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Final Bow performance at UWO Fox Cities celebrates 10 years of joy, love at closing studio Inclusion Dance

little ballerina sits posed for Final Bow performance
Posted at 9:51 AM, May 13, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-13 10:51:44-04

MENASHA (NBC 26) — Carla Hales is the owner of Inclusion Dance, a studio that's been spreading the principles of patience, empowerment, acceptance, compassion and empathy — or PEACE — to young dancers for a decade.

But after 10 years, Hales made the difficult decision to close her doors for good.

"It feels like a lot. It feels like everything. It feels freeing, and it also feels a little sad," Hales said.

Before Inclusion Dance officially closes, Hales' current students have one more performance date. So, Hales invited her whole community to come celebrate the years of joy and love for dancing together at UWO Fox Cities theatre. Appropriately, the show is called Final Bow.

The Final Bow dances will represent the end of a very sentimental decade.

The show opens with a dance that Hales choreographed, inspired by her dear friend Matt, whose recent death was a factor in Hales' decision to step back from small business ownership.

Hales has watched many of her students grow from children into adults.

"I have dancers that will be taking the stage on Saturday for their final time as a senior that I've had since they were kindergarteners. So, I've watched them lose their first tooth, and then drive here," Hales said.

Many of Hales' former dancers have also been invited to come on Saturday. After the last dance of the day, they can come onstage and take a bow together, as one dance family, one final time.

Hales hopes her community will come out to support these dancers who she's watched grow up.

“Anyone is welcome to come and watch us dance one more time together,” Hales said. "I'm hoping that maybe someone sees this and thinks, ‘oh, I've got an hour and a half to spare on Saturday. I want to go and see what this place was all about.’”

So, what was Inclusion Dance all about?

“This place was about joy. And this place was about love and acceptance. And doing that while learning some really great technique, and having a lot of fun and building friendships between kids that, they might not have known each other if they hadn't come here," Hales said.

The closing of this chapter is bittersweet, but it's just the beginning of a whole new story in Hales' life.

"I never thought in a million years that I would have the capacity or the bravery to run a business. But I did it, and I did it well. And now I'm ready to do something else."

Final Bow is taking place at UWO Fox Cities Communication Arts Center, at 1 p.m. and at 5 p.m. Tickets cost $15 cash at the door.