Wisconsin's dance programs get some Hype
Nearly seven years ago, Kendra Hill took a vision for a self-made small business and turned it into reality. Today, her company, Hype Cheer and Dance, provides over 12 area communities with cheer, poms and dance programming.
The company has grown exponentially over the last several years and offers clinics, camps, competitions and choreography for area cheerleading, poms and dance programs. Hype works with several Recreation Departments in Milwaukee and the surrounding suburbs to provide quality programming year round for both children and adults.
"The Recreation Department programs are so important because they are affordable," Hill says. "A lot of the kids who take the Rec classes aren't necessarily able to go to studios."
Two years ago, Hype expanded as Becky Scheinkoenig and Jessica Schneble joined Hill to help with class instruction and schedule coordination. Dance and cheer competitions, which Hype hosts five times a year, draw an estimated 350 performers competing in individual, small group and team categories. In addition to Milwaukee, Hype's Rec Department coordination includes suburban programs such as Hartland, Port Washington and Shorewood.
"At the Milwaukee Rec department the classes are offered at much lower prices," Scheinkoenig explains. "So we are offering really quality classes at a much lower price. I think Milwaukee usually has a hard time getting quality instructors to stay because the pay is lower but we try to hit every community and in doing so are able to charge less and still offer a really quality class."
Scheinkoenig, owner of Miss Becky's dance studio in Hales Corners, coordinates competitions and clinics and specializes in teaching tap, ballet and jazz, while Hill teaches hip-hop, poms and cheer. Combined, the three-person organization brings a wealth of experience and offers impressive class selection in the community.
"One of the things Hype brought to the Milwaukee dance community was diversity. If you come to a competition, it's not just one type of dancing, it's a variety. I like all styles and I like to have a range of dance types," Hill says.
In addition to offering community wide competitions, Hype offers participants and fans the chance to help with local initiatives by transforming competitions into community awareness events. Having previously worked with Second Harvest Food bank and currently working with the Susan G. Komen Foundation, Hype offers easy ways to donate goods and time.
"It's a simple way we can provide for people to volunteer. We get so many people together in one place that I started to think, why can't you bring a canned food item for that particular day? I call it competing with a conscience," she says.
Hill, originally a dancer for several Milwaukee sports teams including the former Marauders, Admirals and Brewers, found a passion in choreography and teaching. Before that she worked for a dance company on the East Coast where she first witnessed the potential for business in the dancing community.
"I worked for a company on the east coast and that was the first time I really saw that it could be a business. That's where I learned how to teach, how to choreograph and that's where it all started. The woman who owns the company, she was my initial inspiration," she says.
Hill's inspiration is now her reality. Offering five competitions throughout the year, countless classes and clinics as well as judging dance squads throughout the state, Hill continues to advance the Wisconsin dance and cheer scene. Hype successfully brings dance into schools and camps yet, Hill continues to aspire for growth and expansion.
"One of the things I hope to do is have more of an impact on inner city kids. There are so many opportunities that I don't think people know about, but there really aren't very many dance studios in the inner city where we can offer scholarships for kids and offer dance classes."
Hill's sense of appreciation and responsibility for the community may very well be the result of her own experience. Hill received her first business loan in 2001 from Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation (WWBIC), a Wisconsin program that works predominantly with minority, female entrepreneurs.
"A lot of people don't know about dance or cheerleading from a business sense, but WIBIC looked beyond that and saw what I was trying to do," she says.
WWBIC's belief in Hill undoubtedly paid off. This summer's Rec classes will lead into the Spirit Spectacular Solo & Small Group Expose this fall. During the competition, Hype offers scholarships and community service awards for dancers in the area.
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