Any successful dance studio always has a strong and passionate leader to guide and support. We are so thankful to have Michelle Hopper-Doyle as our studio director who brings not only wealth of success in the industry to help with student development, but also a love for nurturing our students to be the best performers they can be. This month we sat down with Michelle to discover her journey to creating LAUNCH.
Why did you open LAUNCH Performing Arts Centre?
I feel so lucky that I got to live out my dream of a career in the performing arts that I felt it was important to come home and help other young dancers achieve the same. To pass on the knowledge that I have of working in the performing arts industry to the younger generation on the Gold Coast. I was very lucky that my training completely prepared me to become a successful industry professional and I wanted to provide the next generation of performers with the same training.
What are some of your career highlights?
That’s a hard question to answer! My top 3 would be, working on Baz Lurhmans ‘Moulin Rouge’ in the role of ‘French Maid’ Can Can dancer, The Happy Feet films 1 & 2 and playing the role of Cyd Cherise in David Aitkins 2001 Australasian tour of ‘Singing In The Rain’. All 3 required a different skill set and pushed me to become a better performer all round.
What is the vision you have for LAUNCH PAC now and into the future?
My dream and vision has definitely evolved from what it was when I opened nearly 4yrs ago. Having come from a career as a professional dancer, my goal was to mentor young dancers into achieving their dream of working in the performing arts industry. I love training at that level and it is where my personal passion lies. However, since opening the doors of LAUNCH the dream has evolved into also creating a place where children can come to express themselves just by dancing because it feels good. A place that is like a second home and where great friendships can be made. I think that’s the mother in me! This is why I have created 2 streams of dance at LAUNCH, recreational and performance. Both are equally as rewarding for the student as within both streams we challenge, support and encourage growth and self esteem.
What do you love about owning a dance studio?
There is a lot that I love about owning a dance studio. Firstly, I think for me, it’s about knowing the goals I have for my students and having the ability to put together an amazing team of staff and teachers who all share that vision and those goals. It also gives me the ability to create shows, productions and performance routines. I will always need to have dance in my life and being in the studio with the students creating is my favourite place to be. Being part of their journey is thoroughly rewarding. Finally, I have this one moment every year at the end of year concert where I take a breath and look around at all the students and feel quite humbled that they have chosen LAUNCH as their place to learn to dance. It’s a true feeling of happiness and accomplishment. I love that moment.
Have you stumbled across any unexpected pleasures you didn’t foresee as a studio owner?
Over the years I have received some beautiful cards from students who have not only thanked me for teaching them but for being a positive influence in their lives. Knowing you have had an affect on some-ones growth as a person is a wonderful thing.
Why did you decide to offer the Cert lll in Dance part time course?
I really loved the idea of further nurturing and mentoring students towards making the decision of whether this was the right path for them. I found myself asking a lot of my own students what they wanted to do once they completed year 12 and so many didn’t know. By offering Certificate lll in Dance whilst they are completing their schooling they can gain a sense as to whether or not progressing to Cert lV fulltime is the right path for them.
How has your career history prepared you for successful dance studio ownership?
My career as a dancer taught me dedication, commitment and perseverance. It taught me that there is always room for improvement and always something that you can learn to keep you moving forward. I have approached owning a dance studio in much the same way. Both as a teacher and a business owner. I am constantly searching for ways to improve the experience for our parents and students both in and out of the studio.I pinch myself every day knowing that I have been lucky enough to fulfil 2 dreams. But dreams must always be backed with drive and passion and this is something I hope to pass on to all my students regardless of what career path they take.