For Chandra Haimbaugh, a longtime dance and exercise instructor and former WIC breastfeeding and peer counselor coordinator at the county health department, life is about flexibility and learning to adapt.

So, when her studio, the former Dance Central now Citrus Academy of Dance and Arts (CADA), had to close, she did what she has always done: figured out how to adapt.

Since mid-March, Haimbaugh and CADA staff and families “have been busy...trying to spread positivity throughout the community while practicing safety guidelines,” she said.

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As a dancer herself, she knows the desire of other dancers to move. As a business owner, she knows the need to keep the doors open, even when they’re closed.

On March 9, 2020, CADA began offering virtual classes.

In May CADA added a fitness program that consists of zumba, flexibility, core, a variety of cardio classes and strength training.

To keep everyone safe while still promoting health and staying active, they created "CADA pods" — individual areas encased in plastic.

It combines safety with being in community with others in the classes.

“Now that all businesses are allowed open, CADA will remain a hybrid performing arts studio with both virtual and in-person classes,” Haimbaugh said.

Haimbaugh said CADA is also about community service and outreach. In May CADA staff and dance families participated in the adopt a high school senior program with more than 250 seniors participating. They gave away small keepsake items, CADA gift certificates and a video reel as a way to celebrate the graduates.

Haimbaugh said she sees CADA as a “one-stop shop offering the following performing arts styles: ballet, tap, toddler create, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, break dance, tumbling/acrobatics, all star cheer, vocals, acting, and modeling” for ages 1 1/2 and up.

“We have a well-diverse staff, with the oldest staff being 75 years of age, who have received training from all around the world,” she said.

On July 18, CADA summer camp kids and CADA performers will present two live and virtual performances of Dancing at the Drive-In Summer Talent Concert at 6 and 7:30 p.m, For tickets and information, call 352-400-1886.

“This pandemic has made me realize that we took things for granted,” Haimbaugh said, “simple things like a hug or a partnering lift in a dance routine to make an artistic statement, or the toddlers running to us as dance teachers with outstretched arms we can no longer do. It has made me realize that for my business to survive I need to be adaptable and willing to make changes.To grow as a business, creativity is necessary to come up with new ways to stay safe while still enjoying the performing arts.

“This has been an eye-opening experience and ...moving forward I plan on keeping the changes as far as using the hybrid model and continuing to make CADA a performing arts studio for all ages — a place where one can go to escape and nurture their inner star quality that they feel inside,” she said.

The current location of Citrus Academy of Dance and Arts is 860 US Hwy 41 S Inverness.

Beginning Aug. 1, 2020 it will be at 902 S Us Hwy 41 Inverness. Website: Phone: 352-400-1886. Facebook: cadastudio or cada352.

Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or

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