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Murrieta Dance Studio Celebrates 10 Years

Studio 31 Dance Center of Murrieta celebrates 10 years in business—sweetened by recent national championship titles for their competitive dance teams.

It was August of 2002 when a mother-daughter team signed a lease to open their Murrieta dance studio.

As Studio 31 Dance Center celebrates its 10-year anniversary this month, owners Karol and Kellie Matthews have much to be proud of: their competitive dance teams took first, second and third place at Thunderstruck International Dance Finals Competition, held June 29-July 2 in Las Vegas, Nev.

"This season has been the best; this year it has really clicked," said daughter, Kellie. "We have had amazing staff and dancers. It was just like the cherry on top of everything—this season."

Combined, the mother-daughter team has more than 60 years of experience.

Karol was as a ballerina in Japan and then Miami before becoming a teacher.

Kellie—the granddaughter of a Rockettes dancer who was related to music great Hoagy Carmichael—danced in Miami and Los Angeles before she suffered a debilitating knee injury and decided to become a teacher.

Tucked in the Alta Murrieta Shopping Center, offers recreational dance as well as competition dance.

"When we have auditions we try to make a spot for every dancer who comes in," Kellie said.

It seems to be a good strategy.

In Las Vegas, the studio's teen tappers, ages 12-14, were selected as first-place Overall National Showcase Champions out of more than 600 entries, Kellie said. The juniors, ages 9-11, were second place, and the seniors, ages 15-19, earned third place.

Prior to that, Kellie said, the studio's junior jazz competition team won the national championship in 2011.

So there was much to celebrate when Studio 31 held its annual dance recital July 21-22 at Bob Burton Theatre in Fallbrook.

Kellie was pleased to announce the studio has signed another lease. The pair opened the studio after signing a five-year lease. Two years into it, they expanded to 8,000-square-feet and signed on for a total of 10 years.

Not so long ago, extending their lease may not have been possible, she said.

"We started 10 years ago with 50 students, then we went to well over 350 but when the housing market crashed we were hit hard. Since that time, we are gradually getting back to 250 now."

The first class is always offered for free and there are no registration fees, she said.

"We have a huge appreciation for anyone who has ever entered our studio and we are thankful to the community for continuing to keep us open."

Editor's note: This article has been corrected to state that Studio 31 Dance Center co-owner Kellie Matthews was related to music great Hoagy Carmichael (1899-1991), not his granddaughter. Patch apologizes for the error.

Cathy Neumann-Bearse August 06, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Miss Karol & Miss Kellie treat each student with the most respect I have ever seen in a teacher. My daughter Rebekah has been dancing there for six years now and competitively for two. In spite of a bad foot this year I have seen her flourish! Miss Karol teachers ballet and tap and Miss Kellie tap and jazz. I love this studio, I love what it stands for and I am very happy that my daughter dances there!!!
Kellie August 06, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Thank you Murrieta Patch and thank you Cathy. Story correction -- my Grandmother was a Rockette and Hoagie was a relative on her side of the family. He's either a cousin or great great uncle. We have had National Championships the past 2 years in a row, and a couple since opening...we compete in a National Championship every year.
Marcia Ferro August 06, 2012 at 04:53 PM
A CLASS ACT STUDIO!
Ashley Chapman Keim August 06, 2012 at 05:15 PM
Studio 31 is a remarkable studio. My daughter has danced with this studio for two years and in those two years I have seen her grow so much as a tiny dancer. We quickly became part of an instant family. Ms. Karol and Ms. Kellie treat all of their dancers with love and kindness. They make sure that every dancer feels like a star. They invest in more personal time in the studio than most people realize by spending hours choreographing, creating costumes, building props, and organizing events to help bring the studio closer together. The studio is always warm and inviting. The other families there have very quickly become dear friends of mine. I could not imagine having my children dance at any other studio.
Cathy Neumann-Bearse August 06, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Ashley .. so well said .. I call it my home away from home!!
lola August 06, 2012 at 08:05 PM
The only problem is they hire Teachers that work other places too so they can't be with the kids at competiion and when they are there that motivates the kids at comps. My friends daugther dances there. Other then that its awsome studio lola
Kellie August 06, 2012 at 08:56 PM
You are partially correct Lola. We can not pay for every teacher to be a full time employee so, as is the norm in the dance world, they work as a freelance dance teacher/choreographer at other places. We also hire guest choreographers who's only job is to make up a dance and teach it. We do make sure that we have teachers at every competition, as well as a very supportive group of dancers and parents. It's true that not every single teacher can make every single competition, but there are teacher their for every single dancer. However, competition dance is not all that we are about. I'm very happy that your friends daughter dances at our studio :)

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