(alpharetta) A love letter to my daughter
Posted by Ofelia

Dear Dancers, Artistic Athletes & Dreamers,

Today is a very happy day for me! 34 years ago today at 8:03am, I brought a great treasure into this world: my daughter. My thoughts are consumed today by this special occasion - no surprise it's making its way into this 101. What began as a little bundle of big brown eyes and curly hair turned into a lifetime of love, purpose, joy, companionship and support for me. For all the diapers I changed, all the sacrifices I made to put her through school, all the sick days, all the books I read on parenting, all the care I put into raising her and all the times I put her needs ahead of mine... she has returned each and every one in kind as the years have unfolded. 

In 2005, Dance 101 was a fledgling one room studio in Atlanta on the verge of hitting a tipping point. Paulina was a junior at SCAD Savannah earning her bachelors in graphic design. With no budget to hire someone to help me, I reached out to her with a request. I asked her to transfer to SCAD Atlanta and move back home so she could help me with the studio. I knew it was a big ask - but she immediately agreed. She left her circle of friends, her college life, her beloved teachers and mentors to return home to help her mom. She worked the front desk while I taught, doing her homework between classes and practicing her newly minted design skills on posters she would design to advertise and brand new teachers.

Her posters evolved into website banners that gave the studio a dynamic edge at a time when online studio marketing was in its infancy. Her banner design concepts made such an impact, other studios began copying her ideas. Not only did she help me out, she contributed greatly to the growth of the studio (and to the dance industry as a whole) - something she continues to do to this day.

Fast forward 12 years and here she is, now joined by her brother Erik - ever at my side, keeping a watchful eye over me while helping build, brand and expand Dance 101. My gratitude is beyond words! While dance 101 is a REALLY big blessing, having my kids with me on this journey is an even greater one. Without them, I don't think I could have made it this far.

And as for Paulina, over the years I've watched her grow into a beautiful, confident woman and our roles flip with her becoming my teacher and mentor in so many ways. She has helped me put things into perspective on many occasions with her quick wit and fantastic sense of humor. I look forward to spending my days off with her because I can't get enough of her infectious attitude. I admire her so! For all she has given and done for me, for all she has contributed to the dance industry, for all she does to keep the studios humming and for all the joy she brings to everyone in her path, here's to you P! HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Love & Gratitude,