Dancers and families help Chesapeake dance studio reopen after Matthew

Posted at 10:19 PM, Nov 10, 2016

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - Copeland Mills School of the Arts, a dance studio with young performers who put on shows at Walt Disney World was shut down after Hurricane Matthew damaged the studio.

The dance community stepped up and took action to help the studio open back up, in just one week.

Copeland Mills School of the Arts has been open for 27 years. The owner and director Dianne Adcock opened the school so both children and adults could learn about the arts. But dancers there learn more than just how to be graceful and poised.

"We've had dancers to become veterinarians. We have a dancer trying her best to be a Rockette. We've had dancers move on to Disney World and perform for the world there," said Rebecca Parsons. She said when the studio first opened their doors in 1990, she was one of the first students to walk in.

Samantha Miller said she started dancing at the studio when she was 8-years-old. She met her best friend there. "Things do change, but the one thing that does not change is the sense of teamwork, community and family."

But 27 years of arabesques became six inches of water. The studio was flooded and one of the dance floors became unusable after Matthew tore through.

"Walking in the next day it was heartbreaking. Because you look at it and you think what are we going to do? How are we going to recover from this? We have to teach dance!" said Parsons.

That's when the Copeland Mills dance family took action to help.

"We had shop vacs, we were sucking up all the excess water. We ripped up floors, dried them out, laid them back down," said Miller.

In just one week, dancers were floating across the floors once again.

"It was amazing and completely humbling. It actually makes me a little emotional now talking about it," said Parsons.

The school is on the upper track and dancers are perfecting their routine for the Grand Illumination Parade in downtown Norfolk.