WILLIAMSBURG — Everyone has dreams of what they’re going to be when they grow up, but very few end up making them come true. Rebekah Blythe, owner and Artistic Director at En Pointe Dance Academy, is one of the few.
Originally from Williamsburg, Blythe’s journey with dance began when she was just four years old. Her original studio was Chamber Ballet, where she started as a classical ballet dancer. Over the course of her career, her knowledge has expanded to genres of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, contemporary, character, pointe, and more.
“When I was four, I knew I wanted to be a dancer,” Blythe explained. “I knew I wanted to teach one day. It was just something I always knew I was going to do. So I put all of my time and effort into that.”
By the time Blythe was in high school, she was training over 30 hours a week at the studio on top of her schoolwork. Once she was 16, she began to dance professionally, and did so for several years before an injury caused her to stop.
When Blythe was 19, she started attending the local YMCA, starting a performing arts academy from scratch. Starting from nothing, she built the program to over 200 students. In 2015, she decided it was time to live out her dream and start her own company, choosing a space in the old candle factory in Norge in part to preserve its history.
“I had a dream in mind that I wanted to train classical dancers,” Blythe said. “I wanted to give them the opportunity to train, to take it off to college or a professional career or however they wanted to take it.”
En Pointe offers a wide variety of dance styles, offering classes for diverse ages, skill levels, and levels of professionalism.
While running her own dance studio is a dream come true, Blythe notes it has its challenges.
“When I started I was very young, so I had a lot of learning to do,” Blythe explained. “I really depended on the support of friends, family, and my employees to learn. I’ve been able to balance mom-life and business-life, which is incredible, it’s one of the reasons I chose the career path that I did. I wanted to be a mom and available to my children but also run my own company, be successful for me and them to see.”
“It was really important to me to be able to find a career path that I could balance and share my passion [for dance],” Blythe continues. “But as a woman running a company, it definitely is a learning process and I’m constantly learning and growing and researching what is up and coming. I’ve learned to listen to my students and families about their needs and wants while also keeping my foundation. I love it, but it definitely has its ups and downs.”
Blythe noted the balance that comes with being a mother and a business owner, when one one aspect of her life demands more attention than the other. She said she has been able to live her dreams to the fullest due to her support system and those around her.
Blythe cautions anyone else who wishes to start their own company or business to “not get into your own head.”
“Try to remember that as a good leader, you learn and are always listening to your staff and those around you. Those who have had experience,” Blythe advises. “Take the opportunity to learn from others and those around you. Really go in with what you’ve learned and what you’ve experienced but also rely on others with experience as well, because we can always learn and grow from them.”