APA in the News!

Cary Living

Taking all the right steps By Kurt Dusterberg

When Hillary Parnell recalls the early days of the Academy for the Performing Arts, she does so with a sense of amusement. Back in 2001, she was 21 years old, fresh out of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and working an advertising job in Atlanta. But when the agency went under during the dot-com bubble, she quickly found herself back in her parents’ home in Cary.

A few days later, she was all-in on her next move: opening a dance studio. “I think I was naive enough to not know how scary that should be,” Parnell says. “I was a sheltered kid. I had never paid bills. I was still on my dad’s cell phone plan.” READ MORE


LOCAL STORIES SEPTEMBER 1, 2021 Meet Hillary Parnell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hillary Parnell. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?

Although I grew up dancing and spent most of my childhood in a dance studio, I actually went to college with the intent of becoming a pediatric dentist. But after receiving my BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I realized that wouldn’t be the best fit. Instead, I took a job in advertising to… READ MORE

Meet Hillary Parnell JUN 2, 2021
Hillary Parnell founder, Academy for the Performing Arts

“Our driving force is knowing that the work we do with our dancers is so much more than teaching dance.” 

An Introduction: In addition to owning the Academy for the Performing Arts and Preschool for the Arts for the past 20 years, I am also an author, growth coach and consultant for the Dance Studio Owners Association, where I provide business advice to over a thousand dance studio owners. Through this program and other training courses I’ve developed, I help entrepreneurs… READ MORE

Celebrating International Dance Day Apr 29, 2021


Academy for the Performing Arts in Apex is celebrating!



Posted: Dec 18, 2020 / 03:29 PM EST / Updated: Dec 18, 2020 / 03:29 PM EST

APA Dance performers show Adriana Davalos new dance moves for the holidays!


Competitive dancer goes from Apex to study in London
By Joe Mazur
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) — Apex graduate Megan Bader started her college career with two weeks of quarantine and is now bracing for lockdown in London. Thankfully, the competitive dancer can work on her craft anywhere, even in COVID-19 times.

When the family relocated from Maryland to Apex, the nearly 4-year-old Megan was sure of one thing. She didn’t want to miss her dance recital… READ MORE

Apex dance studio takes classes outside
Tags: coronavirus, dance, children’s activities, theater
Posted October 19, 2020 6:58 p.m. EDT
By Sarah Lindenfeld Hall, Go Ask Mom editor

APEX, N.C. — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, an Apex dance studio got creative as it sought to continue its dance and theater programs for kids and teens. It’s taken them outside.

The Academy for the Performing Arts has built an outdoor classroom. The covered classroom is equipped with a dance floor and has enough space to hold a class for up to 25 people while social distancing. Industrial fans and heaters will help to moderate the temperature though participants are… READ MORE

Notable Teens: These Three Have Bright Futures

Megan Bader Written by Alexandra Blazevich

AUG 3, 2020

Many girls have an old photo of themselves, wearing a pink leotard and tutu, ready for their first ballet recital.

For many, that’s the start and end of their dance career. For Megan Bader, it was only the beginning.

Bader’s mother had noticed her two-year-old loved to keep moving, so she signed Bader up for classes at a local dance studio. Now, as a 2020 Apex Friendship High School… READ MORE

Apex daddy-daughter dance goes virtual for this years Father’s Day
By Bridget Condon
Sunday, June 21, 2020

APEX, N.C. (WTVD) — Typically, every year around this time the Academy for the Performing Arts in Apex holds its end of the year recital which always features a special daddy-daughter dance.

“Our recital actually is almost always on Father’s Day weekend when we normally have it,” said the owner of the studio Hillary Parnell. “That’s kind of a nice way to say, ‘sorry you have to be here but you get to dance’ and we kind of dedicate that part of the show to them. READ MORE

How Studios Are Adapting—and Excelling—in Hard Times
by Rachel Rizzuto Posted on April 15, 2020

As COVID-19 continues to disrupt daily life in new ways, studio businesses are evolving often and rapidly. The results are heartening.

Young girl in dance dress looking at computer where dance class is being broadcast.
Sacramento Ballet began offering online dance classes via Zoom on April 1. Courtesy of Sacramento Ballet
On Wednesday, March 11—two weeks ahead of a statewide stay-at-home mandate—Colorado Conservatory of Dance executive director Richard Cowden and artistic director… READ MORE

studio owners | teaching tips
Ways to Creatively Adapt and Retain Revenue When Moving Your Curricula Online
April 3, 2020

“Keeping agile” has taken on a whole new meaning for every studio owner and dance instructor since the COVID-19 pandemic temporarily shuttered studio doors for safety’s sake in March. Now is the time to show parents how you bring normalcy and positivity to their children’s lives so you can retain tuition revenue until your doors reopen for business as usual.
Relearning Classroom Time Management
Without question, it’s difficult teaching… READ MORE