gmhTODAY 22 gmhToday Oct Nov 2018 - Page 112

G ilroy native Lana Wright is the owner and founder of Lana’s Dance Studio, which is entering its 40th year, with locations in Morgan Hill, and Gilroy. She considers her time-tested dance studio a family as much as a business. Wright talks about the kids who have gone through her programs over the years with the same fondness as though they were her own children. “I just love seeing the kids blossom, watching their faces from their first classes and seeing them grow not just as a dancer, but as a person,” she said. Many of her students have taken classes in her studios since they were small children, for up to fifteen years, before going off to college. Some con- tinue dancing in college, and some go on to dance professionally, like her former student Tori, who currently dances with singer Ricky Martin. The business is not just a family in feel, but in practice, too. Her 37-year- old daughter Leila, a former Radio City Rockette whom she calls “the backbone of the business,” runs the competition side of the studio, her husband Doug helps out in the office, and her two- year-old granddaughter has begun taking classes. When Wright opened her first studio in the Candy Park area of Morgan Hill in 1979, she had 86 students that first year. Now, as many as 600 students participate in her recreational and competitive programs every year, and almost all of them perform in the Annual Production Show, each June, which takes place at San Jose’s Center for the Performing Arts. Though Lana’s studio is known for its competitive team, which has won so many awards her Morgan Hill studio is literally crowded with trophies—she said that it is a “misconception” that competition is all that they do. “We are actually 90 percent recreation and 10 percent competitive,” she said. “You don’t just have a competitive team,” she said. The kids have to work up to that. Nonetheless, the studio has fledged a number of professional dancers, and a host of professional cheerleaders in such teams as the San Francisco Lana's Dance Studio A Family Affair Written By Jordan Rosenfeld 112 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018