For Kristina Robison, opening her own dance studio in Nocatee Town Center is the realization of a lifelong dream.
“Every day from the time I was 5 years old, I would tell my mother, ‘Mommy, I don’t need to go to school because I’m going to be a dance teacher and own a dance school,’” Robison said.
This summer, that dream will become reality, as Robison and her husband, Vaughan, open Grace Conservatory. To be located at 485 Town Plaza Ave., Ste. 450, the new dance studio slated to open in early August will offer lessons for both children and adults.
The couple, who moved to Nocatee’s Willowcove neighborhood with their three young children last fall, said Grace Conservatory will bring the arts to the growing master-planned community.
“We saw that Nocatee was just such a family-oriented place with amazing schools – but there really weren’t many arts opportunities in the area yet,” Robison said. “We wanted to bring the arts to this great community and round out the offerings here.”
A life of dance
Despite her childhood protestations – which continued right up until it was time to go to college – Robison did indeed go to school, continuing on to study dance at the well-respected dance conservatory at Texas Women’s University.
“I’m so glad my mother made me go – I learned so much about dance and the history of dance,” she said. It helped shape me to be the dancer and teacher I am today.”
Following graduation from college, she returned to her home in San Antonio where she taught at a local dance studio before moving with her husband to New York City. She joined a dance troupe there and performed professionally for two years before starting a family.
After a move to Nashville to be closer to family, the Robisons moved to Nocatee and initiated plans for Grace Conservatory, drawing on Vaughan’s professional experience as a project manager.
“We have a great partnership,” she said. “He handles the planning and business side of everything and I handle all the rest.”
Dance for all ages
Grace Conservatory – which takes its name from the middle name of Robison’s daughter – will offer classes for dancers as young as 2 years old in tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop and lyrical – which incorporates elements of jazz, ballet and modern dance. Registration is now open on the school’s website (www.graceconservatory.com), and the conservatory has also been operating a booth at the Nocatee Farmer’s market to introduce local families to its offerings.
In addition to Robison, the studio will have two certified dance teachers, with classes offered Monday through Saturday for dancers at all levels of experience.
“Everyone can dance,” Robison said. “My goal is to help build confidence.”
She also hopes to foster a love of dance and the arts among even the youngest students.
“I want to help them build that love, and hopefully it’s a love that will continue throughout their lives,” she said. “Dance builds discipline, it builds character, it builds identity and strength. There’s nothing better than to see a child’s face light up with a big smile because she can’t wait to come to dance class.”