West County: St. Mark United Methodist teacher turns business dreams into reality

When she was 8 years old, Natayia Riley began her dancing career at Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Hanover, where she is a member of the congregation. Now, all grown up, Riley has turned her dream of opening her own dance studio into reality.

Endless Boundaries Dance Studio LLC, opened for instruction Oct. 1. It offers Jazz, Ballet, Modern, and Hip-Hop dance classes for students aged 3-17 years-old.

“Dance has always been a passion of mine and I’ve always dreamed to one day open a facility where all were welcomed,” Riley said.

Liturgical was the first style of dance she learned. What started as “praise” dancing, a form of worship found in many churches, began to expand her possibilities.

“After dancing in church, I was more interested in dance, so I began to ask my mom if I could attend a studio in the area,” Riley said.

Meanwhile, another door opened for Riley, presenting new possibilities.

“The first time I performed on a stage that was not with my church, was in elementary school (Severn Elementary),” she said. “I was on the dance team. We performed at Anne Arundel County Dance Festival when I was in the third grade.

“I was extremely nervous but when I hit the stage to perform, all the nerves went away, and an indescribable feeling came over me that I wanted to feel forever!”

In high school, her dance career went up another notch.

“While attending Old Mill High School, I had the pleasure to be on the dance company my freshman through senior year,” Riley said. “We performed throughout the county and traveled to places such as New York, and Virginia. We also took master classes in some colleges.”

Fast-forward to 2014. Still an active member of St. Mark UMC, Riley began teaching a younger group of girls liturgical dancing. The group, called “God’s Glory,” would dance during worship services at St. Mark.

“That is where I gained my love for teaching, giving others the chance to experience the feeling I feel while I dance,” Riley said. “Watching them grow and develop, understanding the techniques and becoming skillful, makes me very proud, and it's also an amazing feeling.”

That “feeling” drives Riley to achieve her dreams and make them a reality.

“What I love best about dancing is the moment I’m dancing I have no worries, no fears, and I’m completely free,” she said. “A feeling of accomplishment and the adrenaline is impeccable.

“A feeling that I can’t describe in words. I love expressing myself through my movement, articulating my emotions throughout the song.”

Riley’s path began to change again as she focused on a new, more specific goal. Now with 18 years of dancing experience, she first approached her family with her ideas, looking for their input. They were supportive and helped guide her through the lengthy process necessary to make her dream happen – to own her own dance studio.

“Achieving my dream was something I truly had to work for, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Riley said. “I didn’t know that it would take me over a year and a half and I got a little discouraged with time passing. I set weekly goals to accomplish so I would never give up on my dream. My family also pushed me to never give up.”

For class information and questions call Endless Boundaries Dance Studio, 410-858-6224. Endless Boundaries Dance Studio is at 7221 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd. in Glen Burnie.

Rhodes Scholar

Last month, 32 students from around the nation were elected to the American Rhodes Scholar Class of 2019. One of those students is Laurel resident Lia Petrose. Petrose graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience and Economics, with a minor in Chemistry, in 2017.

She was selected from a pool of 880 applicants, all nominated by their learning institutions. Born and raised in Ethiopia, Petrose is a research assistant at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She will begin her studies in Computer Science and Philosophy at Oxford University in October 2019.

Petrose hopes to use her knowledge to improve how data is used to facilitate heath care.

To submit news for Severn, Hanover, Jessup, Harmans, Fort George G. Meade and Maryland City, contact Sharon P. Schultz at pinkladysps@gmail.com.

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