Batavia Dance Academy, the Happiest Place on Earth
Disneyland isn’t the only place where dreams can come true. Sure, there are princesses and palm trees and it’s the happiest place on Earth. Turns out, though, that Batavia, Illinois is a place where dreams come true too.
Just three years ago, Anne Gugliuzza achieved her dream of opening a dance studio. While it was not an easy task, Gugliuzza doesn’t regret it one bit. She “invested everything” to make this a reality.
“I put all my life savings into here,” Gugliuzza said as she sits in the office of her studio, Batavia Academy of Dance.
Nothing about this decision was impulsive.
“I wrote the business plans in 2000 and didn’t open the studio until 2009. It’s my dream come true,” said Gugliuzza.
Batavia Academy of Dance (B.A.D.) has been her dream since the age of 10, when she would choreograph dances in her backyard.
“I choreographed my first dance when I was five,” Gugliuzza said. “I would make my friends dance with me and then we were on [a talent television show].”
Now that her dream is a reality, you would think that the worst is over. However, just recently, two other dance studios have opened in Batavia-on the same street no less.
“It’s great that dance is being shared,” said fellow teacher Tanya Osika.
This positive attitude could be why so many students chose to dance at B.A.D.
“I started taking classes here, and I enjoyed them,” Osika said. “Annie (Gugliuzza) was really positive and I loved that atmosphere.”
Their popularity could also be credited to the relationship they have with their students.
“The program has heart. I love the family atmosphere,” Gugliuzza said.
The studio includes a bench in the lounge with a TV where parents can watch their children dance without disrupting the class.
“You have to care about what you do. It’s a great responsibility to teach. You have the ability to effect students,” Gugliuzza said.
There are other benefits of teaching dance.
“You get to see how it makes students grow into bigger people,” Osika said.
B.A.D. now has an award winning competition team and is currently working on expanding. There are many reasons it’s so successful today.
“Lots of hard work, love, support, and dedication. It’s a group effort,” Gugliuzza said.
“Also the positivity and the approach we take to teaching dance,” she said.
Batavia Academy of Dance is located at 8 ½ E. Wilson St. and is open Monday through Saturday.