SNAPCo dance school, studio opens in Chestnut Hill

by Walt Maguire
Posted 11/18/20

On an unexpectedly warm November Saturday, the latest addition to family life in Chestnut Hill opened its doors. Scene-N-Action Productions Company (SNAPCo.) offers classes in dance and theater …

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SNAPCo dance school, studio opens in Chestnut Hill

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On an unexpectedly warm November Saturday, the latest addition to family life in Chestnut Hill opened its doors. Scene-N-Action Productions Company (SNAPCo.) offers classes in dance and theater for ages five to 17, both in the studio at 7942 Germantown Ave. and online.

Even before the afternoon ribbon-cutting, they held their first dance classes at the new studio. Since the weather felt more like Spring than Fall, the children danced outside. With the election celebration going on along Germantown Avenue at the same time, it seemed like the intersection at Willow Grove was the most festive spot on the Hill – balloons, flags, music, car horns, dancing, and applause.

Lydia Robinson, Artistic Director, started SNAPCo. in 2012, with seven students. It became an official non-profit in 2014. Lydia, 35, grew up in Philadelphia, always involved in dance even as she obtained her Business degree. Once she figured out how to start her own performing arts school, she pursued that plan.

“It started off with seven children, and it grew over the years,” she said. “The Lord has truly blessed us.”

SNAPCo. has been a tight community from the beginning. Many of the creative directors and student families have been with the group from the early days. For the new location, Lydia’s brother Brandon helped install the dance floors, and her brother Justin designed the masks.

“For three years we participated in the Chestnut Hill Christmas Parade, and we had a few of our children who lived in the area,” she said. “We were originally located in the West Oak Lane area. We were looking around Mt. Airy and we really didn’t see anything. We came to Chestnut Hill, we saw this property, and we decided this was the perfect spot. We love the community, we loved the spark we got from being in the parade. It’s our home here.”

Philip Dawson, Executive Director of the Chestnut Hill Business District, handed Lydia the ceremonial golden scissors.

“It’s been a difficult year for any business district, but one of the great things has been that we’ve seen twelve 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 SNAP Company is very positive for Chestnut Hill and will be a real asset to our community.”

Lydia moved into the doorway, surrounded by her staff.

“We’re excited to be in this community,” she said. “We’re excited for the children that have come out. I know in the middle of a pandemic it seems really crazy, but the Lord has allowed us to be present for our youth.”

She counted down from three and snipped the wide red ribbon.

The pandemic has caused a few changes for now: There is a maximum of eight students per class, plus the option for joining in online (limit 4 participants). All classes will be recorded live via Zoom. Masks are required, and both students and instructors have to sanitize their hands if they touch their face. No bare feet. Parents can watch on Zoom or from the sidewalk through the plate-glass windows.

Dance classes are still open for enrollment (Jazz Dance Theater, Ballet, and Lyrical). Hip hop and tap have online slots available. There’s also an Online Improv Theater Class and an Afterschool Creative Arts Program for grades 1st-12th. Future plans include a theater and video production program. More at snapcompany.org.

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