Generations dance studio will celebrate 25th anniversary all year

May 9, 2024 | 0 comments

By JOE MEYER

Cue the tap shoes, tutus and leotards.

Uptown’s Generations Performing Arts Center is turning 25 this year, and it’s going to be a massive celebration.

The dance studio and school at 11 W. College Ave., in the heart of historic Uptown, offers dance instruction to students from beginner to professional, preschooler to adult.

Westerville native Angie Haver founded Generations on Sept. 13, 1999, after departing her family’s business, the Straub Dance Studio. Haver said the studio will celebrate its 25th anniversary with special events most of this year.

In 1999, Generations displaced a coin laundromat operating on the main floor of the dark brown brick building near State Street and College Avenue. In the 25 years since, Generations has grown into its own dance school powerhouse.

Generations offers dance classes for children and adults in ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hip hop, and even acrobatics and creative movement for preschoolers. In fact, Generations has recently started its own preschool, On The Move, with a curriculum that includes dance basics and movement-based activities.

25th anniversary events

Generation students will stage huge recitals for parents and the public May 17-18 at Westerville Central High School, with close to 600 students participating. The following week, they will perform on West College Avenue May 24 outside their studio, for the first 4th Friday Uptown street festival of the year.

Generations dancers have tapped and high-kicked at nearly every 4th Friday, presented by Mount Carmel St. Ann’s Hospital, since the event was founded, and that tradition will continue in the school’s silver anniversary year.

The 25th anniversary recital will include a special alumni dance, including several alumnae who now have children enrolled at Generations. “They are all women who I taught when they were children and now their children dance with us,” Haver said

After the anniversary show, Generations students also will perform at the 4th Friday festivals June 28, July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 27, and at the Midnight Madness 4th Friday, on Oct. 25.

“We performed at the first WUMA-sponsored Midnight Madness, and we continue to do so each year,” Haver said. “We also hold our annual open house that evening.”

Community service

Haver is very proud of Generations’ built-in focus of community service.

Students annually perform a recital for veterans, benefiting Honor Flight several times in the past. This year titled, “The Pride and Spirit of America: A musical Tribute to our Military,” the show is set for 5 p.m. June 22, also at Westerville Central.

Students also collect food for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry and do other volunteer work for the WARM food pantry. “This past year, we put together more than 60 Thanksgiving bags with meals and donated about $1,000 to purchase turkeys as well,” Haver said.

Generations students also create blankets for foster children through My Very Own Blanket, and host a multiple-performance Christmas show, donating proceeds to a different chosen beneficiary each year.

And the Generations Leadership Council, made up of its high school students, works several events through the year to raise money for scholarships. More than $15,000 in scholarships are awarded each June to school dancers — some for future classes and some for college and other camps.

Historic building

The historic Generations building at 11 W. College is just around the corner from Westerville City Hall. As noted on the Uptown Westerville Inc. historical plaque outside its entrance, the building opened as a furniture store, Keyes & Sammons Furniture, in 1924.

Community stalwart Maurice McVay was hired as a furniture salesman there in 1929, eventually become the owner, and changed its name to McVay Furniture in 1942.

After McVay moved to larger space on North State Street, two other iconic Westerville natives, Robert Arn and Edwin “Dubbs” Roush, opened the Arn & Roush Hardware store there in 1951.

Roush later would buy out his partner, then move Roush Hardware to a new building at its current South State Street location. Into 11 W. College followed a series of businesses, including another dance studio and laundromats.

Competing regionally and nationally

All the school’s year-round classes and performances serve to prepare the dance students for regional competition over the spring, and a national competition in June.

An ensemble of about 150 advanced dancers from the school, with their families, travel within a three-hour radius of the studio each March, “to compete with studios from all over,” Haver said. Competitions culminate with a trip to Nationals each June, with the 2024 competition to take place next month in Orlando.

But residents don’t have to travel to see Generations Performing Arts Center students perform. Catch performances during 4th Friday, from 6-9 p.m. May 24 outside the studio, 11 W. College Ave.

CAPTIONS

TOP: Generations Performing Arts Center founder Angie Haver at Westerville Central May 3, with tap students rehearsing behind her for their May 17-18 25th Anniversary Recital.

BELOW: Preschool ballet students practice for the recitals May 3 at Westerville Central High School.

Generations PAC’s 25th Anniversary graphic.

The UWI historic building plaque, which is mounted on the Generations Performing Arts Center building Uptown, at 11 W. College Ave.

Generations Performing Arts Center, 11 W. College Ave.

Up next in Uptown