For Aspen Tufares, dance is a way of life. Always has been. “It helped me through tough times and gave me a physical outlet that has helped me tremendously on my path to wellness,” she said.
Born and raised in the Camas-Washougal area, Aspen found dance to be one of the most influential parts of her life and she knew that it was going to be an integral part of her business acumen. Six years ago, she started Dance Evolution in Washougal, knowing that she wanted to share her love of music and dance, and to teach people how it can heal, how it transforms, and how it strengthens the mind and body. “I believe that so many people struggle with depression, anxiety and low self esteem,” she said. “This is where we can meet the challenges head on.”
Now located in downtown Camas, the Fourth Avenue location had that “quaint, beautiful, small town feel that I thought would be the perfect place for my business,” she said. “I actually get to go to work everyday and do something I truly love.”
There were challenges in the beginning she said, namely making the move from Washougal to Camas that first year, and “pretty much starting over from scratch. It was definitely a huge hurdle in the beginning.”
But through the strength of her clientele, Aspen said Dance Evolution found its main ingredient … positive energy. “Happiness and smiling are one of the ‘side effects’ of dance. There is nothing better than a little ballerina, teen hip hop dancer or adult Zumba queen walking out the door with a smile on their face. We build a rapport with our customers, and do it dancing alongside them! We move together, sing together, grow together.”
In a short five years, they have seen the Dance Evolution business grow with Evolutions Preschool, bringing more and more young people into the exciting world of dance. And with this kind of energy downtown, Aspen said, “It’s always fun to have tourists and visitors pop their head into our studio, because they hear the loud music and want to check out the fun and action.”
At Dance Evolution, that fun and action are the primary directive … “our goals are to provide high-quality dance classes to children and adults in a non-competitive, fun environment,” Aspen said. And they offer a range of affordable, diverse classes for every member of the family at any dance and fitness level. “We believe that the arts enrich the life of the student and family and build community through cultural awareness and acceptance.”