Humble Alaskan Beginnings To A Beloved Seattle Institution

Elizabeth Chayer opened American Dance Institute in Anchorage, Alaska in 1986 as an outreach program that taught dance in day care centers, preschools and community centers. She, and husband Steve, moved to Seattle in 1989 and Elizabeth started American Dance Institute Seattle that same year. For three years she managed both locations before focusing all efforts on her fast-growing Seattle operation.

Elizabeth Chayer, founder of the American Dance Institute, on opening day of her first dance studio in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood 1991.

Elizabeth Chayer, founder of the American Dance Institute, on opening day of her first dance studio in Seattle's Greenwood neighborhood 1991.

Opening Day 1990 At 8001 Greenwood Ave North Studio #1 That's the original logo on the window.

The Phinney Ridge Community Center was her first class room studio and she quickly built enrollment to 60 students. Sensing a real need for her style and approach to teaching, she leased the corner space at 8001 Greenwood Avenue North.

This was a daring move at the time because most schools were located off the beaten path, in a less visible location that offered lower rent. Appreciating that location is everything in business, she took the plunge and leased the busy and visible corner space at the intersection of 80th & Greenwood. With the help of her mom and dad who flew in from New York, Steve and their long-time friends Kim Hartman and Maryl Marx, the space was remodeled into a state of the art dance studio.

In 1990, Elizabeth was approached by long time Greenwood dance school owner, Verla Flowers. Verla was the venerated owner of Verla Flowers Dance Arts. After a long and illustrious career, she was retiring and approached Elizabeth about buying her out. Thus, Elizabeth was able to purchase Verla's name list and further boost her new school's marketing efforts. One of Verla's early students of note was a young Mark Morris. Mr. Morris is, without question, one of the most brilliant contemporary dancers and choreographers in the world today.

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8001, as it appears during the holidays of 2015

In 2007 Elizabeth opened Studio Two in the same building. Here, Moira Bugler, long time ADI Hip Hop instructor, leads a group of adults in Studio 2.

In September of 2016 American Dance Institute opened a 2nd location in Seattle's wonderful Magnolia neighborhood.

Opening Day In Magnolia

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Our very first class in Magnolia is a Pre-Ballet / Tap combo class with students Benjamin, Sophia and Serafina with dance instructor Darci Deaver.

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Adult ballet students Virginia and Lauren-with long time American Dance Institute Instructor Amy Beck on opening day in Magnolia

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Magnolia parents in the new observation room watching their children & grandchildren in class and and students awaiting their next class.

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Alice, Chloe, Zoe, Linnea, Mia and Lana with dance instructor Darci Deaver on opening day in Magnolia.

Elizabeth, today, with Seattle performers CucKy Charles on her left and Andy Chayer on her right at a recent Phinney Ridge Art Walk performance in studio 1.   A long time musician, she lept at the chance to add some holiday music to the school's normal dance performances line up.