Brittany Thurman fondly remembers the first time she met her dance teacher as a child, and what a special feeling it was.
She also recalls how important dancing became to her as an emotional refuge from verbal bullying she was facing as early as kindergarten.
The Stephenville resident is opening what she calls her “baby” — On-Site Dance — on the second floor of the Stephenville Parks and Recreation Department (SPARD) Rec Hall.
Fall classes are scheduled to begin Monday, Aug. 6, to kick off On-Site Dance’s presence in Stephenville.
Thurman and her husband, Ricky Thurman, previously opened “mobile” dance companies in McAllen and San Antonio.
“We’re in our sixth season,” said Brittany, 32, who resided in McAllen for a while before returning to Stephenville in 2014. Brittany and Ricky, 35, married in 2016. They have two daughters — Kylie, 7, and Madison, 11 — and a 7-year-old boy named August.
Registration is now underway for their On-Site Dance after-school classes, for those as young as 18 months, up through adults of any age.
Classes start for the youngest students in what is called “My Grownup and Me” with parents who attend with their young children, from 18 months to age 2. Pre-dance classes are available for ages 2 through 5.
Students can learn pre-dance, as well as ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, clogging and hip-hop.
For specific class schedules and tuition costs, go online to the On-Site Dance website at www.onsitedanceatspard.com.
“I have always known since age 7 that I wanted to open a dance studio,” said Thurman, a 2014 graduate of Glen Rose High School.
She said that she even “played” dance studio when she was a child, recruiting anyone handy to be her “students.”
Thurman said she fell in love with dancing when she started taking lessons at about age 7 in Glen Rose.
“It was something I had a natural talent for,” Thurman said. “I do remember the day I met my dance teacher. When I discovered dance, it was like I found something I was good at — like I found my place.
“I had been bullied in school. I’m just really lucky I found dance. It was my outlet, and my safe place.”
Thurman said she wants her dance studio to be that safe place for any child who may need it. The bullying she endured was verbal, not physical. But, she added, that the scars resulting from emotional abuse “last into your adulthood.”
Thurman said On-Site Dance will feature a rotating “Community Spotlight” benefiting local nonprofit organizations.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Erath County will benefit from the donation in August and September. The Thurmans will donate 10 percent of all their tuition fees during those months. Every two months a different local organization will benefit from that Community Spotlight donation, Thurman said.