Economy forces longtime ballet studio to take a final bow



Posted on September 21, 2010 at 10:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 21 at 10:33 PM


LYNNWOOD, Wash. -  This week, a panel of economists announced the recession is over.

Not true, says the owner of Lynnwood's Pacific Chamber Ballet, who told her clients Tuesday night her doors were closing for good.

Many girls dream of becoming a ballerina. For almost 3 decades, Judith Ross has helped those dreams come true.

"Well I love it," says Ross. "I absolutely love teaching."

"You can see she has a lot of experience," says parent Tim Nelson, whose daughter takes her beginning ballet class. "The children really care for her."

Ross has launched a list of students into professional careers, but when the economy took a Grand Plie, she noticed a decline in enrollment. Her beginning ballet class had four students Tuesday night. It would normally have at least twice that number. Ross could only stretch her budget so far.

"The phones got very, very quiet at the end of August and that's when they get very busy," says Ross. "I got very nervous about it because I looked at the paperwork over the weekend and I thought 'we're $1,300 under.'"

Tuesday before class, she pulled parents aside.

"I'm having to close the studio at the end of this month," she told them.  "This is not easy for me to say and talk about because I've been here for so many years."

"The girls are going to be really upset," says parent Carina Moser.

"I was very sad, very sad," says Sylvia Kemple, who says Ross' studio emphasized discipline and technique in a nurturing environment. 

Next week, as Ross takes her final bow, she knows her legacy will live on.

"I accomplished more than I ever expected and I've seen dancers go on to professional careers and that's been wonderful for me," she says.