Jennifer Smith is living the American dream. She turned her part-time hobby into Dance Expressions, a studio that has been a part of the fabric of Friendswood for nearly 20 years.

“I definitely call it the hobby that got out of control,” Smith said. “I started dance at 3 and never thought it was going to be something I was going to do full-time. But I’m glad that I did because now I have the memories, and I’m sharing them with other kids.”

Before Smith became the owner of Friendswood-based Dance Expressions, she was a jazz instructor at the Academy of Dance Arts. She purchased the academy in 1997 and renamed it Dance Expressions. 

Now, Dance Expressions studio attracts more than 300 advanced and amateur dancers as young as 3 years old from around Friendswood and Greater Houston, including Pearland, Clear Lake and League City. Dancers perform in a variety of styles, such as ballet, hip hop, and jazz, and a few dozen of her students participate in dance competitions each year.

“We can cater to whatever their goals are. Some of them love dancing and that’s great, and some of them want to be professional,” Smith said.

To keep up with increased enrollment, Smith relocated to an 8,300-square-foot facility in 2014 at 204 W. Heritage Drive. The facility houses five studios each fitted with floor to ceiling mirrors, barres and padded floors.

With the new location now up and running, Smith is focusing on a new project. She plans on creating a tax-exempt nonprofit foundation dedicated to dance scholarships for students experiencing major life changes who can no longer afford the hard costs of dance, like competition or costume fees.

“When they’re going through something hard, I hate to see them have to cut dance, something they love that’s enjoyable,” Smith said. “I want to help them stay in dance and keep those connections here in our dance family.”

About the owner

Jennifer Smith received her Bachelor of Arts in dance and health and a master’s in health education from the University of Houston. She was a Houston Oilers dancer, a University of Houston Cougar Doll and an officer for the Pearland High School Prancers.

Dance Expressions
204 W. Heritage Drive, Friendswood