Russian Time Magazine

Balance Dance Project in Tahoe Park aims to make dance more accessible to all youth

Heath Singleteary, center, is the founder of Balance Dance Project in Sacramento’s Tahoe Park neighborhood. (Photo by Nick Shockey)

In Sacramento’s tree-laden Tahoe Park neighborhood, Heather Singleteary is teaching the next generation of dancers. A single mom, lithe and lively, she launched the nonprofit Balance Dance Project just before the pandemic struck and changed things in ways big and small

“I was beginning the journey of keeping my prior studio alive but on my own,” Singleteary says. She had previously co-helmed the BlyueRose Dance Project in Oak Park with twin sister, Holly. The duo of working women had danced jazz, ballet, salsa and modern since the age of six.

But teaching dance to local youth as people sheltered in place “was scary and unpredictable,” Singleteary says. “I knew an artistic outlet was still necessary during these times and the world was looking for balance. My daughter said that and it stuck. She said we need “balance in everything, and your studio should represent just that.”

Balance Dance Project teachers labor for next to nothing, Singleteary says. Call it altruism to the community. The nonprofit has a mission to “make dance accessible to all” — a critical need considering participation in sports and other physical activities among low-income youth is far less than their affluent peers. The New York Times reports that: “Across the country, poor children and adolescents are participating far less in sports and fitness activities than more affluent youngsters are.”