As we all try to decipher the new rules of society during this pandemic, many businesses are unsure of the future and if it will ever return to "normal". As a dance studio of 31 years, we have been labeled non essential as many other small companies have. While this is deemed necessary by our leaders and is understandable-it still hurts. With no possibility of having a definitive end to these restrictions, we are at a crossroads. So many questions regarding large crowds, social distancing, regional and national events and their future. Will they return and if so when? Will we still be here as a company? Will we make it to the other side and if so, what will the other side look like?
Unfortunately, we have not received any of the CARES Act funds which seems to have been drained by corporate America by design. As usual, sole proprietorship and mini companies (as I refer to them) with 10 or less employees will be left to fend for themselves once again. Our small, family style studio that has already been through so much will need to weather this storm with no real way to produce an income. As always, we will fight for it and continue to do whatever we can to keep the dream of our director alive.
Money has never been a priority for the Logo. As many of you are aware, she purchased the studio for $500 back in 1989 with a loan from her father. Soon after, most of the students left, all but 7. She held classes in a basement studio, building up her enrollment and never really having a billing system during this time. She used to put a basket out for tuition with a sign that read: "pay what you can". As she grew and changed locations, her talents lead her to become one of the most well known studios in the area, still charging significantly reduced tuition rates, comparably speaking.
We have been able to persevere through the tough times in the past using our work ethic. Staying late, opening early. Rehearsing while having no studio in our yard, setting up speakers on the grass. Holding year end artistic revues within our studio because we couldn't find an affordable venue. Taking no pay, only trying to keep the roof over our heads and the music on. Whatever it took, we would do. This situation however is different. No amount of work and effort can change this time in our history. We have to sit and wait, something that we have never done before. We are helpless during this time, just like so many others.
All we can do going forward is hope. We hope that things will be able to return to normal sooner rather than later We hope the dancers will look forward to coming back to the studio and getting to work. We hope that we can have a studio for them to return to. We hope that this virus that is attacking much more than our bodies, will soon pass.
In the meantime, we reflect. We reflect on where we came from and how far we have come. We see how despite our small size, we have stood next to some of the nations best talent. We have adapted as the industry has changed over the years. We have learned from some of the best and been able to perform our routines around the world. We have made lifelong friends along the way and taught generations of families. We have fulfilled the young 19 year old's dream, together.
Recently, we asked families and dancers to answer the following question: "What does DTRI mean to you?" Below are some of the responses, we can not thank you enough for the kind words and we hope to resume making these memories soon.....
Dance Theatre of RI is so much more than a dance studio. It's a second home. It's a place where everyone is accepted for who they are. It's a place filled with love and the greatest support system ever. DTRI has given my son the ability to make lasting friendships with people who actually care. Seeing the kids light up whatever stage they perform on brings such pride to know all the hard work and dedication it takes to get there. I will forever be grateful for our second family.
My 2 girls have been part of the DTRI family for six years. Dance is not just an everyday activity for them, it's a lifestyle. Many friendships have blossomed from the bonds formed with both the students and the Moms. Lessons learned at DTRI:
How to work hard to accomplish a win. How to lose with grace. How to work as a team How to excel on their own. How to be confident How to manage their time How to carry themselves with poise How to maintain sportsmanship
The lessons learned in the studio are lessons that can't be taught or learned anywhere else. Jennifer Vecchio, Ted Vecchio, we thank you for your continued support of teaching our kids these lessons and making their love of dance a reality.
DTRI isn’t just a dance studio, it’s a second home. My daughter spent more time here than anywhere. For many years. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Her teachers & fellow dancers taught her so many life lessons that she took to college with her. And it didn’t matter how far away she was, this was still her team. Whenever she was home from school she’d still drop by the studio to see everyone or go to their comp. because that’s what you do for family. And that’s also why I stay involved even after my daughter stopped dancing. Jen, Ted, the teachers, the staff & the dancers are my family. I need them in my life just as much as my daughter did.
Where do I start? My daughters danced for Miss Jennifer Vecchio, for many years and they learned the love of dance, discipline, and friendship. Miss Jen and her family not only take you in as a client but they embrace you as a family; with never ending support, and love of their dancers as well as their parents/guardians.As the coordinator of our town's youth cheer program, I have often asked Miss Jen to use her studio as a safe place for my girls to cheer when other places were unavailable. Because of this and her love of children and community, Miss Jen and the Dance Theatre of RI has helped us in winning several first place awards.I couldn't do some of what I do if it wasn't for the DTRI family. Miss Jen and Ted Vecchio, deserve to have help with their small business during this difficult time.Losing DTRI would be a great disservice to the Town of Cumberland, not to mention the world of dance. We love you Jen and Ted #dtri #friendsforlife
Jen and Ted are two of the most genuine and kindhearted people I know. These two work nights and day providing an outlet for these kids that keeps them safe, shows them love, allows them to create, and most importantly allows them to be Their true selves. The Vecchio’s have worked night and day and sometimes for nothing expected in return for those children. They are passionate and giving and selfless and you will never find a more amazing pair! Their love for each other and the kids and their community is what not only has given them 30 years of business but will give them 30 more! True inspirations to those children and everyone that they meet in their lives.. as a friend and colleague they have not only taught me about hard work and dedication but they showed me that never giving up because you love what you do will always somehow someway succeed and they prove that everyday for their dancers!
DTRI has been my family for many years. I love what Miss Jen and Ted do. They open there hearts to everyone that walks in the doors. Money is never an issue whether it’s a student wanting to dance or be on the competition team, or someone needing there space for practice or fundraising. They work and give there heart and soul to so many. I am so proud to be part of this organization. We still have a lot to give. WE Will GET Through THIS. Love you guys with all my heart.
We can not thank you enough for all the kind words. We hope to see you all soon at the studio where we can begin to get back to doing what we do best. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay home. Whenever this ends, we will find a way to continue the dream.