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.
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.
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,
School enrollment grew very quickly and steadily. Elizabeth was a very busy small business owner, mother, and wife. In 1993 her first son Andy was born and two years later, almost to the day, Denny arrived. In fact, in 1995, while pregnant with Denny, Elizabeth was auditioning a new teacher in studio one when she went into labor. She finished the audition, drove herself to Northwest Hospital and Denny arrived into the world just 20 minutes later.
In 2007, she leased a 2nd space in the same building and opened studio two. Today some 26 years, and 12,700 students later, ADI employs Seattles best dance instructors, an office staff in Seatlle and Shoreline, a huge student alumni, numerous community awards and deep roots into our community.
Sarting as ballet school ADI class offerings now include Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Irish Step, Creative Dance, Flamenco, Break Dance, Ballroom, Latin, Swing and more. Many of her former child students have enrolled their children in classes. "It's all come full circle, "she says. At an age when most small business owners think about retiring, Elizabeth won't hear of it. "My students and parents are my families, and I love my ADI family."
"I've built a warm, welcoming and accommodating school because in this environment anyone can learn. I want the world to know that dance is for everyone and I figure it will take another twenty-five years to get the word out." :) - Elizabeth Chayer