BRPAA

Photo by BRIANA BARKER

The Blue Ridge Performing Arts Academy will celebrate its grand reopening Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

By BRIANA BARKER

Blue Ridge Performing Arts Academy is hosting a grand reopening celebration Saturday, Aug. 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at its new location at 455 South Main St.

The Saturday celebration will feature tours, a toddler’s class, open registration and refreshments.

Jennifer Young, owner of BRPAA, said the academy relocated after 10 years in a second-story facility on Franklin Street to make the studio more accessible.

“We were on a second floor and it was rough on the disabled who wanted to get to see their grandchildren perform,” Young said.

She added her 85-year-old mother, who worked at the facility, had stopped working there two years ago because the stairs made it difficult to get into the studio.

“She is so excited to come back to work,” Young said.

Parking also was a challenge at the academy’s former location, and Young believes the new venue has plenty.

The studio has been in Rocky Mount for 15 years, but Young has been teaching for 30 years. She explained that she used to teach from various locations such as renting space at fire departments throughout the area.

“That was a different time and fire departments used to do that sort of thing — pull out their trucks or rent out their community space,” she said.

BRPAA offers competitive and recreational classes in ballet, tap, jazz, Irish, contemporary, street funk, hip hop, point, clogging and musical theater. Classes are available for ages 2.5 years old to adult. Young added the academy annually competes in three regional competitions and one national competition.

The academy also offers music classes. Instructor Dean Smith teaches any instrument with strings from guitar to violin.

“We are a family-owned company, and we are all very close,” Young said of her staff.

She added many of the students have pursued professional careers in the arts as well.

“We have a lot of really talented young women here,” Young said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity if you want to continue your education in the performing arts.”

Young said she is excited about the new location and the possibilities ahead.

For more information on Blue Ridge Performing Arts Academy, visit brpaa.com or call 483-0307.

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