Sharon (Oliver) Fernandes has a passion for dance. So much so, that she’s been educating dancers in the SouthCoast since 1992 at I’ve Got Rhythm Dance Center, Inc. At I’ve Got Rhythm, Sharon offers recreational dance classes and a variety of other programs in a creative and comfortable environment for children and adults.
Sharon is the President and Director of I’ve Got Rhythm and she’s been a client of Phillips Garcia Law for years. I had the pleasure of catching up with Sharon on a recent Saturday morning at the Center to ask her about her business experiences in the world of dance on the SouthCoast.
What got you started in I’ve Got Rhythm?
I established I’ve Got Rhythm in September of 1992, because of my passion for dance. I started dancing when I was 8 years old, almost 40 yrs ago and haven’t stopped. I simply wanted to share my love of dance with others, especially children.
Every business owner usually gets much satisfaction from their job, but what are some of the highlights for you of owning I’ve Got Rhythm?
There’ve been many highlights over the years, but one that is consistent year after year is the excitement and pride the students show when they perform on stage. There is nothing like seeing the glow of confidence in a child’s eyes when they are performing, and knowing that you have helped them get it. Everyday is a highlight when a child struggles with a step, you help them, and then the next week they come in all excited and can’t wait to show you that THEY GOT IT!!! It’s an amazing feeling. Or, when a 3 year old comes up to me in the middle of class, taps me on the shoulder and says, “Miss Sharon I got a secret,” and then whispers in my ear “I Love you.” [Pause] Well, I could go on and on….
Do you enjoy being in business for yourself?
Yes. I like being in business for myself because, it is all mine and I don’t have anyone telling me what to do or when to do it. I like the flexibility of being able take an idea and create it into a program. I like the satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment that comes with owning a successful business. I like the respect that I get from other business owners and the feeling of camaraderie with them.
All business owners face challenges. What have some of yours been through the years?
Challenges, there have been many in the last 19 years In the beginning I think the hardest was learning how to manage my time between “the business” and my family. My first year in business, I had a 4 yr old and became pregnant. Talk about challenges! My best advice would be to put yourself on a schedule just like the other employees. Do not take work home or home to work. Keep it separate as much as possible.
How has Phillips & Garcia been able to help you?
Making my business a corporation was another personal goal I had set for myself. I wanted to keep my personal assets and liabilities separate from the business. For me it has been so much easier to do this by being incorporated. I remember the day I got my corporate book and stamp. What an ego boost!
Tell us a little about your programming at I’ve Got Rhythm.
Our school year basically runs the same as academic schools. Our classes begin in September and end with our annual performance in June. Tuition is paid monthly. Enrollment for fall is usually in August at our open house. We also have registration on line. It is best if students begin in September, but we do our best to accommodate students who register in Oct/Nov.
We do offer a short summer program typically either in July and or August for 3 weeks only, 2 classes per week, total 6 lessons. We have on going registration for that beginning in May.
I know that there must be some way to highlight the dancers’ skills to the public?
Oh yes, our annual recital will be at Keith Middle School in New Bedford on June 25th. Info will be on our web site soon.
Do you offer any special promotions that you’d like to share with us?
We do have an introductory offer in September for New Students. It’s a reduced tuition rate for the first 3 months (currently for 2011 it’s only $49/month). What’s so wonderful, though, is that most parents are fine with the regular tuition rate after 3 months, once they see the care and quality dance education their child receives at I’ve Got Rhythm.
I’ve Got Rhythm Dance Center is located at 331J State Road (Route 6), North Dartmouth, MA (across from the North Dartmouth Mall) and can be reached at (508) 999-2994 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. And for more information about their wonderful programs, check out their website at www.igrdancecenter.com. Also, you can find Sharon and IGRDC on Facebook!