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Once Upon a Ballet takes a non-recital approach to dance instruction

It was a lifelong love of dance that prompted Rachel Epps to open a ballet studio in Spartanburg last fall. Once Upon A Ballet is a studio that welcomes students ages 2 and older to learn the fundamentals of ballet and dance in a friendly, caring environment.

Epps was the manager and teacher of Once Upon A Ballet in Charleston prior to moving to Spartanburg, and she knew she had to open her own studio in the Upstate. The school offers ballet, jazz and musical theater classes. Musical theater is a combination of jazz dance with acting and vocals mixed in for a well-rounded approach.

“We focus on education rather than an end-of-the-year recital,” Epps said. “We do little performances throughout the year.”

The non-recital approach puts less pressure on students, according to Epps. Younger students get to dress up and do storybook character dances every week, with a parent performance twice a year. Older students take about eight weeks to learn specific choreography, then do shows for parents and families. 

Epps has been dancing since she was 5 years old, and currently two of her three daughters also dance. Epps wrote a book on the history of dance called “Ballerinas Abroad!,” which is available directly from her.

“I’m just very excited to share my love of dance with the community,” she said.

Once Upon a Ballet is currently accepting new students of all ages. Classes are held at the studio and Epps is hoping to hold classes at local preschools in the near future. Several summer camp sessions are open for enrollment.

Once Upon a Ballet is located at the Spartanburg Athletic Club on Andrews Road. To learn more, visit