For 25 years, Dance with Kim in Lehighton has been teaching students the art of dance, as well as other important life skills.

The teaching philosophy at Dance with Kim goes beyond producing great dancers and aims to produce great people. The staff teaches students respect, dedication, positive attitudes and a strong work ethic.

The dance studio, owned and directed by Kim Semmel of Lehighton, has a staff of eight women that teach classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical, mommy and me and zumba. The studio also boasts a successful competition team.

The studio's Impact Dance Team consists of four teams: Itty Bitty, Mini, Junior and Senior. The teams compete at competitions such as Starpower, Starquest, Lehigh Valley Dance Challenge, Showstoppers, NYCDA, Company Dance and The Pulse throughout the year.

"This year we've received platinums and gold (awards) and the junior and seniors have won overall for tap and jazz," said Semmel. The studio also received a special award for most entertaining at one of the competitions.

One of Semmel's favorite awards that she received in competition was being named educator of the year, which she received her 10th year teaching dance.

In addition to competition, the studio performs an annual recital Father's Day weekend. This year's recital, "Wild About Dance," was performed in two with around 30 numbers each.

Dance with Kim also boasts a number of exciting opportunities for students. Over the past 25 years, the studio has welcomed guest teachers such as Frank Hatchett, Alexi Ramov, Bob Rizzo, Anthony Locascio, Laura Hausman, among others. The studio also has taken bus trips to New York City to see Broadway productions such as Cats, Stomp, 42nd Street, Wicked, The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and others.

Students have also had the opportunity to perform at events such as the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla. and dance in vacation spots such as Nassau, Bahamas; Disney World, Hershey Park and Great Adventure.

The studio has a lot of fun. After all, "what fun is dance, if you're crying," said Semmel's daughter, Brittany.

Dance with Kim's students, including her daughter, Brittany, have had great opportunity outside of the studio, thanks to their dance training. Semmel has had students make college dance teams and attend Lehigh Valley Charter School for the Performing Arts. Brittany is a junior at LVPA and studied at the Joffery Ballet School, a prestigious world-renowned ballet school in New York.

The studio is always involved with the community. The students support the American Cancer Society, Dream Come True, Lehighton Food Pantry, Toys for Tots, United Cerebral Palsy, Operation Overcome and more. The students also enjoy performing for local senior centers and others in the community.

With all this dance opportunity, it's no wonder that the students at Dance with Kim are so close.

"We're a tight knit group," said Semmel.

In honor of the studio's 25th year, Semmel will host an alumni picnic and will also invite alumni to come back and dance in the recital.

"Dancing has brought me a tremendous sense of satisfaction. Watching my students grow as dancers and into young adults is inspiring. To have the opportunity to positively influence a student day in and day out is a wonderful reason to go to work each day," said Semmel.

Fall registration is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on August 20 and from 5:30 to 7 p.m. August 23, 22, 23 and 24.