Hill dance studio opened in middle of pandemic focused on growth

by Len Lear
Posted 5/27/21

Here is a riddle: Who has the nerve to open a dance studio in the middle of a pandemic? Answer: Lydia Robinson, a Mt. Airy resident for the past 20 years.

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Hill dance studio opened in middle of pandemic focused on growth

Posted

Here is a riddle: Who has the nerve to open a dance studio in the middle of a pandemic? Answer: Lydia Robinson, a Mt. Airy resident for the past 20 years.

Last November Robinson, 35, opened Scene-N-Action Productions Company (SNAPCo), which offers classes in dance and theater for ages 5 to 17, both in the studio at 7942 Germantown Ave. and online.

Robinson started running a dance program in 2012 at the Finley Recreation Center in East Mt. Airy but always wanted her own studio and defied the odds by opening one near the end of 2020. “Of course we had lots of restrictions,” she said last week. “No more than eight people in person were allowed. Two or three weeks later we were shut down. Now that things are opening up, we have a hybrid operation, teaching jazz dancing, Broadway and combining tap and hip-hop, online at the same time as in person. Eight to 10 are allowed in person.

“Parents are tired of everything at home, so more kids are coming in person now. For a class we might have four in person and five online or maybe eight and two. It varies. The most popular classes are hip-hop and tap for those 12 to 16. Improv is popular also, as is after-school creative movement for four hours — dancing, creating skits and literacy, reading books together and poems.”

Parents with children in Robinson's classes seem to be unanimous in their affection for SNAPCo. According to parent Jasmine Minor, of Germantown, “Since I've known Lydia, she has been such a joy to be around. Her smile and mannerism just pulls you in. She has so much class. She is a true child of God who did not give up on her dreams. She inspires so many little girls. My daughter's face always lights up when it's time to dance. SNAPCo is a place where she can be her silly and outgoing self and make mistakes without judgment.”  

Yolanda Booker, of Northeast Philly, grandparent of a child taking classes at SNAPCo, added, “Where do I begin? SNAPCo is a true blessing to our children and community … The children not only learn dance techniques, but they also learn that they are beautiful and to be confident in who they are. The wonderful founder, Lydia Robinson, and her staff are amazing. They are supportive in every way. I love every part of SNAPCo.”

When Lydia was a teenager herself growing up in West Oak Lane, she attended a charter school in Southwest Philly  (“It took trains and buses to get there”) and then majored in business with a minor in dance at Indiana University of PA. She earned an MBA at Excelsior College in Albany, NY.

She then worked for Prudential Life Insurance Co. for five years in customer service claims (“It could be sad dealing with claims after a loved one died”) while at the same time teaching dance at Pointe Flex Studio in Germantown. “But it was always my intent since the age of 12 to start a performing arts center. I started dancing at age 11 and quickly developed a passion for it as well as for acting.”

When SNAPCo opened last November, Philip Dawson, Executive Director of the Chestnut Hill Business District, said at the ceremonial ribbon-cutting, “It’s been a difficult year for any business district, but one of the great things has been that we’ve seen 12 businesses open up in Chestnut Hill since this pandemic started. I think it’s a real testament to the enduring appeal of the area, and I think SNAPCo is very positive for Chestnut Hill and will be a real asset to our community.”

Robinson's goal for the immediate future is to do more improv and start a video workshop production to show the children what goes on behind the scenes. She will also have a music production program. She even had an expert teach five classes in American Sign Language twice, once for children and once for adults. “We had a good response, so we will do it again, the next time for adults.”

SNAPCo will also have a live stream production on June 19, 6 p.m., called “Together” that will encompass dance, improv and acting,

For more information about upcoming programs, visit snapcompany.org. SNAPCo also has a GoFundMe page, https://gofund.me/fe0f0ded, that expires at the end of 2021. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com

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