Murrells Inlet dance studio closes without warning, leaves customers frustrated


MURRELLS INLET (WMBF) – You pay hundreds of dollars to give your children the best, so when things don’t pan out the way they should, it’s unfair and can be devastating to you and your child.

Emily Carpenter Bernard is from Surfside Beach and said she paid a deposit for almost $200 for her daughter to start dance class. But when she showed up for the first day of classes, she realized she didn’t get what she paid for.

Emily said she Googled baby dance classes for her daughter and Dance with Me studio in Murrells Inlet was the first to pop up. She spoke with the owner over the phone who even told her where to get baby ballet shoes and tutus.

But the first day of dance class didn’t turn out to the be the company she expected. The Dance With Me Studio, is leasing space inside the American Fitness in Murrells Inlet on US 17 Business.

When Emily went, thinking she needed to get there early to fill out paperwork, the owner she talked to over the phone wasn’t there and neither were other children for the class. She said American Fitness told her Dance With Me does have a studio in their gym, but classes haven’t been on their schedule for a while.

“I waited and I waited. Nobody ever came, I called several times but it went straight to voicemail. They never called me back. And then about 15 minutes after the class was supposed to start, it was only a 30-minute class, so 15 minutes afterwards I just left,” said Emily Carpenter Bernard.

Bernard said she wants her deposit back after the owner didn’t show up for the class she paid for but doesn’t know what steps to take.

WMBF News called Horry County Police Spokeswoman Krystal Dotson, who said everyone affected by this business needs to go to the south precinct to file a report.

This allows police to investigate the owner and the business to decide how the situation should go and to find other potential victims. We also reached out to Horry County Spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier to see if Dance With Me is a registered business and she said the company did have a business license through 2016, but it wasn’t renewed for 2017.

Bernard didn’t get what she signed up for, and offered some advice.

“Go to the studio in person and check it out. And look and see if there are actually people there and don’t pay over the phone, pay in person,” Bernard said.

She said this situation is a lesson learned. All she wants to do is put this situation in the past, but with her money back in her hands.

As for American Fitness, the gym plans to take action of their own against the dance company for missed lease payments.

WMBF news tried reaching out to the owner of Dance With Me, but the number listed on its website is disconnected.

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