMCA.

Thanks to the opportunity provided by the school district, she’s able to stay competitive with the other two dance studios in the area, and remains the only yoga studio in the area.

“It’s kind of surreal,” she said, seeing her dream come alive. “It started with just designing a logo.”

In dancers, she sees a sense of joy come alive. In yogis, it’s a sense of peace and accomplishment as they learn what they’re physically capable of.

“Watching them grow and improve is awesome,” Allen said. “And their enthusiasm is great.”

With so much growth just under a year in, she if hoping to shift her focus to expanding yoga operations and getting more participation.

“Yoga is difficult to get people involved in,” she said. But with yoga camps for kids coming up after dance camp, she hopes to make it a part of younger people’s lives.

“I’m holding out faith yoga will grow,” says Allen.

She soon hopes to offer hot yoga, where rooms are heated to about 95 degrees. Participants move into poses slowly as the body discovers new, more limber ways to stretch, finds higher limits and honors them while the individual gets more in touch with their body’s capabilities.

It’s her next investment in a community and building that has, in a sense, invested in her dream.