When I started “A Study in Pink” I guess I thought I would be sharing the stories of women, highlighting different occupations, and maybe even inspiring someone out there to reach for a dream. I didn’t think it would challenge me so much, and maybe even change my own thinking about what I do. The more I talk to women though, the more I feel like that is exactly what’s been happening. Maybe even more so when I met the latest entrant in this series, Patricia Diaz of P.A.T.Y’Studio.
No that is not a typo, but both a play on her name and her mission through “praise, arts, talent, youth”. I had actually met Paty before, at West Hills College where she was working in the child development center and attending classes. That was back in 2008, and while she shared a little of her idea with me that day, I knew I wanted to talk to her again, and see where that idea had taken her.
Dance has been a part of her life since she was young, but when she was about nineteen
the focus changed. She attended a summer intensive in Mississippi, put on by Ballet Magnificat. During the Friday night session, where the girls were encouraged to improvise, she felt that God was telling her what He wanted her to do. “You will teach about Me through the art of dance” she told me. Now she wasn’t totally new to the thought of teaching dance, as she had been a volunteer teacher with city recreation and church programs since she was fourteen years old. Now though, the dance would be just a part of her studio concept. They would “not just teach them, but impact the children and their families” she told me. So in 2009, she opened her first studio in the Artesian building in Hanford. After a year and a half, they started looking for more space and thought they had it, but a series of mishaps caused her to not be able to rent the space, and in turn she started to rethink the idea of a dance studio.
It was during this time that she went and spent some time in the bay area. She started working, going to City College of San Francisco and most importantly, dancing. For a year she was able to live a dancer’s life, training for eight hours a day and dancing in a college troupe. It was during that year where she thought, “I’ll make something out of me as a dancer.” That was all going to change, when she got a phone call from her mother.
“That night changed my life again,” she told me. Her mother, who lives in Hanford, saw space up for rent. Paty knew that it would be the perfect place for a studio, but there was one problem. Her mother said that they could get the building, “but you have to make the decision now.” While she had been gone, she had heard from plenty of her previous students, wanting to know if she was ever going to open the studio again. So she had the students, but there was another factor that helped her decide. Her Co-Director, Ms. Savanna. Paty told me that she called Ms. Savanna and asked her one question, “are you going to be back on board?” When she got the yes she was looking for, Paty immediately got down to Hanford to get paperwork signed and the studio back in business.
P.A.T.Y’Studio has now been in the same location since 2011, but Paty is not resting on her laurels. This September, the studio partnered with the city of Avenal and the Avenal Theater, to bring dance and musical theater classes to the families in western Kings County. In 2015, she and her family started working on new studio space in the Cassidy Building in Downtown Hanford. When completed this new space will give them approximately 8,000 square feet to expand classes and provide much needed office space for the studio. And while she has other plans for both “competition and spirit teams to travel the world,” she also knows that whatever happens, the “blessing is from God.” For now, she is focused on making an impact on the lives of not only her students, but their families too. The studio does what it can to not only teach dance, but to help the students “build themselves from the inside” says Paty. They do that by encouraging participation in community events, including coat drives, socks for the homeless and canned food drives at Thanksgiving. The environment of the studio is one of family, and a place where everyone is made to feel welcome.
As I talked with Paty, she continued to give all the credit to God. “He continues to bless me,” she said. All the while, her family has been a major source of support in helping her attain her dreams. From moral support, to remodeling and to teaching her that “hard work pays off,” she credits them with a lot of her success. While the road has not always been smooth for the dance studio, and Paty will even admit that there has been bumps in the road, she believes that “in His timing, He will give you all you need and want.”
You can find P.A.T.Y’Studio on Facebook and on the web at www.patystudio.com.