Dean / Black School of Performing Arts – Sandra Black

Sandra Black is the owner of the Dean / Black School of Performing Arts, located on Northgate Drive in Midland. She and her five employees provide dance lessons in ballet, jazz, tap dance, hip-hop, creative and contemporary movement. They also offer technique courses. Their students range from the age of 3 to a woman of 70.

Black graduated from Midland High. She attended Western Michigan University, then transferred to Wayne State, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in dance education. She was a member of the dance company there.

Black has been married for 23 years to Bradley Hoppe, who works in web analytics. They have a son, Alex, who also teaches at the school. He and his wife, Rochelle, have a daughter.

1. How long have you owned your business?

I’ve owned it since 2002. My mom (Gloria Dean) and I worked together. It was his business and I took him over after his retirement. She began teaching in 1961 at the Dean School of Ballet. She taught away from home. I lived in the Detroit area and drove here to teach. In the early nineties we spoke to the Bennett’s about a building construction. We were the first company to be built on Northgate.

2. What made you decide to own this business?

I have danced most of my life. It has always brought me a lot of joy. I really enjoyed teaching, doing choreography and directing shows. I did this in high school, then I went to Western and Wayne State. I discovered that my niche was teaching kids.

3. What makes Midland a great place to own a business?

Midland itself is a nice town to raise a family. Large public and parish schools. It’s nice to be able to offer dance lessons here. We also have a dance company. The dance offers great stability. You can take it in your later years, discipline and camaraderie. We are also very fortunate to have the Center des arts, a huge asset.

4. In what ways is your business active in the local community?

We contribute to fundraising. Also do a lot of fundraising for our own students. Help pay for contest entry fees and costumes. We help churches with their fundraisers. We contribute to the Open Door for every public holiday. Very involved in other things. I am the president of the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. (We) provide training for teachers and students. When the students cannot afford to leave, we bring the teachers here. We offer scholarships to students who cannot afford them.

5. What are some of your interests and hobbies?

I have always loved fashion. In my spare time, I like to read. I no longer ski but I accompany my husband when he does. We love to travel. I will start to do this more. Plan to go to New York to see Christmas shows. I haven’t seen a Broadway show for a few years. Also watch my 3 year old granddaughter. She has just started dancing.

6. What local businesses do you work with that contribute to the success of your business?

We send our students and their families to businesses owned by parents of other students, like Lanny’s. Our son helped them when their restaurant was flooded in Sanford. Their daughter is dancing here. We try to focus on the local. We have to help everyone to be successful. We work with Hannah’s Flowers. For children who cannot afford to dance, we try to help them raise funds. We had a big order of costumes for an upcoming performance in January. To have a nice set of parents who put things together. I am grateful to them.

7. Final thoughts to share with the community?

I really want to thank parents, students and the community during the COVID shutdown. My husband, son and daughter-in-law helped me set up Zoom during this. We were also able to do summer classes outside in the parking lot. I truly believe that if the parents and the community hadn’t been behind us, we wouldn’t be where we are now.

About Madeline J. Carter

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