Dancing queen: Newman plays key role in Dancing for our Future Stars even
FLORENCE, S.C. – With a love for dancing that began when she was in the first grade, Burnadene Kelley-Newman wanted to make dancing available for children in rural areas.
Newman grew up in a small community called New Zion, which is between Turbeville and Manning, where she had at least a 30-minute commute to classes.
“I was fortunate to have supportive parents but also be from a community where people understood how important the arts were,” Newman said. “So, they made every kind of effort to get me the lessons I wanted. They never let anything stop me from doing the things I wanted to do.”
Newman said not only did her parents drive her to her dance lessons, but her parents’ bosses and coworkers would sometimes help take her to dance lessons.
After taking numerous dance and music classes, Newman decided to continue her passion by going to Columbia College for a bachelor of arts in dance.
Upon graduating, Newman said she wanted to go back to a rural community to teach children with a similar background as she had. At the time Newman was living in Olanta and began Kelley’s Fine Arts in 1989. The program opened with 50 children.
“I felt the need to come back and give dance to children who were in rural areas that maybe wouldn’t be able to travel or get it otherwise,” Newman said. “I had a desire to share with those, and like I said, I was fortunate enough to get it, who might not get it.”
Newman now has six locations for Kelley’s Fine Arts.
Newman said she and the other teachers are continuously working on their training to ensure they are staying up-to-date on teaching and providing the best education.
“It’s my job and my duty,” Newman said. “If I am going to stay open, I am going to stay teaching what I need to teach.”
When Dancing for Our Future Stars began nine years ago, Debbie Hyler, the executive director of The School Foundation, contacted Newman about being the dance director.
Newman said she wanted to help with Dancing for Our Future Stars, because she wanted to help children in the community.
Over the past nine years, Newman has donated her facilities, choreography, time and instruction to make sure the dancers in the competition are well prepared.
Newman said assisting with Dancing for Our Future Stars required her to learn more about ballroom dancing to better help dancers, and she continues to review to ensure she can help the dancers.
Newman said during practices, she stays open an extra hour and a half some nights, and her husband, Sid, stays with her to assist and make sure she is safe when leaving the facility later.
Newman will begin her ninth Dancing for Our Future Stars season with the pairing party on Thursday.