This week I had the privilege of speaking with Lea King, Owner and Creative Director of Lakes Region Dance in Meredith, and Coach of the Plymouth State University Dance Team. Lea grew up in Goffstown and now lives in Bow with her family.
When I asked Lea why she decided to stay, work, and play in New Hampshire she said, “this was always an easy decision for me. Growing up I was super close to my family and never wanted to leave the state. I went to college at Plymouth State and was given the opportunity of a lifetime to take over Lakes Region Dance. This continued to make it easy to love where I live, work and play! It’s safe for me to say I am not a city girl, therefore everything about New Hampshire is perfect for me.” When Lea is not working, you can find her enjoying the many fabulous eating and drinking establishments the state has to offer. Her favorites include Hermit Woods Winer in Meredith, where you can get an amazing charcuterie board and glass of wine, Lemongrass in Moultonborough, where she absolutely loves the sushi, and eating chicken tenders at the Puritan Backroom Restaurant in Manchester.
Lea started teaching at Lakes Region Dance her junior year in college when she met the previous owner, Lenore Sousa. When Lenore wanted to leave the studio to start a family, the decision was easy for Lea to take it over. Her passion and drive were fabulous attributes. Lea has been the owner of the studio for over fifteen years now. The opportunity that was presented in college opened her eyes that you can do what you love, make a living, and make community – anything is possible!
Since taking over the studio, Lea has not only made a huge impact on the community, but she is an example for her students. Teaching that everyone has talents and gifts and you can use those gifts to give back to the community. Lakes Region Dance is a huge supporter for the American Red Cross. Since 2018, the dance studio has hosted blood drives twice a month, held over twenty-two drives, collected over 532 pints of blood – and saved up to 1,596 lives!! Additionally, Lakes Region Dance is also a huge supporter of the community fundraiser, Lakes Region Dancing with the Stars. Over the past ten years that Lea has judged the event, she has donated studio space for pairs to practice, and her dancers have been a part of the show. Lea and her dancers have also formed a great relationship with the Circle Program, a mentoring program for girls located in Plymouth. Her dancers have hosted fundraisers for the program, and enjoyed a beach day with the girls.
After a hurricane destroyed an area in the U.S Virgin Islands, Lea and her dancers helped to raise over $30,000 to bring a dance troupe to Meredith for an adventure of a lifetime! This friendship was more than they could ever imagine, and the dancers of Lakes Region Dance have since visited the U.S Virgin Islands to participate in beach cleanups, and volunteer at a donkey rescue. Lakes Region Dance also participates in the annual Lakes Region sock drive. Each year community members drop off pairs of socks at the studio to benefit local agencies serving neighbors suffering from homelessness.
Not only do these dancers have huge hearts but they have received the Gold Winner for “Best of the Lakes Region” in 2019, and Silver Winner for 2020. The competition team has earned MANY awards including top overall scores, choreography awards, studio excellence and more.
A few facts about Lakes Region Dance:
- They started in Moultonborough with two small studios and sixty dancers. After moving to Meredith four years ago, they had over 150 enrolled students!
- The competition team consists of fifty-three dancers.
- As a studio, they have risen above during this pandemic and have proven to show the community that they will keep dancing! They have dedicated these two videos to the greater Lakes Region community and the essential workers during these tough times.
“Good Job and Thank You” video
“Dream Big LRD” video
When I asked Lea, what advice she had for young professionals looking to give back she said:
The best feeling you can have is knowing you have done your part in giving back to the community in any way possible. This feeling is what drives me to share this with our dancers and families. You can always make a difference!”
“If you can dream it, you can do it!” Walt Disney
There are so many wonderful people and agencies making a difference in our own backyards!