Jonathan Fleet and Sierra Maraj may have first locked eyes at Fleet-Wood Dancentre many years ago, and now the married couple are poised to take over much of the administration of the business.
Fleet-Wood Dancentre in Collingwood marked its 30th season start this week with an acknowledgement from Collingwood council and a ribbon cutting at their location at 65 Simcoe St. Sharron Fleet started the business in 1994 and still teaches at the school five days a week.
“I’m almost 71 now. I just went out to British Columbia and saw some of my first crops of students. They are now adults with children who are graduating university,” Sharron told CollingwoodToday. “They brought it home for me how long I’ve been teaching. It’s been an incredibly long time.”
Fleet-Wood Dance Centre started up in 1994 with Sharron and one of her teachers Jane Wooding opening the studio together. Sharron took sole ownership in 2002. The studio specializes in ballet, jazz, modern and tap, with classes for all ages and skill levels.
“For children who love to move to music, dance is such a good thing for them. It’s a de-stresser. It’s their happy place. It teaches them discipline,” said Sharron.
Two of those children who have spent time in the studio over the years are Sharron’s son, Jonathan, and her daughter-in-law, Sierra Maraj. The duo met at the studio as students at five years old.
“We didn’t start dating until way later,” Maraj told CollingwoodToday, with a laugh. “Dancing was something I always did around the house, which is what prompted my parents to put me in dance.”
Jonathan and Maraj became friends through the studio, but romance bloomed in their late teens when they prepared together to apply to George Brown College for dance.
“We both got in, and that’s when we started dating,” said Maraj.
After graduating, the couple decided to move home and started teaching at Fleet-Wood.
In 2017, Jonathan proposed to Maraj on-stage at the end of Fleet-Wood’s performance of The Nutcracker that year.
“It’s awesome. The entire cast knew,” said Maraj. “At first, I was very confused. I cried.”
“She couldn’t say no in front of 250 people,” said Jonathan with a laugh.
Looking ahead, Sharron says she’ll be pushing more of the administrative and teaching work to Jonathan and Maraj, responsibility that’s welcomed by the couple.
“It’s crazy that Fleet-Wood has been open for this long. It doesn’t feel that long,” said Maraj. “We enjoy what we do and we work with some really great kids. We’re very lucky.”
For more information on Fleet-Wood Dance Centre, click here.