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Small Business Week: “Ms. Karen” Works Hard to Share the Magic of Dance

Established Community Backer ***
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Name: ​Karen “Ms. Karen” Dycaico

Business: Dance Magic
Milestone: One year
Located:​ Palo Alto, CA
Founded: ​2017

Karen Dycaico once co-owned one of the most successful dance studios in the San Francisco Bay Area. After leaving for personal reasons, Karen spent the next 20 years working for other people. Now she’s celebrating the one-year anniversary both of her studio, Dance Magic, and her return to working for herself.

For Karen, owning and running Dance Magic has created an exciting opportunity to expand her business beyond the mirrored walls of the studio and bring her passion for dance to local preschools and children’s centers.

QuickBooks celebrates Karen! In honor of Small Business Week, QuickBooks wanted to bring attention to Karen's ballet studio through local posters and print ads. The team also equipped Karen with everything she needs to share her well-known puppet shows digitally, from a new tripod to an opening animation sequence. In short, QuickBooks helped make Dance Magic a brand no one will forget!

Ms. Karen is a featured vendor at Intuit’s Small Business Week celebration in Mountain View, CA, April 30 to May 4.


Ms. Karen, what you did for work before you started your own business?

Before opening Dance Magic, I was a dance teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years. I taught at a ballet academy in Mountain View for 20 years. Ten years ago, I started teaching dance enrichment classes at preschools and children’s centers. I also co-founded Westlake School for the Performing Arts in 1991.

Did you have a specific “aha” moment a year ago when you knew you were going to open your own dance school?

I’ve always been very passionate about teaching dance. I’d thought about opening my own dance school where I could continue to develop young dancers and inspire their passion. But while I’d thought about starting my own school, I was not actively looking for a studio space. When one became available at Cubberley Community Center in Palo Alto, I knew I’d found the right location and the right moment to open Dance Magic.

How did you first get started as dance teacher?

When I was in high school, I was a teacher’s helper in the dance classes and enjoyed it so much that I taught dance throughout college. I’ve been teaching ever since!

What has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned working for yourself?

I’ve learned it takes a lot of organization to make everything work. I’ve learned I need to focus on much more than just the teaching, choreography and music. I have to think about the logistics behind the scenes such as marketing, advertising, responding to emails, creating sets and props and ordering costumes.2-07_QB_DanceMagic_0590.jpg

Tell me about your business name.

I chose the name Dance Magic because many parents said their children found my classes magical. I try to make every class as magical and imaginative as possible so my students develop a passion for dance.

Tell me what your typical day looks like?

I start my day slowly with a hearty breakfast. I teach enrichment classes in different preschools and children’s centers each weekday morning. I take a break from 12-3 p.m. and eat a healthy lunch. In the afternoons and evenings, I teach classes at Dance Magic. When I get home, I take a break, eat dinner and then get back to answering emails and working on the behind-the-scenes logistics. The weekends are busy since I teach on both Saturdays and Sundays.

What do you love about this work?

I love everything about dance - the music, choreography and creating stories through movement. I also love working with children, training them to develop as dancers throughout the years. I love that my work keeps me moving, and that it lets me be creative and use my imagination.3-07_QB_DanceMagic_0954.jpg

What is difficult about running your own business?

One difficulty is that teaching dance is physical and repetitive, and it can be hard on the body. Another challenge is having to coordinate everything in the background such as lining up substitute teachers and organizing backstage help for performances.

What do you hope to gain at Intuit Small Business Week?

I hope to make the community aware of Dance Magic, and I also hope to show everyone the fun and magic of dance!

Now it's your turn!

QB Community members, which small businesses will you be supporting during Small Business Week?