As a principal dancer, Stevie-winner Sara Ordway captivated audiences across the nation, but her true passion has always been art education. In 2018, she founded the Ordway Conservatory of Classical Ballet, and it immediately became a place where students could feel seen, heard, and respected.
Sara understands how to get children out of their shells and help them recognize the amazing things they are capable of as dancers and as people. Her students have been recognized in the dance world at international competitions and in the local community.
One of Sara's greatest skills is creating entertaining performances. The greatest example is her show, “An Interactive Nutcracker”—a Nutcracker performance unlike any other where audience children get a chance to go on stage, see the production up close, and feel what it's like to be onstage.
Sara's life was changed by dance, and she is passionate about giving that to as many children and adults as possible. She teaches her students and staff that the way you treat others matters—that is the magic, not perfect technique.
Ballet During a Global Pandemic
During the beginning of the pandemic, when Ordway Conservatory had to close its doors, students continued to thrive through Sara's leadership. Not a day of classes was missed in the transition to virtual learning.
Sara provided virtual events for the community like Teach Your Family to Dance Night, trivia night, craft night, a fashion show, virtual prom, and more. The overwhelming feedback at that time was that dance was what the kids looked forward to more than anything else—that it made them happy and gave them a sense of normalcy.
When doors could reopen, Sara worked with a local park to move all performances to an amphitheater. Throughout the 2020-2021 school year, Sara worked to help students excel in and out of the studio. She started creating affirmations for her students and having them journal at the start and end of each class. This taught them about goal setting and gave them an opportunity to check in with themselves after being in quarantine for so long.
During the 2021-2022 school year, Sara's business skills began to shine. She created new programs including a mommy-and-me class and an adult ballet program. She also created new revenue streams through events such as a studio-wide movie night and parent's night off.
At a time when performances around the world were being canceled, even by top-tier companies with endless resources, Ordway Conservatory continued to perform. Many dance studios did not survive the pandemic, but Ordway Conservatory thrived and continued to grow while entertaining the local community.
Expanding Programs for the Community
Sara is currently creating a preschool program with the hope that she can touch more lives with the many benefits of dance such as increased confidence, health and leadership skills, and improved brain function.
Most dance studios are satisfied with only providing a great dance education. Sara wants more for her students and her business. She continues to add classes that fill up, create events that increase revenue, and start new programs that will reach more of the community and change their lives for the better through dance. All while increasing revenue to be able to support the growth her business is seeing.
Sara continues to educate herself by attending classes and workshops on business, childhood development, and dance. She consistently goes above and beyond to enhance the customer journey in her business and to improve the workplace for her employees.
Artistic Director and Founder of Ordway Conservatory of Classical Ballet, Sara Ordway won a Bronze Stevie®Award for Best Female Entrepreneur in the 2022 Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
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