Ofelia de La Valette

Classes: Dancer's Stretch & Conditioning, Jazz It Up & The Dance Fundamentals Workshop

Though a passion for dance has been with her since childhood, it wasn't until the age of 34 (in 1991), after the birth of her second child, that Ofelia de La Valette found her second calling through dance. After 10 years of intensive training in jazz, hip hop, ballet and modern, she was asked to teach an adult beginner jazz class at Emory University. Having learned to dance so late in life, Ofelia developed a unique method of teaching dance to adults in accordance with how adults process and apply information (very differently than how kids learn). 

Her teaching method was so successful, after two years at Emory, she took a huge leap. At the request of five of her students (and with their help), Ofelia dropped her lucrative insurance career and opened the original Dance 101 location off of Miami Circle in Buckhead. The first studio of its kind in the WORLD that specialized in adult beginner dancers, Dance 101's unique offerings and accessibility made it an instant hit. After just a year in business, Ofelia moved from her 2,400-square-foot space to a whopping 10,000-square-foot space on Briarcliff Road - making it the largest dance studio of its kind in the country.  Ofelia's studio has grown from its original 35 students to more than 17,000 registered students, two locations, with more than 1,200 students coming to the studio each week to take 100+ classes taught by 40 instructors.  

Ofelia teaches weekly dance classes including the original Jazz class upon which dance 101 was created (Jazz 101 in Alpharetta), as well as The Dancer's Stretch Method which she developed (and perfected) over the course of 17 years to accelerate flexibility in newly minted dancers and Artistic Athletes alike. 

Her efforts have been featured in several local as well as national publications, webisodes, podcasts and recently in CNN Small Success Stories, Passion to Portfolio, Making It In America (both CNN domestic and International) as well as Headline News. In July, 2011 Ofelia was invited by the White House to deliver the afternoon key note speech at the Atlanta Urban Entrepreneurship Forum and was presented with The Phoenix Award by Mayor Kasim Reed. She was featured in the top 10 Atlanta Best Self magazine's Over 40 and Fabulous Atlantans and was one of 50 women profiled in Marlo Thomas's book, It Ain't Over...Till It's Over.