Some of you may know of Jeremy Cowart and his work. In his career, he’s taken portraits of many familiar names such as Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, and Ryan Seacrest, just to name a few. His clients, mostly entertainment based, include ABC, FOX, A&E, F/X, Discovery Channel, ESPN, People, US Weekly, VIBE, E!, Universal Records, Sony Records and Warner Brothers Records. His work has been published in Rolling Stone, ESPN Magazine, People Magazine, USA Today, Fast Company, NYTimes, TIME and more.

Recently, Jeremy launched a new portrait project. Subjects come to his Franklin studio to have a unique portrait taken as well as share their story. You can see some of the portraits and stories here. They are powerful.

We partnered with Jeremy to give several of our music and dance students  an opportunity to share a piece of their story with the community. Jeremy believes in the story we are telling — that we’re more than just a music and dance studio.

Here at ROOTS, we are passionate about our students and their stories. We hope you enjoy getting to know our students as much as we do.

Follow us on Instagram @rootsacademy to see the full #rootsportraitsandstories posts.

 “I recently went through a time where I was really discouraged. It was out of the blue! It really had no cause other than me getting in my own head. I was thinking about how there are so many dancers out there that are just amazing. There are so many kids that are just way better and more advanced than I am. I was so down because dance is something that I am so passionate about and love so much. Iwas worried that if I wasn’t good enough, people wouldn’t bother to listen to the story I wanted to tell. Dance is something that I love with all my heart and I just want to show that. I was able to overcome that by remembering that everyone is good in God’s eyes. I also told myself that it’s okay not to be perfect or the best (something hard to tell a perfectionist like myself). You just have to continue working hard and give it your all.” – Allie, age 14 – ROOTS Dancer

“Last year my dad was diagnosed with a ten year old brain tumor. Before that, I just didn’t understand why my dad was sick my whole life. At that time, my dad was also looking for a job and my mom was pregnant with my baby brother. I had a lot of emotions bubbling up inside. Roots was a blessing to our family at that time. They came around us like family. They prayed for us, other moms took me to and from dance, Roots helped us with some of our fees since we had so many medical bills. Dance was a way for me to express myself and my emotions – when I was scared, sad, and even angry. Dance was a huge part of getting me and my family through that time.” – Brooklyn, Age 9 – ROOTS Dancer


“A great song is always very exciting to me. I am always seeking to find songs that speak to me and when I find one that does, it is always very powerful and exciting to me… My piano and singing ability has definitely grown over the last year, but my self confidence has really grown. I now have the confidence to perform in front of people…” Connor Murray, Age 14 – ROOTS Piano Student



“Music soothes me in hard times and music helps me celebrate the good times. I have used music to release emotional pain, or to calm my anger and frustration. Music expresses so many different moods. Music can lift me out of boredom or sadness, or help me express joy and gratitude. I dance to music, cry with music and pray with music. I started with music by singing in middle school, through high school, some in college and then in church choir. I am embarking on a new music path by finally learning to play the piano. I am showing myself and my children that it is never to late to learn or try. I am so proud of myself and I am excited to continue learning how to make beautiful music with the piano.” – Darby Mori, Age 45, ROOTS Piano Student


“Dance has changed my life by giving me something to be excited about every single day.  Dance studios are my safe place and my home away from home and when I walk in, I am overwhelmed with hugs, kisses, and joyful hellos.  I feel much love and very comfortable when I dance.  That has definitely changed my life in the best way possible.” – Lily Arnold, ROOTS Dancer