Tricia Wood prefers to move forward in life and not look back. Even though Power House of Dance, the studio she taught at for 17 years, unexpectedly closed recently, she doesn't spend a lot of time discussing her thoughts and feelings about its closure. That's not making light of the studio, as it was a massively popular place for students of all ages.
Wood asked to not go on record about what led to her departure or what ended the studio. Instead, she is happy to talk about how she's a part of a new dance program at Farmers Branch-based Rogue Athletics, Gymnastics & Cheer. The 5-year-old company had been known mainly for competitive cheerleading, gymnastics, and tumbling. Now, for the first time in DFW in recent memory, there is a major studio that does cheer, tumbling and dance.
“It’s a challenge,” Wood says. “I’m not afraid of a challenge. That excites me. Implementing and building something from the bottom up, I think is awesome.”
Dancing has been with her almost all of her life, starting at age 5. She was born in Staten Island and raised in the San Diego area, and that's where she began her journey.
“Although my mom is an amazing tap teacher, my parents put me in dance because I was a super hyper kid and thought dance would calm me down,” she says. “They just didn’t believe in meds.”
As she got older, she became interested in teaching dance. When better opportunities to teach were in Dallas, she came here in 1997.
“A friend of mine ... told me there are some great dance studios in Dallas that I should look at to teach,” she says.
The owner of Power House had heard about Wood and contacted her about teaching at the studio. They met and hit it off, and Wood started teaching there in 2001. She was first the director of the ballet program and then became the director of the Power Squad program. Seven years in, she implemented the Intermediate Performing Company, which became a calling card for Wood and Power House. Over the course of her time at the studio, she was often cited by many people as the backbone of the place.
Power House of Dance had been one of the most recognized studios in North Texas with their Dallas and Frisco locations. Even people who had no clue about the studios around here were at least aware of the name, given how the sign for the Dallas location could be seen from the Dallas North Tollway.
Despite being an award-winning studio with a long list of success stories that spanned decades, the power in Power House unceremoniously went off as summer turned to fall this year. It’s too early to say exactly why the studio closed, as there are legal matters being sorted out right now. But it's no secret the Dallas location closed its doors and had a temporary location for a while for the fall semester before shutting down for good. All of their students — including those at the Frisco location — had to find somewhere else and fast.
Wood left Power House on the first day of October. She wanted to keep teaching and didn't ever consider retiring. She didn't know where she would go next, though.
“My passion has always been teaching children the love of dance,” she says. “It’s an art. It’s a gift. It’s a passion of mine and it’s been my purpose teaching a child to have self-confidence and believing in themselves. It’s a big deal to me, especially kids that are ‘underdogs,’ where they might not have [an ability] for natural rhythm and coordination.”
Eight days after her departure, she was contacted by Bob Whitlock, a co-owner at Rogue, whom she had never met. She knew of the place, as many of her Power House students went there for tumbling classes. He heard about Power House’s closing and approached her about starting a dance studio at Rogue.
Now that things are ramping up with her new gig, Wood says she knows what she wants to do (and not do). She has her sights on spring 2019, when auditions for recreational and competitive dance teams will happen.
“What I really took away from that entire situation is how important it is, if you are a leader, to step up and be a leader," she says. "Have that backbone. Commit 150 percent to what you are doing, what you want and how you want either a business or program to be. In my opinion, the number one thing over everything is communication. If you don’t have any communication, you don’t have anything.”
Rather than being bitter and angry about what happened at Power House, she looks ahead.
“This is a super exciting chapter in my life that I am ready for," she says, "and blessed to be given the opportunity”
We reached out to Power House of Dance and will update when we hear back.