Wishes Come True for Fishers Dance Studio

Writer: Jocelyn Vare
Photographer: Tenth Street Photography, Noblesville

When the Fishers YMCA first opened in 2002, it created opportunities for residents to try new activities. Kelley Richards approached the Fishers YMCA with an idea. She wanted to offer dance lessons to children and the new YMCA could be the perfect partner to make that dream come true.

“Fifteen years ago, the Y welcomed my idea with open arms,” Richards says. Her first dance classes were held at the facility and 40 students participated. The first dance recital of her YMCA dance students was called “Wishes.”

“Dance is my passion,” says Richards, who was a professional singer and dancer before moving to Fishers and raising her family. As a follow up to her performing life, she started a new career as an instructor and dance school owner. Her experience as a dance class teacher at the Fishers YMCA led her to open her own studio in 2010, which she named Wishes Dance Studio.

Today, Wishes Dance Studio teaches more than 1,000 students the art of dance at a large studio facility near 126th Street and SR 37. Richards and her staff teach ballet, pointe, tap, modern, jazz, contemporary and hip hop to students from 18 months old to adults.

“Our tremendous teaching staff is the reason why Wishes has grown so much over the years,” Richards says. “They believe as I do that we have just one rule for our students – to have fun.”

Wishes offers the fun of dance in multiple classes for pre-school, youth, teen and adult and for all skill levels. Wishes also offers dance instruction, but Richards feels that it is more than that.

“We believe in three S’s,” Richards says. “We want our students to grow in their self-confidence, be sweating and be smiling.” Performances are an important part of Wishes’ approach to dance because they help the students grow as dancers and as confident individuals. Each performance includes exciting dance costumes that enhance the performance and the dancers’ enjoyment, too.

“The students feel great when they are on stage and hear the applause,” she says. “They feel validated and blossom into strong dancers, both inside and out.”

Wishes Dance Studio will be performing for the entire community at the first Spark!Fishers event held on June 30. Students will be dancing on the performance stage during the event as well as in the parade that evening. Wishes will be partnering with School of Rock to create a special parade performance. School of Rock students will be playing live music on a float while Wishes Dance Studio students dance to the music. This is the first time the two arts education businesses will team up for a parade experience.

“We are excited to be selected to perform at Spark!Fishers,” Richards says. “This is a brand new community event that celebrates creative ideas and our students from all different levels have the chance to become a part of it all.”

There are four dance companies at Wishes that focus on performances specifically. Twilights are dancers ages eight to 12 and Dream Catchers are dancers 13 and over. Starlettes are an audition-based dance company and Synergy is a pre-professional company of a few high school dancers who may be pursuing dance as a career. These four companies travel for special performances. They have performed at Disney World and will be traveling to New York City this summer to dance at the Statue of Liberty and Central Park. Other Wishes performances include Pacer games, Fever games and Youth America Grand Prix, the world’s largest international student dance competition.

The most unique performance that Wishes Dance Studio offers to the Fishers community takes place in the fall. The Wishes facility is transformed into the Haunted Dance Studio, a dance-themed haunted house for the Halloween season. The event begins with a ballerina awaking from a coffin to dance en pointe and concludes with a dance-filled masquerade ball. The experience is new each year so that community visitors can be surprised by the scares the haunted house creates but little ones can have a “lights-on” experience instead.

As Richards looks to the future for her Wishes Dance Studio, she sees greater performance opportunities for the students and the Fishers community. She is inspired by the new Spark!Fishers event to try something new and keep improving and reinventing, for the sake of her students – and for the love of dance.

Upcoming Wishes Dance Studio Events

Saturday, June 30
Spark!Fishers performances on stage and in the parade, in downtown Fishers

Friday, July 6
Performances in New York City

Friday, August 24
Open auditions for “Christmas Wishes” at Wishes Dance Studio, 12810 Ford Dr., Fishers

Saturday, October 27
Haunted Dance Studio at Wishes Dance Studio in Fishers

A family-friendly haunted house with a dance theme, $5 per person

Saturday-Sunday, December 1-2
Christmas Wishes at the Warren Performing Arts Center in Indianapolis

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