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In the five years since lifelong dancer Hope MacDonald opened Bella Ballet, the studio has grown to instruct and delight over 500 children weekly and has been honored with many local and regional awards, including “Best Dance Studio” from Bethesda Magazine.
Bella Ballet offers many classes in the Kentlands, including the Princess Ballet Program for children 2-5 and the Elite Dance Program for children 6-12. Additionally, they have mommy and me sessions, tap, jazz and hip-hop. Specialties that MacDonald, a dancer since age 3, has developed include Hopeful Steps for children with special needs and programs for babies, moms and boys-only. Children can also enjoy musical theatre classes and summer camps.
“Bella Ballet is more than just a typical dance school,” says MacDonald. “Our mission is to provide the finest dance education while empowering children with self-confidence, leadership, and positive body image.” Each week, classes begin with a discussion of an important core value such as inclusion. That leads to open dialogue in a safe space.
Three years into the business, at a young age, MacDonald was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). “I teach my students every day how to overcome adversity and this was a huge test, causing me to practice what I preach,” she says. “Life isn’t always sunshine and rainbows, but a matter of how you power through despite adversity.” Through faith, family and a supportive community, MacDonald is doing well. MS definitely does not define this active business owner. She has learned different tools and holistic means of coping, reports that she is stronger than ever and enjoys a new passion in motivational speaking.