California Dance Company
Sonya Kennedy moved to Redding at age 18 and opened a one-room dance studio in 1996 by courting new students with flyers. Twenty-five years later, Kennedy’s California Dance Company is celebrating a milestone anniversary and has taught thousands of students and helped numerous performers move on to artistic careers.
“When I first opened the studio, I moved here not knowing anyone. I put out flyers and taught free workshops,” she says. “Now, we are the largest studio in Shasta County, with two locations serving more than 600 students, ages 2 through adult. We offer the most diverse classes in the North State. We have molded and taught numerous students who are now working professionally in the dance community.”
Kennedy grew up in a dance studio, loves children and knows the benefit and value of dance and wanted to share that. “Our mission is to provide a safe and positive environment where we inspire our dancers to grow into strong and confident humans,” she says. “Through hard work, dedication and perseverance, we strive to teach life lessons that will leave a lasting impact on our students, our families and our community, whether or not they continue to formally dance into adulthood.”
She’s inspired by the CDC staff who don’t just teach great dance, aerial skills, gymnastics and tumbling, but add life lessons for the whole person. “We are all very passionate about knowing we have a great responsibility to our students to help them achieve their life goals,” Kennedy says. “We feel that our community needs us more than ever.”
She says the COVID shutdown along with the rise of the internet and social media influence has had a negative impact on our children, and the disciplines of dance are important lessons. “We feel that we are here to support them and help them re-learn simple human characteristics like face-to-face communication, eye contact, commitment, dedication and hard work,” Kennedy says.
California Dance Company offers classes for children as young as two years. Information about classes, fees and performances can be found on their crisp, easy-to-navigate website – www.cadanceco.com.
While teaching dance and life lessons to thousands of kids for the past quarter century has been a blessing, Kennedy also has enjoyed the benefit of a handful of students realizing their dreams through dance.
Students have gone on to dance on Broadway, in films, commercials, music videos, cruise lines and for sports teams like the Miami Heat, Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers and Sacramento Kings, with one even becoming a world champion.
“I remember being in Germany and having our student be the first U.S. soloist to win a gold medal,” she says. “I still see her on the podium with the flag wrapped around her with the National Anthem being played … It was a very special moment for my student, her family and for me as the coach/choreographer.”
California Dance Company
2040 Waldon St, Redding