Terrie Chapman — owner of Terrie’s Dance Spectrum and Cheer Center — recently held her 40th recital on Memorial Day weekend with a patriotic theme.
As reported in the Women-In-Business section, Terrie’s Dance Spectrum and Cheer Center has been a female-owned local business for four decades. Chapman initially moved to Jeffersonville in 1980 from Dayton—where she worked as a dance instructor.
Through encouragement from a friend, Chapman ended up finding a small space to turn into a studio on Court Street with assistance from family. The business opened in approximately the fall of 1984. Since then, the business has moved locations several times and is currently located at 319 Broadway St. in Washington Court House.
“I had my first recital in 1981,” Chapman said during an interview on Tuesday. “It was at the Bloomingburg Middle School. The auditorium there was also where they ate lunch, but it was a stage and it was my very first in this county. There were not that many students in the first recital, and some of my students since have done really well.”
Chapman said over those years she has met and taught a wide variety of students who have since went on to either continue dancing or have gone on to other professions. She said to her it is something very special to have met so many amazing families and children.
“One of them is Chanda Calentine — who danced to one of the first ballet songs I ever did here and that was the ‘Rainbow Connection’ with Kermit the Frog singing it,” Chapman said. “I know she works and is a director in the Children’s Theater at Asheville, North Carolina. Her parents still live here and they have only missed one recital, which was last year when we had to keep the recital to parents only. They still have a granddaughter who dances with us so they came back this year. I have one that has come back, another who just graduated from medical school and we have kids who have just really improved. I have one who takes three classes now and I couldn’t get her on stage her first year.”
With the conclusion of this recent Memorial Day recital, Chapman said she is semi-retired now with only a little bit of teaching left for her. She said since she contracted COVID-19 it has impacted her health and she is planning to take it easy.
“I have had several students who started here and now I am teaching their children or their grandchildren,” Chapman said. “When you have been teaching for 40 years that is what is going to happen. They have supported us, when I first started I couldn’t get a loan locally, the bankers wouldn’t do it. I don’t mean this bad, but they were all males and they wanted me to put the loan in my husband’s name and I said, ‘No this is my business and here is my three years of being successful.’ My dad, who is no longer with me, asked how much I would need because I wouldn’t ask him — I was always very independent — and I explained what I needed and borrowed the money from them. I paid it back in three months and the people that have been with me all of these years have always supported me. Some even have come to help with recitals and dress rehearsals when they have no kids in the studio.”
Chapman said she believes this is the case because they see what the studio does for children such as bringing up their confidence or — as she says is currently the case for several male participants — improve their footwork and agility that impacts their other sports.
“Thank them? Thanking them doesn’t seem enough really, I just feel so blessed,” Chapman said. “As I said my daughter, Melissa (Chapman-Marting), is taking over more and I am just teaching three classes this summer and I will wait and see how I feel. Hopefully I will feel a lot better. I love the children, I love the parents, I have met the most amazing people who still reach out to me and send me notes.”
Finally, Chapman explained that for her and her family, honoring the men and women who sacrificed everything for the country is very important. When deciding on this year’s theme for the annual recital, she settled on a patriotic theme because the event was coming up on Memorial Day weekend. Both Chapman and her daughter have a great fondness for those who served and thought it would be a great way to honor them.
“We have always had our recitals in the first weekend in June, but a lot of times we have a patriotic theme including my husband, who will usually sing and used to be a performer,” Chapman said. “It is close to our hearts. My dad was in World War II, I had friends not come back from Vietnam. Those are very touching things. I am very patriotic and so is my daughter, so this year she said since we are having the recital on Memorial Day, let’s make it patriotic. We need to acknowledge them every day, and the recital turned out well. People loved it, the kids loved it. They all got a little American flag to take with them from the finale.”
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 463-9684 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.