"It's a safe place and a happy, special place in our community where everyone can enjoy the love of ballet."
This is how Amy Fisher describes her Bexley ballet school, Miss Fisher's Ballet Academy, which seems to have struck a nerve among children and adults alike.
"Taking the leap and starting with only one student enrolled, a year-and-a-half later we now have 120 lovely students," said Miss Fisher, an ex-professional ballet dancer and St George local.
"We have about 12 boys, we have a group of women over 60, and we have children 18 months - we cater to everybody."
Miss Fisher began ballet classes when she was two and by 16, she was competing on an international level. Ballet became her career and she danced around 15 countries in some of the world's most famous Opera Houses, including with the Bavarian State Ballet and the Hungarian National Ballet.
She said she wanted to share what she learned with her pupils as the discipline would set them up for life - both physically and emotionally.
She said ballet taught skills such as "good posture, balance, coordination, a love of music and movement, confidence, self esteem, positive body image, and gaining independence".
It also taught resilience: "You're not going to be good straight away - you have to come back week after week and practice."
"If students want to go down the professional ballet track, we will do everything we can to support them, but more often than not, children don't [want to become professional dancers], and their training in the discipline of ballet will help supplement everything in their life," Miss Fisher said.
With her male students, she tries to "break down the stereotype" that boys can't - or shouldn't - dance.
"We try to get boys involved before they get these preconceived ideas that boys can't do ballet," she said.
We try to get boys involved before they get these preconceived ideas that boys can't do ballet.- Amy Fisher
Nova Chen, a Kogarah ballet mum, said her five-year-old daughter Freya "loves" going to Miss Fisher's.
"I think it's [Miss Fisher's] passion for what she does that's moved her business forward," Ms Chen said.
"She's very patient with the kids, and that's what I like about her."
Miss Fisher's Ballet Academy is a finalist in the 2021 St George Local Business Awards is this week's Leader Local Champion Business.
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