When Renee Hobson began Renee's Dance Factory in 1983, she couldn't foresee how she would impact her students' lives.
Few teachers get to see their pupils transform from tiny ballerinas wearing glittery tutus to young women performing advanced ballet, jazz and contemporary dance.
Some of her former students such as Leslie Ulrich and Leigh Ann Cusenbary-Taylor have had nationally known careers in dance performance, only to return and become RDF dance instructors.
Ulrich attained fame by performing for nine years with the Radio City Rockettes in New York City among many other incredible achievements. Leslie's relationship with her former teacher has developed into the close friendship of fellow professionals.
Cusenbary-Taylor said that her career in dance performance owes much to the way Hobson challenged and pushed her to excel. Her experiences at RDF enabled her to realize her dream of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.
In addition to these veteran dancers, Hobson is proud that two recent RDF graduates, her daughter, Caitlin Jazz Hobson, and Amber Lane Boland, are teaching at her studio. Hobson's daughter Caitlin began taking ballet at the age of 7 and has been teaching at RDF since 2004.
Although Meagan Brewer is not a former student of Hobson, the wife of local bull fighter Jay Brewer, joined the faculty last fall. She was a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader for four years among other accomplishments.
When Hobson began RDF at the age of 21, she left a good job with no guarantee that she could develop a full-time business. However, the business has, in fact, quadrupled, growing from 75 students
in 1983 to an average of 250 to 300 students today. The return rate for the studio overall has been high, she said.
Renee said that last year RDF endured a tragedy that has taught her how just amazing what strong bonds exist between her and her students. To honor Amber Lindley, who died July 15, 2012, her life and passion for dance, the Amber Lindley Memorial Scholarship has been established. The scholarship will allow GHS students to take dance classes who otherwise would not be able to.
Hobson said that she realizes because she's taught some students from the age of 3 years old to when they are seniors in high school, she has watched them grow up. She has a close bond with her students their school teachers don't have.
The 30th Anniversary RDF's Recital will be presented in three individual performances at 1, 4:30 and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 11, at Graham Memorial Auditorium. In honor of RDF's 30th recital, 38 RDF alumni who began taking in the 1980s will dance in the 8 p.m. recital.