Husband and wife team, John & Kristin Davis, opened KICKS in 1992. Blending a lifetime of dance training, experience with preschool education, and over two decades of teaching experience, they built the solid foundation for which KICKS has gained its reputation. While you may not see them leading classes the way they did when KICKS first opened, they are “hands-on” owners who are actively involved in every aspect of the Academy; from program & schedule development…to staff training & mentoring…to music editing, recital planning and parent communication!
KICKS – A Love Story
It Began With a Dream
Like most love stories, this one begins in the heart of a girl. Most would say she was born an old soul which may explain how, at the young age of twelve, Kristin had such a clear vision for her future. Sure, she had alternate career possibilities (pre-school teacher, chef, hair dresser), but nothing monopolized her thoughts like dance, and the dream of owning her own studio. Every job she had, every book she read, every seminar she could take – they all revolved around dance, children or business. Skeptics could have told her that this dream had no foundation, logistically. But Kristin was raised with the philosophy that “if you want it bad enough and are willing to work hard enough, anything was possible”. Therefore logistics never entered her consciousness; limitations were out of her scope. Instead she greeted every morning, and drifted to bed every night, with the inspiration printed on her ballerina poster:
If you can imagine it, you can achieve it!
If you can dream it, you can become it!
Boy Meets Girl
It was his 30th birthday when he gave himself a gift that would ultimately change the course of his future. John had always given to others before himself and, whether by life circumstances or natural born temperament, was the responsible, reliable, even predictable one. But this year was different; something inside him knew it was time to make a change. So there he was, at the Arthur Murray Dance Studio, a place that seemed so far removed from lumber and landscaping. What began as a few lessons quickly progressed into a weekly routine of classes, parties, competitions and finally a teaching position. But this new world of dance provided much more than a drastic career change. It was the arena where John’s path crossed Kristin’s; the dance floor where they became great friends. And on Kristin’s last night of work John asked her to join him for the final Waltz – Anne Murray’s, ‘Could I Have This Dance for the Rest of My Life’. It would be several months later when John proudly confessed that he knew upon first introduction that she was the girl of his dreams, the girl he would marry.
Leap of Faith
Can belief outweigh financial realism….Can passion outweigh business experience….Can ignorance be bliss? Taking a leap of faith is easy when you don’t even realize you’re leaping. So with vision & family support, sweat & a shoe-string budget, they signed on the dotted line and unlocked the doors to a new chapter in their lives. Often flying aimlessly through the air, hoping to land on a cloud, Kristin & John quickly discovered that the self-employed must wear many hats. But whether it was painting or marketing, teaching or cleaning, they put each one on with excitement and pride.
Change Is the Only Constant
Side-by-side Kristin & John would continue to take more leaps. ‘ABC Ballroom’ was opened, and then eventually transitioned into a larger space for KICKS. KICKS grew to 4 suites, then ‘Dancewear, etc.’ was opened. The dance shop closed to allow more classroom space, and then finally the largest transformation; they took over the entire 6 suite section of the Plaza. In addition to the physical changes of the businesses, there were many behind-the-scenes changes. They had to adjust from teaching all the classes themselves, to taking on more of the administrative role. They worked hard to balance the big moves with baby steps to ensure that the personal touch & attention to detail never disappeared. Frequently feeling as though they were on a roller-coaster, they rode the ups & downs together. During the ups, they took a breath and enjoyed the view. During the downs they pushed through by reminding themselves that there was nothing else in the world they’d rather be doing.
Happily Ever After
2011 marked the 20th anniversary season for KICKS. While Kristin & John don’t have children of their own, they believe they have birthed a business and provided it with all the love and nurturing necessary to grow. In return they feel a sense of gratitude that they get to play an important role in the lives of hundreds of children every year. They get to watch them grow through their dance experience; hopefully building their confidence and belief that there is no such thing as failure and that dreams do come true!
So, what is the next chapter for KICKS going to be? Kristin & John have often announced that they will “never say never” and “anything is possible”. Although it may be uncertain which path will be journeyed next, there is no question that they, and KICKS, will live happily ever after!!