Teen entrepreneurs have big dreams for dance company


Sisters Reilly and Madison Hughes always dreamed of one day operating their own dance company, but they did not expect it to come so soon in their lives, as they are only teenagers.

Despite being young, Reilly and Madison, 16 and 14 years old respectively, decided to team up to create Level Up Dance in November 2021.

“Originally, we were just going to teach a couple of classes, until we started growing pretty big and pretty fast,” Madison said. “We decided that we’re going to start a team for next season and begin going to competitions and conventions, and also doing community performances.”

Girls and boys from 5 to 16 years old and any skill level are welcome to be part of the classes, which are held at the link in Nocatee. Tryouts for the next season’s competition team will be held May 15 at the link.

“It’s pretty much open to whoever wants to show up, and we’ll put everyone in smaller groups from there,” Madison said.

Summer classes will be offered once a week after tryouts so that the team can maintain good technique and be ready for the next competition season, this will include an intensive week of classes starting July 25, before regularly scheduled classes get underway Aug. 1.

“We want to dance at places like Disney or Universal (Studios),” Reilly said. “We want to go to really great conventions where we can learn from really great choreographers.”

There are different levels of classes based on a child’s degree of experience and skill. The levels include beginner, intermediate and advanced.

The sisters have been involved in dance since they were 2 years old and have been performing in competitions since they were 6 years old. Their family moved to Florida from North Carolina five years ago.

“We’ve had a very high technique of training in all styles of dance, such as jazz, ballet and tap,” Reilly said. “We came from a very competitive dance studio in North Carolina, and we just couldn’t find what we were looking for, so we just said, ‘Why not create the perfect dance studio?’”

One of the things the Hughes have found throughout their years dancing is that they enjoy the unique mixture of competition and comradery that exists in the dance world.

Part of that comradery they believe is making sure the dancers are involved in their community.

Level Up Dance has already held a food drive in its first couple of months, and another initiative they plan to do with their team this upcoming season is “25 Days of Giving,” which focuses doing a deed of charity or kindness each day between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

“It’s more than just about dance,” said Kim Hughes, Reilly and Madison’s mom. “When the dance team becomes your family, they become your best friends and they become your community.”

“We love being role models for all of the young dancers and understand the importance of hard work,” Reilly said. “You want to be successful but by working hard in a fun way. It’s about being there to lift each other up.”

Making sure they maintain a fun atmosphere, after each class they usually go outside at the front entrance of the link and play on the giant “link blocks.”

 “All the kids love it,” Reilly said. “We’re their teachers, but we’re also still kids, so we’re happy to go outside and play with them.”

Reilly and Madison are both homeschooled and they continue to learn about the balance of schoolwork and making sure a business operates smoothly.

They credit their mother, also known as their “momager” for being there to support them every step of the journey and for helping with the behind-the-scenes aspects.

“It’s a lot and you just don’t realize how much goes into doing something like this,” Kim said. “It makes me proud as a mom.”

For more information or to get involved email levelupdanceandtumble@gmail.com or go to the Level Up Dance pages on Facebook or Instagram.