CHICOPEE – Carol’s Dance Studio is Chicopee’s oldest dance studio. The studio has been around for 63 years and is now owned by Tammie Sypek. Previously owned by Carol Barker from 1958 to 1988 and Carol O’Leary from 1988 to 2018. After a tough year of Zoom classes and COVID-19 precautions, Carol’s Dance Studio is back to normal and ready to welcome new dancers.
According to Sypek, Carol’s Dance Studio had to close from March 2020 until the end of summer 2020. During this time, the studio switched to offering Zoom classes instead of their regular in-person classes.
“Zoom was definitely a challenge trying to teach kids, especially the little ones who had never danced before,” Sypek said. “We lost a lot of children when the pandemic started. A lot of parents didn’t want to be bothered with the Zoom stuff, so they just took it out and it stinks for the kids.
With a sense of normalcy now returning, Sypek said Carol’s Dance Studio is back to in-person classes at full capacity and just had its summer recital in July.
The studio welcomes students from age three and offers a variety of classes in pop, hip hop, jazz, ballet and more. Sypek said with the end of the summer dance season, new classes will begin after Labor Day on Sept. 7.
“The kids are excited to sign up and start a new year,” she said. “We are quite busy and now a lot of new parents are asking for new registrations, so it looks like things are starting to come back.”
During the summer of 2020, Sypek said the studio must follow all COVID-19 precautions, including hand sanitizing, masks, staying six feet apart, limiting class sizes to 10 students or less and close their waiting room. She said she wasn’t sure the studio would end up doing it.
“Every day I was like ‘Oh, we’re never going to get out of this. It’s so much work, ‘but you’re just doing what you need to do to be successful and we did that, so it’s great to be back to normal now and get the kids to come,’ said Sypek.
She said she was thrilled to once again connect with the students and their parents. According to Sypek, Carol’s Dance Studio is a tight-knit group that focuses on being together and being a family.
“We are family oriented and there is a family atmosphere when you are here. All the kids are treated the same and we’re not a big studio, so we’re able to interact with the parents and have that connection with them as well,” she said.
Sypek also praised its staff and how they connect with and treat students.
“My staff are wonderful. They work wonderfully with children, they care about each child and they correct their steps when they are wrong so that they look correct and their technique is correct,” she said.
Those interested in learning more about Carol’s Dance Studio or enrolling their child in a class are encouraged to visit their website at http://www.carolsdancestudio.com/ or call 592-7113.