Brittany Pierce, 22, has combined her business sense with her passion for dancing to create a specialized, local dance and cheer studio. The results are quite encouraging.
As a result, Brittany's Elite Stars Dance and Cheer Studio – 105 Indian Trail in north Jacksonville – is attracting enthusiastic customers from throughout Cherokee County.
As the owner, teacher and primary choreographer, Pierce offers cutting edge classes in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, motions and jumps – as well as tumbling and stunt clinics.
Her studio has only been open a little less than a month, but she said it has already attracted over 100 students – ranging in age from 3 years old up through high school senior age.
Word of mouth is apparently reaching far and wide, Pierce said. Students are coming as far away as Rusk.
For this young entrepreneur, it's a dream come true.
“It really was my dream to open a studio – I just never thought it would be in my hometown,” Pierce explained. “I'm a fan of using my own experiences in my teaching. I encourage students and push them to be the best they can. We try a lot of new things. … Cheer and hip hop, for instance, are two of my favorite classes.”
A graduate of both Jacksonville High School and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Pierce said her positive experiences growing up fed her enthusiasm for dance and made her dream of one day sharing it with others.
“I was a cheerleader all the way through middle school and high school,” she explained. “I went to college at SFA for four years and majored in dance and minored in business.”
Her lengthy training transformed her into a national champion in both dance and hip hop.
(Incidentally, at SFA, Pierce was a member of Jack Attack, the university's hip hop team.)
She grew to appreciate the great value of learning new techniques, and sharing bold ideas. To this effect, Pierce currently enjoys traveling to conventions and keeping up to date with new developments in the dance world.
Indeed, Pierce has wanted to create her dream studio since she was two.
But she acknowledges it was something she probably could not have done without the help of her family. She is currently renting the building, where, inside, her father has helped her by building walls and floors and basically putting together her studio.
“There's no way I could have done this without my family,” she said. “It is so much work.”
When it comes to the teaching and instruction however, Pierce said she does everything pretty much herself – with the help of one assistant.
“My student assistant is one of my older girls, who helps me with my 3 and 5 year old students,” she said.
Promoting the new studio through word of mouth involved public appearances at a Tomato Fest stand in early June. The enthusiasm Pierce showed there elicited great pride from friends and family.
“Awwww,” gushed ShiConna Carter, a fellow SFASU student on Facebook. “I'm so proud of you, Brittany Pierce!”
While the name of Brittany Pierce is becoming increasingly well-known in Cherokee County, it is important to not confuse her with a particular television character with the same name, hair color and profession on the FOX TV series “Glee.”
Jacksonville's Pierce is definitely not that pretend character. She is a complete and utter product of Jacksonville.
Reporter Ben Tinsley can be contacted by email, email@example.com, or by phone at 903-586-2236. Tinsley can also be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/bentinsley or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ben.tinsley.12