Chasta Hamilton Calhoun is the busy woman behind Stage Door Dance Productions in Raleigh, North Carolina. She oversees her studios and satellite programs, choreographs musical theater pieces and runs The Dance Exec blog and seminar series, yet still finds time to give back to the local community with the help of her students. Calhoun explained that her passion for the arts and dedication to service led her to where she is today.
The Story Behind Stage Door Dance Productions
When Calhoun was attending North Carolina State University, she planned to pursue a career as an attorney. Her aspirations were to become a successful businesswoman, and she thought that law was the way to go. However, throughout her time at school, she came to realize that it might be worthwhile to follow her true passion: dance.
“You can be a successful career person in the arts just as much as you can as an attorney, a doctor or an engineer – the other more ‘traditional’ paths,” Calhoun explained. “I stuck with my passion and it really paid off.”
With the help of her now husband, Calhoun opened the first Stage Door Dance Productions studio in 2009. Since then she’s expanded to a second location and also founded two satellite programs at the Carolina Country Club and the North Hills Club. Overall, she and her staff of 10 work with around 500 students between the ages of 2 and 18, teaching all genres of dance, from ballet to tap to acrobatics.
Becoming a Community Staple
Since day one, Calhoun has made community service an integral part of Stage Door Dance studios. In college, she founded the Sightless Rhythm Tap Project at The Governor Morehead School for the Blind. Calhoun tries to instill a spirit of giving in her students by organizing service projects at community events.
“It’s such an important part of a person’s character to recognize the value of service and giving back,” Calhoun explained. “That’s why we try to weave it into studio opportunities.”
Students from Stage Door Dance perform at community events such as the Relay For Life and the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade. They hold fundraisers and drives in the studio to support both local and national causes, as well as participate in numerous other outreach programs. Calhoun’s inspiring mission has caught the attention of a number of institutions, and she was awarded the Goodman Leadership Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2012 and the 40 Under 40 Award in 2014. She’s beyond grateful for the recognition, but even happier to see the arts take the spotlight.
“It was so exciting to see that kind of recognition being handed out in the area of the arts because a lot of times it gets pigeonholed to more ‘traditional’ career fields,” Calhoun said.
Working with TutuTix
One of Calhoun’s side projects – the Dance Exec blog – was the reason she discovered TutuTix’s online ticketing solutions. She originally used the service to sell seats for seminars hosted by The Dance Exec, but quickly decided it would be a worthwhile venture for Stage Door Dance’s recital ticketing as well.
“When we made that transition, I have to say that I would never in a million years go back to the way we were doing ticketing before,” Calhoun noted. “It’s progressive, it’s easy and their support is just unbelievable.”
Calhoun explained that when she uses TutuTix, it’s a serious burden off her shoulders when recital season arrives. She knows that her ticketing will be taken care of with TutuTix, so she can focus on the other aspects of planning and executing an amazing recital for her dancers.