We had the good fortune of connecting with Darleen Bolton and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darleen, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve been manifesting my current dance studio since the age of 12 and never even knew it. Growing up as a competitive dancer at an all Black dance studio in a white-dominated art/arena, it bothered me that dance studios lacked diversity, including mine. Other studios, like ours, would have little to no diversity within their team members and this bothered me. Especially coming from such an ethnically diverse family. I wanted a dance company that reflected all sides of me (Black, Hispanic, and White) and other parts of the world, which would disrupt the uncomfortable “norm” that I was seeing in the dance competition world. Understand, I don’t believe that the lack of diversity was on purpose. I just think that the arts had been and still is considered a luxury because of the cost to participate. That fact was never lost on me. So when it was my turn, I decided to be a part of the change and create the space for just that. Now, I’ve done it and it feels GREAT. Today, I have the privilege of teaching dance to students of all ages, backgrounds, and races in an encouraging environment that fuels not only my passion, but theirs too!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I own Pirouette With Purpose Dance Studio located in Jonesboro, Ga. My dance studio houses not only my recreational dance program, but also my newest and most exciting project-Darleen’s Dance Lab. Darleen’s Dance Lab is a dance competition team/program for dancers that not only want to compete, but also explore and participate in more opportunities than the average recreational dancer including (but not limited to) scholarship opportunities (our students traveled to Hollywood last summer for master classes), auditions (commercial and professional), performing, and photo shoots.
The journey to PWP and Darleen’s Dance Lab has definitely not been easy! It took 18 years of learning, failing, resilience, and perseverance. What I’ve learned along the way is that dreams only work if you do and a lot of the time that dream will lead to your next dream or opportunity. So stay grounded, focused, and cry when you need to but GET BACK UP AGAIN!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We definitely have to restaurant hop at Ponce City Market, then we can take a walk on the Beltline, followed by a stroll through Piedmont Park, and finish with some drinks in Midtown starting at Ra Sushi!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My late mother, Barbara Bolton. Her words, wisdom, and guidance still follow me to this day and they always will. She was and still is the smartest person I’ve ever met. I feel her presence everyday. I’m so thankful that every dream I ever whispered to her she has made come true and all the others are yet to be seen. Love you to the moon and back forever, Mommy!