We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeni Kemper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeni, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Just like Nike says “Just Do It!” was the thought process behind Kemper Dance Academy. I was a single mom at the time and trying to figure out what to do after having a performance career. When I was younger, I never knew there was a life after high school in dance. I had wonderful teachers who helped me find the love for dance but never had the knowledge for what came after high school. Once I figured it out on my own, I was upset that I never was shown or even taught that dance could help me through college on a full ride scholarship (thank you dance department at the University of Arizona), I could travel the world on a cruise ship and dance company or that I could make it part of my adult life. I love to teach and inspire younger dancers which brought me to the thought process of opening a dance studio in Colorado Springs. I wanted to help the younger generation understand that you can use dance in all ways. It will train you for the real world even if you aren’t dancing physically. I wanted to make a space for the younger generation to feel comfortable learning, loving and being themselves while trying to figure out what they wanted to be. My alumni has gone out and done amazing things like graduating college, write books, dance with some big named celebrities, started their own families and businesses. I am so proud of what I have started and created at Kemper Dance Academy.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Kemper Dance Academy was built off $10 in my pocket and a drive like no other. I always strived to be the best and knew I was the best. Love, support and amazing people who believed in the business and me was what kept it going through the tough times. It was not easy and when you deal with families and children sometimes it makes it harder. KDA and myself always overcame the tough times and came out stronger. The pandemic was (and still is) the hardest obstacle to overcome. The unknown was very scary but we are still standing and fighting our way through. The pandemic has taught us some amazing things that we will still carry over to the future but it was a HUGE learning tool. I am so thankful for all the families and KDA staff who stuck through it with KDA and me.
Kemper is family and you will always be family once you step through the doors. We have dancers who have moved, graduated or left for reasons of their own but always come back for dance showcases, pop into a class every once in while or just stop by to say hi. Dance Showcase are the best part of our year because all the alumni come back to cheer on KDA family and hang out backstage with us. I love it! When you become family, there are many challenged that you face because everything becomes personable. Feelings get hurt easier, word filters are thinner because you are more comfortable with each other and let’s just put it on the table all the different personalities in one roof can make it a little more crazy but at the end of the day we all manage to find love and support for each other. We will help when a new baby is born, cars don’t start or your whole world gets turned upside down. Along with the amazing training, guest teachers the studio brings in every year and top overall awards from dance competitions and conventions, I am proud of the space we have created for these dancers and families. Kemper is family and you will always be family once you step through the doors.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Colorado Springs is the place for EVERYTHING! The Garden of the God is one of my favorite outdoor places to visit. They have beautiful hiking/biking trails and the best scenic drive with stops to walk up the beautiful rocks and take in the gorgeous scenic views. Manitou Springs would be the next stop with amazing mom and pop shops, yummy food and penny arcade that is fun for all ages. Downtown Colorado Springs is a full day excursion and not one to miss. They have re-created our downtown and it somethings to be proud of. They have awesome boutiques and shops to visit and walk around. Amazing food and brewers for every tastebud in your mouth and stuff to do for the kiddos to run out their energy.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My Mom & Dad. I know it so cliche to shoutout to them but they are seriously my rock through this whole thing. They were my ears to listen, my devils advocate when I needed it and the constant “you can do this” push when all I wanted to do was to give up. They have always been this way growing up and because of that I am the person I am today. They let me fall when I needed to fall but was the hand to help me back up when I needed it. They are my BIGGEST cheerleaders and fan in the audience and on the sidelines. They are seriously my rocks through everything I do and I appreciate them so much. Thank you Mom & Dad!
Carmen & Judah Morales with JCM Photography