La Cañada Flintridge resident Julie Kay Stallcup, the co-owner of Revolution Dance Studio who has helped shape young talents such as superstar musicians Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas, Tinashe and actress Julia Butters, is simply trying to stay afloat during this time of the coronavirus.
Stallcup, in a recent interview inside the Montrose studio with her husband Darrell Stallcup and their business partner Melissa Gerard, said they are working to ultimately figure out a solution.
“It might not be the way it was going to be,” Stallcup said. “You can’t take dance away from us.”
The studio, which features tap, ballet, jazz, musical theater, hip-hop and other dancing styles, is tentatively scheduled to reopen on May 5.
“We are projecting that date because of information from local authorities,” Stallcup said.
Registration for summer classes, which start on July 6 and run through Aug. 15, is still ongoing through the company’s website at revolutiondancecenter.com.
The studio recently started hosting classes through an online academy which is open to only current students. Gerard said it was important for younger dancers to have a connection with their teacher. The age range for the studio is from 12 months — with a parent — to teenagers and adults.
“They have a connection with the music that’s happening and to provide a little sense of normalcy for that,” Gerard said. “People currently enrolled in class have received access to a communication tool directly with their teacher. It’s a private app where the teachers are putting up messages to their kids. They’re putting up little videos or written messages and they’re putting their recital pieces up there. They’re uploading the music there so that it’s a place where the kids can go and they’re not going to be bombarded by other social media.”
Before the dance studio took shape, Stallcup taught Gerard’s two children, Jessica and Lauren, in 2000.
“They fell in love with it and then within a few months we got to be friends,” Gerard said. Eventually, Stallcup taught at the current location of Revolution Dance Studio, which was under different management.
The Stallcups and Gerard began their business partnership with the dance studio in 2006 and by the end of the first season, in June 2007, they had 250 students.
Gerard, who was previously a transactional lawyer, said she knew it was Stallcup’s dream to open a dance studio.
“We talked about it all the time,” Gerard said. “She finally decided she really wanted to do it but said, ‘I don’t know how to find space. I don’t know any of that stuff.’ So I said, ‘I can help you find a space. I can help you negotiate a lease. I do this stuff all the time.’”
Stallcup then asked Gerard to be her business partner, and Gerard decided to change careers.
They moved the studio to its current location in 2008 after being asked if they would be interested in coming back to Montrose because of Stallcup’s popularity, Gerard said.
“She’s the soul and basically she hires all of the teachers because her vision is what the studio is based on,” Gerard said.
Revolution Dance has an impressive list of alumni that would make quite a wish list for Hollywood agents. At the top is Billie Eilish, the 18-year-old superstar who has won five Grammy Awards and is currently one of the world’s highest-profile singers. Her talented brother, Finneas, as well as singer/dancer Tinashe and actress Julia Butters are among Revolution Dance’s former students.
Stallcup said one thing they all have in common is that they have amazing families that are invested in them as humans.
“Not in them as stars, but in them as humans,” Stallcup said, “and all of those kids are humble and thankful, sweet and responsible and lovely, amazing humans.”
She added that those former students should always feel like they can come back to the studio.
“This is still our home and everybody knows they can come here to escape whatever it is on the outside,” Stallcup said. “That, I think, is the most important thing because dance is true therapy. It’s how I survived both of my parents dying. I can release the feelings I have inside that I don’t want to tell anybody. There’s nothing better, honestly, than walking inside the studio and turning the music on and hitting the floor. It’s my roadmap of life.”
Stallcup said she believes the coronavirus epidemic is helping to make everyone stronger and to look past political views to find one’s purpose.
“I feel the purpose of all this happening is for our community to come together and to realize that these [teachers] on this wall serve a massive purpose in those kids lives,” Stallcup said.
A recital is tentatively scheduled for June 1-June 12 in the late afternoon and early evening at the studio located at 2233 Honolulu Ave. Donations to the studio can be mailed to Revolution Dance Studio, 2287 Honolulu Ave., Montrose, 91020.