SAN ANTONIO – Watching over her students as they plié, jump and glide across the studio floor, Danielle Campbell Steans, director and owner of the San Antonio Ballet School, says she couldn’t be prouder.
Steans was introduced to dance at a young age, learning everything from ballet to tap and jazz.
It was ballet, though, that she was called towards.
"Making ballet as inclusive as possible has really been my mission," Steans says.
Beginning with only three students and a dream, Steans cultivated her business to become one of the Alamo City's premiere ballet studios.
“We try to get them in ballet classes, tap, jazz, hip hop, even flamenco and really just instill that love of dance,” she said.
Steans claims most ballet schools work from a syllabus, while her school follows a curriculum that sets it apart.
“Instead of going to class and having the same set of exercises, every class we have the same set of ideas, but there is more creativity involved,” Steans says about her school’s curriculum, which comes courtesy of the American Ballet Theatre.
Steans says the American Ballet Theatre sets the standard for the nation in many ways, especially with its example of inclusivity.
It's something Steans tries to replicate in San Antonio.
"In San Antonio, I think that we could work to make those examples happen for the children so that they see people who look like them who are involved in dance and ballet," she says.
Like most small businesses, the San Antonio Ballet School was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
Before COVID-19, the school had roughly 200 students, a number they're slowly building back up to.
According to Steans, it's a goal made possible with unwavering support from her students and their families.
“I have an amazing group of parents and kids alike who have believed in my crazy dream and go along with all of my crazy plans, and I feel really blessed for that,” she said.