October 1973…I remember calling a private meeting to look at a vacant retail space located on the back side of a small, old-style strip mall in Rowland Heights. Adjacent to the bare 1,000 square foot building, was a Mexican fast-food drive-thru, a Singer sewing-machine repair, a Marine recruit facility, a Mexican supermarket, a 25-cent laundramat, The Corner Bar, and, a notorious adult-porno movie theatre. At the almost-age of 21, the narrow, sterile rectangular space immediately felt like home. I colorfully envisioned my name on the window, wall-to-wall ballet barres and a welcoming, spacious entryway for parents to observe their children. In less than a month, the walls were painted a stark, bright white, large vintage movie posters were hung, my Dad proudly stained and hung his wooden ballet barre creations, the black asbestos floors were decorated with white cut-out stars, and students were enrolling by the dozens!
I guess I never thought of how I was going to manage my new adventure along with taking 18-20 college units at Cal Poly while completing my Junior High Student-Teaching Credential at St. Martha’s Parochial School nearby. My prior commitments were nearly full-time, so how was I to fit in another thing that would demand my time and physical attention? The way I still approach day-to-day life, I guess I must have just breathed deeply and thought, “It will all work out”, and it absolutely did! The first week I opened my doors, I enrolled a few dozen excited youngsters, some who are over 40 years old today and still in my life. By the end of the first year, I had 150 students participate in my “Tap ‘n Toe by Miss Bobbi” First Annual Recital… I ordered a personal license plate, TapnToe, that today, is still proudly affixed to my truck! A year later, I changed the name of my studio to, “Miss Bobbi’s School Of Dance”, with a crudely hand-painted ballerina in tap shoes across my store- front window. Yiiikes…this studio thing was really catching on and within another year I was probably over 200 students.
Fast-forward 1975: A young man named David Dellos came into my life, a transplant from Ithaca College in New York who came to California to complete his MBA Degree at USC. Meeting him at my condominium complex was by far, the best thing that could have ever happened to me! For 2 ½ years I had run my dance studio as a single-woman business owner, and now a confident, intelligent and self-driven young man was eager to jump on board to support and encourage my every dream…he sure didn’t have a clue what he was getting himself into, but neither did I! The year 1976 brought our marriage and the change of studio name to, “The Dellos Studio”. 1977 welcomed our daughter, Dove, and 1979 our son, Davin, both who actively participated in the craziness and excitement that studio ownership brings. 1980 brought the expansion to a second studio location in Diamond Bar and the eventual purchase of, “The Original Dellos Studio”, consolidating all students under one roof in Walnut, still known today as, “The Home of the Dellos Dancers”. 2006 bridged The Dellos Studios to both The Chino Valley and The Central Coast, offering the opportunity to employ more instructors and train hundreds of students in various communities. With a current staff of over 30 versatile and multi-talented individuals, Dellos Studios has become an icon in the dance industry. With over 75 acts on Star Search and hundreds of successful dancers spread across the country on stage, video, film and television, the Dellos name has become synonymous with the word, ‘success’.
“Over the past 40-years I’ve never wanted to take even partial credit for the masses of past student- successes …those who have pursued careers in the dance and entertainment world, and others becoming dance studio owners like myself. But now that I just turned 60 and find myself personally reflecting every day on the impact that so many of my students have made on my life, I can clearly see how I must have made a similar impact on many hundreds of them. I have always encouraged my students to never give up, to follow their hearts and to not let obstacles stop them from achieving their goals. Finally, I am at the time in my life that I can acknowledge my presence in them, as theirs remains in me. It brings tears of happiness and closure, to be able to embrace a past student to say, “It is me who needs to thank you, for trusting and allowing me to make even the smallest difference in your lives at a time we both needed each other most! I am honored that so many of you have taken with you into your adult lives, the best gift I could have ever given you as my student… your studio ’nick-name’ that was intended to create a life-long, special bond between the two of us!” In the decades to come, Dellos Studios will continue its ‘on-going Legacy’ with every child that walks through their doors…
If you know anyone who is an Alumni dancer or instructor of Dellos Studios, please have them contact: www.dellosdance.com or firstname.lastname@example.org 2013 will offer a 40th year full of fun outings and events, culminating in a reunion party & showcase in early 2014. If you would like to become a special part of The Dellos Legacy, come join us at either So. Cal location for a FREE INTRODUCTORY CLASS of choice! Call or leave messages at: The Dellos Dance Connection, Chino Valley: 909-597-9370 or The Original Dellos-Walnut: 909-594-0228. Feel free to drop Bobbi Dellos a personal note @: email@example.com