Tap, jazz, ballet, musical theatre. If there's a style of dance, Laura Bishop knows it.
And she should. Bishop has been teaching dance in all its forms for 18 years and performing all her life, singing and dancing in front of all sizes of crowds in all kinds of venues.
"I come from a crazy circus family," said Bishop, who has launched her own dance studio — Bishop Dance Productions.
"My aunt opened a (dance) school in Sherwood Park, Alberta, in 1957. I come from dance-studio people."
Bishop's mom taught dance and instructed her daughter in the ways of tap. Her sister owns a dance studio, The Rhythm Room, in Vancouver.
And, to top it off, one set of grandparents performed in a dance band. Her grandfather hammered away at the drums while her grandmother played the piano.
"It's in the family," she said.
So Bishop jumped at the chance to start her own dance studio when the opportunity presented itself. She had thought about it for years while teaching at other studios in town, but this time the stars aligned.
For one, a space became available at the former Rainbow School of Dance on Lorne Street East. Then came the support of Bishop's family and friends, who encouraged her to take the plunge.
"Within a matter of three days it was like, OK I'm opening a dance studio," she said.
Bishop needed to put a new floor in the lobby at 1417B Lorne and the studio required a fresh coat of paint, but the key features — most importantly the dance room itself — were already in place.
Renovations were still underway when The Daily News caught up with Bishop earlier this week. She was madly getting things together for a series of free introductory classes today.
She's most proud of her lobby, which was designed so parents could enjoy some quiet time while their child learns to dance.
The room has a sofa, coffeemaker and TV, which Bishop will show dance movies on, she said.
"If you have a three or four year old in their first or second year of dancing, you want to be there but you don't want to be in the classroom with them," said Bishop.
Bishop will teach all the classes, a task she's more than up for after teaching seven days a week for years. She offers a variety of programs — everything from tap to musical theatre — with several running daily.
One class she's especially proud of is called Mommas and Tutus, a beginner program for two to three year olds and an accompanying caregiver.
"They come in with their grandmother of their mom and do a class together," she said.
The class is $10 a session and runs for 10 weeks with starts in the fall, winter and spring.
Next is a preschool dance program for three- to five-year-olds with Bishop teaching all styles of dance. This class runs from September to June and is $50 a month.
"They do everything throughout that class throughout the season," she said.
Bishop grew up in Kamloops and graduated from Kam High, now South Kamloops secondary, in 1982. She hopes she can instil in children the same love of performing and discipline that has helped guide her life.
"What I want them to get out of it is life skills that will help them with a lot of challenges they will encounter as they grow into adults," she said, adding dance taught her co-operation, team building, and goal setting.
"Kids that take dance do well in school and have great time management."
For more information, visit www.bishopdance.com. Monday is Bishop's first day of paid classes.