South Tampa has a new option for those who think they can dance — or just want to learn.
Dance instructor Kelly Runey Buntyn opened the Little Dance Company at the end of May at 3423 S Manhattan Ave., serving toddlers through adults. A former co-owner of Ms. Lisa's Dance and Co., Buntyn left that studio last month to create her own concept and location.
The Little Dance Company is a new 1,450-square-foot space carved out of a corner of what used to be Suncoast Paints at the intersection of Manhattan Avenue and El Prado Boulevard. Buntyn and her four instructors have added theater classes to the typical lineup of ballet, jazz and Zumba.
One of those instructors is Terrence Rodriguez-Thomas, a 2006 semifinalist on season two of Fox TV's So You Think You Can Dance. Rodriguez-Thomas teaches the studio's adult contemporary and hip-hop classes.
The Little Dance Company is, in truth, a little bit smaller than Buntyn intended. Her original plan was to create what she called the South Tampa Center for the Arts in a nearly 6,000-square-foot building on Himes Avenue, bringing together dance, theater and other artistic components under one roof. But the city nixed the plan for that location for lack of adequate parking, Buntyn said.
"I'm not giving up on that idea," she said. But in the meantime, "I had to downsize."
Other instructors include dancer and creative director Melissa Ann Pryor, dancer and choreographer Olga Benitez and theater teacher William Masuck. The studio is offering summer camps on weekday mornings and classes in the afternoons and evenings with availability for parties on the weekend. Its website is little dancecompany.com.
Child-safety store opens at St. Joseph's
A parent's first child-safety experience often comes at the hospital, when the new baby is strapped into a car seat for the first ride home.
Worried parents know that's only the beginning and so does St. Joseph's Children's Hospital, which now offers help with more than just that first ride.
Last month St. Joseph's opened the Safety Store, which bills itself as the first hospital-based child-safety store in Florida. Located in the lobby of the hospital at 3001 W Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., the store has a range of equipment from bath thermometers to baby gates, bicycle helmets and outlet covers.
Hospital officials say every year more than 3 million children ages 14 and under nationwide are treated in emergency centers for accidental injuries that happen at home. More than 2,000 of those children die from their injuries.
"We know firsthand how devastating injuries can be, as well as how easily they can be prevented with some simple prevention measures," Rebecca Kynes, St. Joseph's Children's advocate, said in a news release.
Staffers at the Safety Store — many of them volunteers — are trained child advocates, who can demonstrate how to use and maintain the store's products. The store is open Monday through Friday.
Hours vary (though it is usually open at least from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), so it is best to call ahead, officials say. Call (813) 554-8510 for more information.