Kara Mann is currently the director of Free Soul Dance, a studio designed to promote health & fitness through the art of dance to adults in the WNY community. The studio offers drop-in classes from absolute basic to professional as well as workshops and other fun dance related events in styles like Contemporary, Hip Hop, Dance Fitness, Ballet and more. The studio has also performed at many local Buffalo events such as Vegfest, Elmwood Artfest, and Buffalo Infringement Fest.
Kara grew up in the suburbs of Buffalo, dancing mostly Ballet. She found courage and confidence through dance. As a child, she was very shy, but you would still find her organizing dance shows and classes with her neighborhood friends. Although she didn’t realize this would become a life goal, it is clear that it was something she was meant to do. As her interests grew to Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap and really any type of movement, she found the need to diversify her education. She traveled to NYC to attend classes at Broadway Dance Center with her dance studio Performing Arts Dance Academy, where she experienced first hand how far the world of dance actually extended beyond her experiences.
She went on to attend the University at Buffalo for Business, but she couldn’t help but adding in a dance major by her junior year. She was able to grow her artistry through challenges of new classes and opportunities to choreograph for student productions. She took an opportunity to study at a three week intensive at Point Park University and traveled to NYC as much as she could. She also began to teach more regularly, finding a passion for that as well. After graduation, she was lucky to join Buffalo Contemporary Dance company, which opened her network to an even wider range of dancers that were currently residing in Buffalo.
At this point, her goal was clear, she would make sure there were more opportunities for dancers in Buffalo. She loved NYC but she saw the potential and the fire that was just starting to burn in the dance industry right here in WNY. She helped to create collaborative performance groups and dance concerts, cultivated a network of professional level performers and dancers, and offered her support on other efforts towards the same goal in the dance community. This all led to the development of her biggest project to date, Free Soul Dance, the very first studio in WNY created specifically for the adult dance or enthusiasts. Currently, her studio also houses the Foxy Diamondz, a multi-talented group of professional dancers who perform at events all over Buffalo. She also personally performs and choreographs for the company as well.
As she concludes her 6th year of business, she has learned a ton about the dance community and the needs of an adult dancer. She is happily astounded by the proven value dance has had in the the lives of many, from growing confidence to finding a fun way to stay healthy to fulfilling a missing piece within someone’s soul. This is the driving force to Kara’s mission.