Posted Tuesday, December 27, 2022 12:00 am
By Teddy Regis
Sisters Reilly (17) and Madison Hughes (15) started dancing at two years of age and never looked back. Their early days found them training and competing in North Carolina through a technical studio. That rigorous training of 20-plus hours per week set the foundation for their current roles as Florida business owners. “We were raised to understand that success does not happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, time and dedication,” relates Madison.
When the Hughes family moved to Florida, they were unable to find a studio that fit the need instilled by their North Carolina experience. It has often been said that if we find a need and fill it, monetization is a natural outcome. So, Madison and Reilly got to work filing the need for a local dance studio that fed their competitive drive. That is precisely how Level Up Dance was born. The road to creating an LLC was paved with IRS filings, banking, navigating payment systems, meetings with legal and accounting professionals, music licensing, branding…and the list goes on. Put simply, “starting a business takes a lot of research, and it is very time-consuming,” shared Reilly. Still, the Hughes sisters were undeterred. The lessons they learned as small children taught them to “never give up and to always continue to work hard…if we do not get the results we want,” says Madison, we just work harder!”
Reilly and Madison do have a competitive drive, but they know how to balance this with the ability to both win and lose with grace. They also understand the importance of being resources to their peers who might be pursuing similar goals. “You are never too young to be successful,” says Madison. Being bold and unafraid to ask questions and make requests that would potentially propel their business forward has served the sisters well. After outgrowing the grassroots-style school they conducted on their front lawn, the girls approached representatives of a local innovation, entrepreneurship incubation and education hub called The Link about reserving indoor space. Taking that leap was the spark that took Level Up Dance to new heights. Reilly says that “…nothing is impossible.” That does not mean their road to success was obstacle-free. Rapid growth presented a thrilling challenge when enrollment jumped from 3-4 per class to an eventual total of about 70 within months. Starting a competition team was within reach. When auditions were held, more than 25 hopefuls showed up. In addition to rapid growth, Reilly and Madison have also had to navigate a heavy load of responsibilities. They are both busy high school students with jam-packed schedules. Reilly is a full-time dual-enrolled college student. Getting up early has been the key to ensuring responsibilities are cared for. While maintaining A grades in school, the Hughes sisters teach 12 dance classes, compose choreography, curate costuming, attend conventions and process invoices. At the end of the day, it is not lost on Reilly and Madison that they need to make time to “just be kids.” Madison sums it up this way: “We…are so blessed to be on this journey together! We are more than just sisters; we are best friends!”
When they are not dancing, the Hughes girls enjoy an array of outdoor activities, including surfing, tennis and cycling. When asked who is currently trending on their Spotify playlists, the answer was easy… “Harry Styles and One Direction!”