I’m grateful to have taken dance lessons as a child.

ignited my love of fitness, gave me poise and confidence and warded off
childhood chubbiness, today a national problem.

According to the
Centers for Disease Control, childhood obesity levels have tripled in
the past 30 years.

First Lady Michelle Obama has a stake in this
matter. So does Candra Davis, owner/artistic director of Charlotte’s
Leap of Faith Dance Academy. As a dancer and educator, Davis has
witnessed multiple benefits dance offers children.

instruction for children offers much more than just the art of dance,”
she says. “At Leap of Faith Dance Academy, we’re focused on the whole person. What children get beyond dance is spiritual growth, confidence, a
drive to achieve excellence, compassion for others and relationship- 
and team-building skills.” 

Davis, who has danced 33 years, has
carved a niche in a market saturated with dance studios, many offering
similar cookie-cutter instruction. This studio stands apart from
competitors. For example, at LOF, before every class, prayer is held,
led by a student. And competition is not part of the curriculum. 

who want their children to develop appropriate dance skills without the
stress of competition should consider LOF,” says Donna Moore Stoeling,
whose two daughters have just completed their second year at the studio.
“Because LOF is also a Christian-based dance studio, the music and
costumes are very appropriate for young developing minds.”

native of Florissant, MO (a suburb of St. Louis), Davis relocated to
Charlotte from Atlanta in 1999. She has training in ballet, tap and
jazz, is a certified dance educator (through Dance Masters of American)
and is also a member of NC Dance Alliance. When she isn’t operating the
dance studio, Davis works in corporate America.

Juggling a budding
career and owning a dance studio tested her faith. Like many young
executives, Davis was climbing the corporate ladder. In addition, she
managed the dance program at her church. However, she felt there was
something bigger on the horizon, a spiritual calling for

“God had definitely placed on my heart it
was time to open my own dance school,” she says, adding that the mere
thought was scary. “But when something has been placed on your heart and
soul, you can’t rest until it comes to pass. After much prayer, I woke
up and knew that I had to not only step out on faith but I had to take a
LEAP of faith. It was only fitting to be called Leap of Faith Dance

Today, LOF is a thriving studio offering classes for
ages three to adult, including: Creative Movement (a ballet-based
class), Pre-Ballet/Tap, Ballet, Liturgical Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, and
Liturgical. Future plans are to add classes in modern and lyrical dance.

agrees that children and adults can reap benefits from adding dance to a
fitness program, although she says usually adults need more coaxing to
participate. However, once they participate they are hooked.

is what I like to refer to as fun, whole-body exercise,” she says. “I
recently worked with a group of adults, most who had never stepped foot
in a dance class. They were amazed at how much dance infused cardio and
muscular strength and toning in an hour-and-half class. It blew their

Currently, LOF is preparing for its annual dance
recital — “Bible Stories.” The event is scheduled for Saturday, June
12, at Spirit Square. In addition to recitals, LOF has an adult dance
company, which allows members to perform at local and regional events,
festivals, etc.

Davis, who describes herself as extremely
driven, focused, and caring, is also a disciplinarian. “As a teacher, I
don’t accept mediocrity. I push my students to work hard and strive
toward personal excellence,” she says, adding her work ethic and
inspiration comes from her parents and God; proof that she is fulfilling
a passion.

“When I lay down to sleep each day, I know that I’ve
made a positive impact on someone’s life through Leap of Faith Dance
Academy. There’s nothing like knowing your purpose.”

Leap of Faith
Dance Academy is now enrolling for summer classes. For more
information, visit the studio at 8535-D Hankins Road, Charlotte, NC
28269, call 704-597-0209, or go online at www.leapoffaithdance.com

In health
and wellness.
Sondra E. Z. Hines is an adjunct professor of
health and wellness and is certified to teach group fitness and Zumba.
Email: sondraezhines@yahoo.com

Sondra E. Z. Hines is an AFAA-certified group fitness instructor, Zumba instructor, workshop presenter and motivational speaker. A former adjunct professor, she has 15-plus years as a fitness instructor...

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