It seems like distant history at this point, but one of Plano’s most prominent dance studios today started under challenging circumstances.
Cindi Lawrence Hanson bought a struggling dance school in 1993. Not long afterward, she brought a small ballet company into the fold.
Today, Hanson runs a healthy dance studio with more than 300 students and also oversees the Plano Metropolitan Ballet, a performance outlet for the studio’s advanced students.
The ballet company is among the most visible performing arts groups in Plano. It receives grant funding from the city of Plano to help cover the costs of putting on multiple performances a year at the Courtyard Theater. Its performers also appear at other venues across the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
But the talent of the Plano Metropolitan Ballet and its junior dance company is made up of students at Hanson’s studio, Gotta Dance.
The studio focuses on a variety of types of dance, from ballet to dance fusion, lyrical dance, tap and more. There are classes for students of prekindergarten age through adulthood.
Hanson said the studio does not participate in dance competitions. She said she aims to foster an environment where every student is striving for his or her personal best, rather than competing to win or lose.
“That’s the beauty of having your own dance school,” Hanson said. “That you can have it the way you think provides the best environment for these children, the best experience for these children.”
The emphasis, instead, is on providing students ample opportunities to learn and perform.
About 80 students at Gotta Dance are involved either in the ballet company or its junior division, Hanson said. The main group at Plano Metropolitan Ballet ranges generally from ages 12-18. Younger students ages 8-12 typically get opportunities to perform with the junior company, she said.