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40 years of dance

Beth Barnes says no one is too old to dance

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Beth Barnes School of Dance located in Cheat Lake’s Ashebrooke Square.


Owner Beth Barnes started dancing at the age of 3 and is now 63.  She opened her dance studio first in Westover before relocating to the current location.

 “Dancing for me has been quite a journey,” she said.  “I’ve always loved dancing, and I’ve always loved kids.  You get to meet so many kids and help mold their personality.”

When Barnes was younger, she forgot the choreography of a dance during competition.  She made up the dance as she went, and the feeling of winning that contest is something she will never forget.

 “Tears came streaming down my face. I had no idea where they came from. It felt as if the world loved me.  If I could pass that along to one student, I will have accomplished what I was born to do,” she said.

Pat Crytser, a member of the Chatty Tappers group at the studio, has worked with Barnes since the beginning and also enjoys the art of dance.

 “I think there are still very, very many dedicated dancers today, and I don’t think dancing is a dying art by any means,” Crytser said.  “We’re a close knit group of ladies who dance because we enjoy dancing, it’s good exercise, not only for the body but for the mind.”

One of Barnes’ students, Morgan Yost, started dancing lessons when she was 3 and is now 6 years old.  “I like to do the tricks, front walkover, back walkover and chinstand,” she said. 

When Barnes started her business, she had support from her family, especially her parents.  “My mom and dad were really influential, mom was the secretary and my father was on the business end of things. They loved the dancing school,” she said.  “I can never thank them enough.”

Classes  taught at Barnes’ school include tap, jazz, ballet, acrobatic, hip hop and lyrical.  Classes begin at  3 year old, and there are two adult classes.  Summer programs begin Monday, and Crytser said they are a great place for children.

 “If you’re looking for something to keep your children busy this summer, bring them out to Beth’s because there will be all kinds of fun and dancing and things to do,” she said.

Barnes said anyone can dance at any age or with any circumstances.  “You don’t have to dance for a living to enjoy dance.  I was born to dance and so were you,” she said. 

“I think the best is yet to come, it’s been a long time and I don’t exactly know what that’s going to be, but the best is yet to come.”