'Keep pushing': Mom opens dance studio to help young girls celebrate diversity

A small business owner in Burlington County is making history and hoping young girls will follow in her footsteps.
“Our mission is to foster self-confidence and creativity through dance in a fun, energetic environment,” says Amped to Dance owner Dana Ampy.
Ampy has been a dancer since she was young. She was trying to find a dance studio for her daughter, but couldn’t find the right one.
“They were either all white or all Black. And I was just like, where are the other people? I know there’s more people out there,” Ampy says.
She says her mission is to create a place where girls from all different cultures can come together and dance. She says that when she found a location in Maple Shade, she knew it was the perfect spot.
“We don’t have to be the same. We’re all different and if we can appreciate everybody for their differences…and if we can love and appreciate people in this world, it will be a better place,” Ampy says.
Ampy’s students have grown to love the studio.
“When I came here I was really shy, but Miss Dana helped me and I was able to start feeling comfortable here,” says dancer Zyhela Robinson.
The studio has been open for two years. The first one was not easy, as the studio opened just before the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“When I signed the lease…everything was good to go. We were prepared to open and then, boom, the entire world shut down,” Ampy says.
But she says she relied on her faith and the studio was able to open in the summer of 2020.
“We finished our first year with 67 kids in the middle of a pandemic. We still had a recital on stage,” she says.
Ampy says she hopes she can pass on her perseverance to all the girls watching her.
"No matter what, when things don't go your way, keep pushing. When things look hopeless and bleak, keep pushing. When you don't know if you're even on the right path, keep pushing because there's always a bright breakthrough on the other side,” she says.