Dancers of Penrith, meet Xander Jean and Racquel Kuhle – the new principals of A-Live Performing Arts Centre.
This year, the popular dance school is getting a revamp, with fresh faces taking the reins from previous owners, BJ and Aeysha Rorke.
Though the Brent Street graduates are new to studio ownership, their differing experience within the dance industry has made them well equipped to the change, said Mr Jean, who’s resume lists performances with artists such as Little Mix, Rita Ora and Timomatic.
“From my experience in the professional world, and from Racquel’s side of the teaching, joining them together I think we have enough knowledge to make the dance school grow, just how Aeysha and BJ made it grow with them,” he said.
Using Racquel’s extensive experience in dance teaching, both at various studios and in schools, the pair are excited to increase the studio’s focus on younger dancers, together bridging the gap between the studio and the professional dance industry.
“I personally really want to really focus on the little kids, and get them ready for that next step,” Ms Kuhle said.
“I remember when I was little, seeing people on stage and asking my mum, ‘can I go to that school?’. I want it to be like that for the performance level of our students, but not just that, for the family vibe as well.”
Something that won’t be changing is the family-orientated feel at A-Live, with Xander and Racquel aiming to make the studio a second home for their dancers, and a place that everyone wants to be a part of.
Racquel’s sister Ashley, who has down syndrome, has inspired their goal to incorporate programs designed for students with special needs who may not be able to join their mainstream classes.
“I’d love to really grow a side of the business where it’s focused on people who do have different abilities or special needs, and make them feel welcome into the same family as well,” Ms Kuhle said.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, anyone can dance”.
Cassidy Pearce is the Weekender’s community news and entertainment journalist.