Heart and Soul and Love of Dance is Found at NCDA
“When Love and Art Come Together, Expect a MASTERPIECE.” -Anonymous
Growing up a dancer, you can imagine now as a young mother of 2 little girls how high my hopes were that one of them would enjoy this form of physical art and expression like I did. But I was happy with whatever path they chose. Yet at the age of 3 my oldest daugther Amber (who was already slaying living room dance parties, of course) stepped into her first real dance studio to give a drop-in class a try. She had fun and continued in that class for a few months, then upgraded to another class… and then to a pre-competitive team for another series of months & the more she danced the better she got, the more she was looking forward to “dance class” and the more she wanted to GET on that stage!
We decided to start letting her explore different studios & I’m not going to lie; when I began the search for where to go next it was daunting with the amount of dance schools and studios in the San Diego Area. But North County Dance Arts
, a studio in Carmel Valley, seemed to catch my eye with their website and their reviews. I gave them a call and a friendly, well spoken secretary took down notes on what I was looking for and said I would get a call back. Within about 10 minutes I heard back from a gentleman named Louis McKay who answered all my questions & told me all I needed to know about what his studio could offer Amber, which was only 1 class for her age & technique level. (Other studios had more to offer for her age group.)
One thing that Louis McKay said in particular that impressed me so much was “We don’t just teach little girls dances… we teach them to DANCE!” I thought, “WOW…. that’s someone who understand and respects the fundamentals!” Although Amber was having fun doing lots of cute dances on various stages, if she truly wanted to learn to dance it was going to require studying under a teacher like Louis McKay. My gut nodded in agreement as I hung up the phone. I liked this guy. I soon learned that North County Dance Arts (aka NCDA) was established back in 1980 and was originally known as “Louis McKay Studios.” It’s no wonder they are recognized as having the most professional teaching staff in all of San Diego county & were voted “Best Dance Studio” in San Diego for over 36 years! say whaaaaat!
I was excited to hear not only “Mr Louis” himself would be the instructor for Amber’s class but it would be co-taught by him & his lovely wife Tanya McKay (aka Mrs. Tanya to the students). The two of them are brilliant with keeping the younger kids engaged and having fun while learning by joking around with one another & having the perfect blend of structure & silliness. The hard wood floors have little placement dots to keep the girls in their own spots as they giggle, stretch and dance the hour away. The music plays through a great sound system & is controlled by what seems like Mr. Louis’ magical powers (but is truly a small remote in his dance pants, haha).
In just the past few months of dancing at NCDA I can see a big improvement in Amber’s technique. She’s gotten much better at all 3 styles they study in her class; tap, ballet & jazz. They are now working on the one and only routine she will learn this year and that is for the annual recital which will be in July.
NCDA provides all levels of dance instruction from beginning through professional level. They are located at 12750 Carmel County Road in unit 103 which is close to the main intersection of Del Mar Heights Road & Carmel County Road. There are 2 studios in the facility & they also have a variety of dance wear, shoes, tights etc for purchase. One of my favourite parts of the studio are the pictures they have up of past students with hand written notes to Mr & Mrs McKay about the impact this studio has had on them as dancers and as children growing into adulthood. There are also some pretty epic throwback pics of Louis himself in his “heyday” on stage!!
I know there are other studios out there with more square footage, more rooms & fancier places to sit and observe the classes in session. But when it comes to the heart and soul and love and professionalism of the art of dance — nothing I have seen so far has topped NCDA
! You can contact them at 858-792-9303
with any questions you have. I am thrilled to continue to watch Amber flourish as a dancer in this positive environment and if you’re thinking of testing out a dance studio in Carmel Valley, look no further because North County Dance Arts is where it’s at!