Bella S., age 15
"The Pretenders Studio is more than a dance studio, it’s a community; a place you feel welcome and loved. The Studio allows for great development in dance technique and a safe space to try new things and be yourself. Growing up at the studio was one of the most beneficial things in my life. You’re taught to be yourself, strive to your greatest potential, and be open to the success and failure you experience through life. The Pretenders Studio encapsulates authentic dance education in a warm welcoming environment. The greatest staff makes up the heart of the program. Each teacher is there to help you feel your best and support you through your learning. There is no better dance community than this one.”
Tess R., age 13
The Pretender's Studio is about more than dance. It is about working to your goals. It is about having fun, and laughing. It is about the people and the community. We work hard in class, and our teachers push us to be our best dancers and our best selves, but we are given the freedom to talk, laugh, and have fun. With community service built into the dance curriculum, each dancer is able to contribute something special to the studio community and the world.
Cece C., recent graduate
"The first time I arrived, I noticed a palpable difference in the air…instead of encouraging competition and personal success, there was community and cooperation. From making a music video fundraising for wildfire relief, to creating instructional dance videos for hospitalized children during COVID-19, I grew beyond the focused world of life-on-pointe, to one of meaningful contribution to society.”
Zoe D., age 12
I've been at the studio for around 7 years, and never once have I had a bad day. The studio has not only been a safe place, but probably one of my favorite places and atmosphere's in the world. The studio is the way it is because Lisa truly cares about us and knows how hard things can be. She's always there for us. When I joined the studio, I really needed a place to feel safe. The studio was exactly that and more. I have formed relationships at the studio, not only with my now best friends, but with my teachers. At Pretenders, I've never felt uncomfortable to be myself. I know that my ideas will always be heard and my words will always be valued. The teachers are of course there to help us become better dancers, but they have taught me and helped me through so much more than just dance. The studio changed my life for the better and I am forever grateful for this environment being a part of my life.
Mia R., age 10
"At Pretenders we learn dance, but also life lessons. We are not just a group of friends; we are family."
Liv, R. age 6
"I love dancing and Miss Lisa. I have fun at Pretenders."
Mia F., age 16
At Pretender’s I have found my sisters and role models, who I always strived to be, until I became the big sister. Now I get the opportunity to be that figure for the group that will take my place, it's almost like a Pretender’s life cycle. I think that’s what makes this place so beautiful and magical. To call Pretender’s just a dance studio, is an extreme undercut. This place gave me somewhere to be silly, myself, and make mistakes without fear of the outside world. Pretender’s served as a safe place while I grew as a young girl.
Hannah M., age 16
I started dancing at a very late age, and had no idea what to expect. As I walked into The Pretenders Studio for the first time I was immediately greeted with smiles and friendly faces. In fact, it seemed too good to be true that this supportive environment both existed and welcomed me with open arms. No one cared that I, at first, had no knowledge of dance terminology and technique. To the Pretenders Studio all that mattered was that the dancers are enjoying themselves and are improving at their own pace. Dancers at the Pretenders Studio dance for the sake of dancing, and not to please anyone but themselves. It is a place for all potential dancers, regardless of their age, to find both a fresh start and a loving team behind them.
Jamee T. proud studio mom
“My daughter has been with The Pretenders Studio for 8 years. She has not only learned to dance—she has learned self confidence, self expression and how to be a meaningful contributor to her community…what a gift!”
Katie R., proud studio mom of 3
“Our daughters have trained at many studios on the Westside over the years, but none was ever quite right. When we found Pretenders we knew we were home -- in addition to receiving excellent technical dance training, our girls have been welcomed into the Pretenders extended family and a tight-knit community normally only found in small towns. Unlike most other studios, Pretenders doesn't rush girls to grow up too soon -- instead of focusing on competitions, make-up and negative body stereotypes, there is strong emphasis placed on giving back to the community, positive body image and development of the whole child. I love knowing that when they are at the studio my girls are in the care of such caring, smart and dedicated teachers.”
Laurie M., proud studio mom
My daughter's experience with Pretenders really began as a toddler watching her older sister dance! She has enjoyed dancing with the studio for over 6 years now. I've watched her evolve into not only a beautiful and expressive dancer but also a much more confident young woman. I attribute this all to the very safe and creative environment Lisa provides for these young dancers –wonderful group to be a part of!
Kathy C., proud studio mom
We love The Pretenders Studio because we love dancing, and we love making a difference! To be able to combine the two is an amazing way to guide, engage and empower our youth to achieve new goals and climb to new heights. Thank you to our Pretenders family!
Maya L., proud studio mom
Ms. Lisa and the teachers at The Pretenders taught my daughter that dance is joy! Their philosophy of inclusion and unending support for the students is a gift that we will always cherish.
Nancy S. - proud studio mom
“Lisa Gumenick and The Pretender’s Studio family have provided my daughters with much more than just “a place to dance”. Their motto is “Dance for a Difference”. Values are taught there: compassion, character, love, acceptance, hard work, dedication, kindness and charity.”
Carey L. - proud studio mom
My daughter and her best friend signed up for a tap class at The Pretenders Studio 3 years ago and we have been going there ever since. It is such warm, wonderful place where kids are made to feel welcome and included from the first day. Lisa owns the studio and many if not all of her family are involved in the business, so there is a lovely family atmosphere there. The teachers are top notch--so professional and talented. I feel so lucky we found this place. We look forward to each performance and to their summer sessions. I always feel like my daughter is well cared for there and she really enjoys their fun classes. We have had a terrific experience there, and I feel like being a part of The Pretenders Studio has been wonderful for my daughter.
Bailey F. - proud studio mom
“In this society of crazy body images for teen girls, My daughter has found her self in her body. She thrives in this community and realizes self expression in a safe, loving, creative space."
Francie C. - proud studio mom
“There’s no more important community to our daughter than the passionate, open hearted, and creative group of women and girls at Pretenders studio. It’s a warm and safe place for growth and artistic development. And as the only girl of three kids, she is able to experience the joys of sisterhood.”
Noa E. - proud studio mom
The Pretenders Studio is The. Most. Incredible. Dance. Studio. Ever!!! My girls have been attending classes for the last four years and they love it. They have learned all different dance styles and have had fantastic, caring, teachers who instill a love of dance and a sense of confidence. I always have a smile on my face when I walk into the studio and feel the warmth of the staff. Lisa is an accomplished choreographer, runs a very smooth business and is a huge asset to the community through all of her philanthropic endeavors. The kids raise a lot of money for various charities and that really gives them a feeling that they are contributing to society by doing something they love. The recitals are always a blast and the costumes are worn long after the performances are over. I will always be grateful for the positive influence my girls have gotten by taking classes at The Pretenders.