Studio History

 Our Mission:

The Academy of Performing Arts' mission is to provide a positive, self-esteem building, and highly effective dance and performing art educational experience. APA presents a learning environment that offers outstanding technical training, in a nurturing, and creative manner. The APA philosophy is that dance and art can enhance every person's life, the very young child who is just beginning to explore his/her surroundings, the physically and mentally gifted child who wishes a professional dance career, the recreational dancer, who wishes to learn new things, or an adult who wants to put a spring in their step and rekindle some skills. APA welcomes all bodies, all ages, all visionary people who wish to expand their horizons, awaken some passion and appreciation for dance and the performing arts.

Our Story:

When owner and director of the Academy of Performing Arts, Deborah Skinner, first relocated to Tracy, she had a young family and a long commute to the Bay Area. Having already been dancing, teaching and choreographing over the hill for 20 years, Deborah knew the impact that dance can have, when taught in a sensitive, scientific and caring manner. She wished to share that impact within her new community as well as work in the city her young sons were growing. Consequently, in 1991 she began a creative dance movement class at St Paul's Preschool. She also answered a classified ad placed by the city of Tracy's Park and Recreation Program. Mrs. Skinner was hired and the very first seedlings of the Academy of Performing Arts was planted. That first ballet class began with 3 students and met for one hour on Friday afternoons. APA currently offers over 75 classes a week, and has an enrollment of around 700. As the program grew it became an entity of its own. The program grew so large that it became necessary to make an amicable separation from the City. So after several moves to new locations (Joe Wilson on Adams Street, Tracy Park's and Community Services facility on East Street and to the West Valley Mall); it became necessary become an independent business owner. Hence, The Skinner Moving Co./ APA was born.

In the time between 1993 and to the present, many programs are housed in the APA facility. The Children's Dance Theatre began with 15 students and performed 2 major productions a year. CDT would seek out makeshift places to perform, small spaces with no lighting or sound equipment. For the 2007 production of The Nutcracker, CDT is ecstatic to say we had 84 dancers, a lavish set, beautiful custom made costumes and were able to perform in the beautiful new Grand Theater. And we earned the right to proudly say CDT was the very first theater/ performing art group (community or professional) that was able to have 3 consecutive sold out performances at the beautiful Grand Theater. The CDT Nutcracker Performance for 2012 had 110 dancers and 4 sold out performances at the Grand! APA is home to the Side by Side Inclusion Preschool (in partnership with the TUSD), and Tracy Jazzercise. APA has also produced many, many talented, well trained and successful dancers. Dancers that are excelling in college and the professional dance arena.

Our goals are to offer a wide variety of classes that appeal to many and to provide our students with joyful and professional dance experiences through classes, competitions, conventions and master teachers. APA offers traditional ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, and modern. The teachers at APA are educated and formally trained. APA is proud to be a Dance Master of America affiliate, a professional dance teacher organization that requires its membership to be tested in order to participate. Dance Masters of America insures that the dance students are being taught by qualified and certified teachers.

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