Young daughter prepping to fill mother’s shoes

Bella Moulton was almost literally born a dancer. Her mother, Trish, taught and danced until a week before she gave birth.

Now, the 8-year-old is always moving, whether in class at her mom’s studio, or on her own – and she even choreographs some of her own routines (hip hop is her favorite).

And when she grows up? She wants to be just like mom, a successful dance instructor.

Watching her daughter come into her own as a dancer gives Moulton “total joy,” she said.

If there’s such a thing as a dance gene, it runs in this family.

Moulton, 35, owner and director of the Dance Studio of Maine in Gorham, began classes in jazz at age 12 in her native New York. By 18, she was teaching, and even at that young age, she said, “I knew that I would own my own school one day.”

It wasn’t long before she did.

In 2001, at age 24, she took over ownership of the Dance Studio of Maine, where she teaches classes for a wide range of students (age 2 to 70-plus).

Bella, meanwhile, started her own classes at 21?2 (beyond all that training she got in the womb). Now, she’s on a competitive dance team, spends most afternoons – even when she isn’t in class – at the studio, and has begun putting together her own moves.

“As an 8-year-old, she is already doing her own choreography,” her mother said. “That tells me she is taking another step in her dancing and creating her own work.”

And what do the two do when they aren’t at the studio? They dance at home together.

“That’s when it’s the best,” said Moulton. “She has all my attention just on her.”

And mom, for her part, never stops her own learning. She trained for years in New York City before moving to Maine, and returns there a few times a year for instruction on new styles and moves, because, as she noted, “dance is always evolving.”

But one of her greatest training grounds? The nightclub.

Going out with her friends and dancing has provided a great example of how people can just feel music, moving to it without choreography.

“It’s an amazing way to see how different people are affected by the same music,” she said.

And today, watching her students keeps her love of dance alive.

“It is the best feeling,” she said, “when you see how much they can accomplish, and the pride they show when they realize how great they have done.”

It’s a feeling Bella tells her she hopes to share one day. She’s always asking when she’ll be taking over the studio.

And mom never dissuades her – she aims to instill in her daughter “confidence, work ethic, motivation, and compassion.”

“I strive to show Bella that women can do anything,” said Moulton, “and to empower her with a positive attitude.”

And this Mother’s Day, that just might be the best gift a mom can get.

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Bella Moulton, 8, is a dancer like her mother Trish, and one day hopes to take over her mother’s business, Dance Studio of Maine.    

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