Tap, ballet, and jazz are just a few styles of dance taught at SheLor School of Dance, a family owned business that has been a part of the Butler community for 32 years. Owner Lori Lewis started SheLor School of Dance back in 1983, after she lost her 19-year-old sister Shelly in a car accident.
“I think going through the grief process, the love of dance that I had, the love of her, and also trying to nurture my mom through the grief, I decided that I needed to take a chance, and go out on a limb, and start a dance studio,” says Lewis.
Lewis started her business in the Lyndora Presbyterian Church and remained there for 17 years, until she decided to relocate to the current location on Fairground Hill in Butler, where she has been for 15 years.
Lewis is a life member of Dance Educators of America and a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance, or RAD. She studied with tap master teachers in Miami at the National FAPA Tap Convention and has contributed to many community events, including being a choreographer for Community Theatre Guilds.
SheLor performs in a recital every two years, and competes in competitions across the state yearly. There are four competition teams, and two pre-competition teams that compete in Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Acrobats, solos, duets, trios, and group dances. All members of the competitive teams are required to test with RAD for their ballet certification, as well as take summer classes.
“Our competition awards have been great, our kids do very well,” says Lewis. “Our kids do really well with first place winnings.”
“Our kids do really well with first place winnings.”
Lori Lewis, Owner
However, the students are not alone when being recognized at dance competitions. SheLor instructors have been recognized for best choreography at multiple competitions over the years.
Kristen Mason, an instructor and choreographer at SheLor, has been with the studio since it started. She danced until she was 18 years old and has been teaching for the past 17 years, and she is now passing down the SheLor tradition onto her own family.
“My daughter now dances here, so there is a certain love of dance, and it’s really exciting to have my daughter now involved in it.”
It is also very important to have a good student-instructor relationship, and dancer Kiara Yough says,“the teachers are like second and third mothers to us, and they’re all so sweet, and so nice, and I just love every part of it.”
“the teachers are like second and third mothers to us, and they’re all so sweet, and so nice, and I just love every part of it.”
Kiara Yough, Dancer
To make this all work though takes help from family, volunteers from the community, and parents.
“It’s volunteers, it’s my family, my husband, it’s the staff here, and we’re always asking and begging for back stage help, supervision of the students, and we have backstage moms. It’s a lot, it really is,” says Lewis.
Jim Lewis, husband of Lori, has made his contributions to the studio. “I’m basically the prop creator, janitor, when need be, the fixer upper of stuff,” and added, “I’m the whatever needs to be done guy.”
Since students can only dance at SheLor until their senior year of high school, a lot of students pursue further education.
“All of the kids who have tried to make it professionally have also had an education base to their profession whether it be to teach dance or a separate education,” says Lewis.
However, most students at the studio do not want pursue a professional career. Yough says, “I plan on continuing it through college, I don’t know necessarily if I am going into a career with it, but I definitely plan on continuing some form of dance as I get older, because I don’t think I could just stop doing it.”
SheLor will host its recital, “Moving Through Music,” on June 11th and 12th at the Intermediate High School in Butler.