Intuit Grant 'Floors' Dance Teacher in Virginia

by Michael Essany

2 min read

Melissa Floyd never envisioned owning and operating her own dance studio. But when the opportunity to help others presented itself, she couldn’t turn away the talented young performers who needed her.

“I was teaching for another studio locally and, unfortunately, there were some parents unhappy with the way things were going,” Floyd recalls. “I had a father come up to me and tell me that, if I didn’t do something on my own, his daughters would probably not ever dance again, because other places were too far for him to commute with the girls, one of whom was 11 and the other about 14.”

So, in 1999, Floyd opened the Shenandoah Academy of Dance, a quaint ballet studio in Buena Vista, Va. “I never wanted to get into the hassle of running a business,” she insists. “But that’s essentially why I did what I did … to make sure those two girls got to dance.”

As it turns out, she says, “the 11-year old went on to earn a degree from Brigham Young University in ballet and now teaches in local studios.”

For more than a decade, Floyd has cultivated her dance studio into a beacon of hope and opportunity for youngsters in the low-income region where Shenandoah is located. “If kids work hard and show promise but they can’t pay, I can’t turn them away,” she says. “It’s not something I’m comfortable doing. In some cases, dancing is all that they have.”

Conversely, Floyd — a nurse by profession — has put all that she has into the studio.

“Right now, I’m not doing as much nursing, because I’m trying to focus more on my business. While I was working full-time, I worked night shifts so that I could sleep during the day and teach in the afternoons and evenings,” she says.

In fact, the only thing working harder than Floyd is her studio’s aging and battered dance floor, upon which some 30 promising students continue to train. “We have been dancing on the same flooring surface since 1999,” Floyd explains in her wish to the Small Business Growing Strong campaign by Intuit. “It would be amazing to be able to replace the floor. A grant of this size would be perfect since my family and I would lay the floor ourselves, leaving just the expenses of the actual materials. Since the studio tuition simply pays the rent, this grant would be a godsend to my students!”

Floyd and her students are doing a happy dance in response to the news that Intuit will provide new flooring at Shenandoah Academy of Dance. “It’s going to expand what I can offer,” Floyd says, clearly eager to give even more to the dancers and the community that she adores.

Intuit’s Small Business Growing Strong campaign is announcing one winner a day through May 24, 2013. Check out the list of current winners, and find out if yours is one of the wishes we’ve granted!


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