Gillette dance studio owner wins state business award – County 17

GILLETTE, Wyo. — A Gillette woman received a state business award in a ceremony June 29.

The Wyoming Council for Women, a governor-appointed council that focuses on improving the status of women in the state, presented the 2023 Jan Torres Woman Entrepreneur of the Year award to Angela Hartley-Drube, the owner of Live 2 Dance, according to a news release from the council.

Hartley-Drube received the award at her studio, which she opened in 2007. The studio is at 2051 Sinclair St., Gillette. Until 2021, it was located near 4-J Road and Interstate 90.

Angela Hartley-Drube and some of her staff. Brianna Hunter (from left), Sellenee Sich, Hartley-Drube, Donna Packard and Belinda Hill. (Sellenee Sich)

The studio teaches people of all ages, all abilities and all commitment levels, she said June 30.

“We just want to instill a love of music and movement into kids who may not know that they love it or have or a passion for it yet,” she said.

The studio offers dance summer camps, January to April introductory program and an eight-month program for all ages, among other classes, she said. The fall dance program is the most popular. There’s also a competitive dance program that meets two to four times a week, depending on age.

“Everybody’s giving the limelight to me because, yes, I’m the studio owner and in the end I’m the one that does make all the decisions, but without the backing of my whole entire faculty and team members, there’s no way I would be where I’m at. … I can’t teach all 250 dancers a week. I have to have other amazing teachers out there that have the same thought process and the same heart and drive in it as I do,” Hartley-Drube said.

She said her mom, who taught her dance, has been a big supporter of her since the beginning. Her mom encouraged her when there were times when she felt like she wanted to give up on the business. Hartley-Drube’s mom would tell her that it was a bad moment, not a bad business.

Hartley-Drube said she remembers that when she was a child and felt frustrated and overwhelmed with a challenge, her mom would tell her to focus on what she needed to improve and that she was there for her if she needed help.

She said she’s been striving to support her six children’s dreams, too. Hartley-Drube’s 12-year-old daughter wants to take over the business someday. Currently, she makes rubber band bracelets and wants to sell them. Her 19-year-old son is interested in starting his own business.

“Just because you might have a bad year or a bad month or a bad moment doesn’t mean you have a bad business,” Hartley-Drube said. “You have to just keep pushing forward and not let that bad moment just discourage you to the point that you want to give up. If I would have done that, I would have given up a long time ago. You have to try new things. You have to step out of your comfort zone. And if something fails, you didn’t fail. Your idea might have failed, but there’s always the next new one.”

Angela Hartley-Drube and family (Sellenee Sich)

Board Chair Jennifer Wilmetti said in the news release that the award honors women who provide services in their communities that raise Wyomingites’ quality of life.

“We are proud to recognize Angela Hartley-Drube for her continued success as a small business owner and as an active participant in the betterment of the Gillette community,” Wilmetti said.

Mary Ann Cummins, the chair of the council’s entrepreneur committee, said the council received a record number of nominations this year.

“I am encouraged every year by the nominations, and this year I was inspired even more by the number and quality of the applications,” Cummins said. “All those who were nominated should be proud of their achievements.”

The council seeks to raise awareness of how female entrepreneurs contribute to Wyoming’s economy. Each nominee for the award has been highlighted on the WCW Facebook page.

The Wyoming Women’s Business Center is a partnering sponsor of this year’s award, the release said. Anyone who would like to learn more about the award can contact Wilmetti at [email protected].

Campbell County Public Library System Executive Director Terri Lesley is Campbell County’s representative on the council. She also represents Crook and Weston counties.

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