By Alicia Roberts

MAPLE SHADE, N.J. (CBS) — Meet a New Jersey mom and entrepreneur who’s using dance to break barriers. When Dana Ampy first started dancing at age 4, she never imagined it would become a part of her life story.

“It’s been one of those things I could not shake,” Dana Ampy, Owner Amped to Dance, said. “I thought I was going to give it up in high school, but then I ended up going to high school for dance. I thought I was going to give it up in college, but then I ended up dancing in college.”

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Now a mom herself, Ampy struggled to find classes for her daughter.

“When I moved to Maple Shade, New Jersey, I realized there wasn’t a place where a lot of people of color were attending dance studios,” she said.

So this entrepreneur and community activist opened Amped to Dance Studio, determined to make dance a safe haven for anyone and everyone who wants to give it a try.

South Jersey Mom And Entrepreneur Who's Using Dance To Break Down Barriers

“We have students of all races, backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses,” Ampy said. “When students walk into the studio, they don’t have to feel like the oddball, they don’t have to feel like they don’t fit in and they don’t belong.”

While COVID initially stalled her plans, she kept the faith, launching in July 2020.

“Now we are in our second season and have over 77 kids. That’s amazing,” Ampy said.

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“It has changed everything about dancing for me,” student A’lannah, of Willingboro, said.

12-year-old A’lannah says it’s not just the poses and plies she’s learning that are making a difference.

“I heard what she said and it really inspired me to just keep going,” A’lannah said.

“I wanted to show other Black girls, other women that you can do it too no matter what society says, no matter what the textbooks are saying and you can do it too,” Ampy said.

If you can’t attend one of her classes, Ampy’s message is simply, “never stop moving your feet” and “if you stumble — make it part of your dance.”

“It’s not enough to just believe,” Ampy said. “You have to believe but whatever you put your mind to you can achieve, and that’s what we did here at Amped to Dance.”

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For more information on Amped to Dance, click here.

Alicia Roberts