CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Candra Davis will tell you she’s very structured. So much that it almost kept her away from dance, in fact.
Davis owns Leap of Faith Dance Academy, an instructional dance school located in north Charlotte.
Sixteen years ago, however, Davis was working in corporate America, well on her way to becoming a senior executive.
“I liked finance and I worked in that field. Then I fell into human resources. But I never stopped dancing,” Davis said. “Even though I wasn’t doing it as a career, it was always there.”
Davis said she was 2 years old when she started dancing.
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She continued to dance throughout her adolescence and into her college years at Spelman College in Atlanta, where she majored in economics.
She said it wasn’t until after college when she fell into teaching dance at a church in Charlotte.
“The person who led our church’s dance ministry got married and had a baby and everyone asked, ‘Well, who’s going to lead this now?’” Davis said. “So that’s when I said, ‘I will.’”
Davis went from leading that group to eventually creating her own dance school inside the church.
“It was like God kept pulling me back to dance,” she said.
Eventually, she got the courage to step out and open her own business.
She said the name of her dance academy came easily.
“The name of the school was what I actually did. It was a literal leap of faith,” Davis said.
Today, she’s a veteran business owner, successfully entering her 16th year with Leap of Faith Dance Academy.
She and her team of teachers offer jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop and liturgical genres of dance instruction to students of various ages, starting as young as three.
Class sizes are intentionally kept small, according to Davis, to ensure dancers get personal instruction from teachers.
“I like having a family unit with my girls,” Davis said. “If my students tell me they’re doing something with their Girl Scouts Troop or they’re performing in a play, I’m going to bust my behind to be there.”
When asked what being a black female business owner meant to her, Davis said she hopes her students feel inspired.
“I feel a sense of responsibility for them to see me as a successful business owner. I want the girls to know that if they strive, they can have their own,” Davis said.
“If their parents can walk away and think ‘Ok, she leads with integrity. She cares about my child and their success,’ then I have done my part.”
Leap of Faith Dance Academy is at 8535-D Hankins Road in Charlotte.
Visit leapoffaithdance.com to learn more about the academy.
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