Meet your 2016 Bucks County Movers & Shakers: Marla Kay


Each year, we ask locals to nominate Bucks County’s most influential people – men and women who are shaping the community, influencing their industries, and making a difference. Dozens of amazing stories were submitted about passionate and committed locals. At Bucks Happening, we salute all those who wake up every morning with the intention of leaving the world just a little bit better.

10 outstanding individuals have been named the Top 10 Movers & Shakers of the year, and we have the honor of sharing their stories on Bucks Happening. Meet Marla Kay of Holland, co-owner of Elements Dance Factory, a local performing arts center based in creativity and positive learning. She fosters the interests of her clientele first and she goes above and beyond to expose as many children to the arts. Marla seeks out and hosts master teachers every month from the professional dance community as an educational outreach program as well as charter trips to both local and national performing arts institutions.

Bucks Happening: Where did you attend school?

Marla: I graduated from George Washington High School in Philadelphia. Following graduation, I went on to study with the top dance educators in New York City such as the late Frank Hatchett, Fred Benjamin and Phil Black. I continue my dance education by studying with today’s top choreographers including this years Tony Award winner Andy Blankenbuehler.
Bucks Happening: What motivates you every morning?

Marla: I am motivated by the desire to create dance and sharing this craft with my students. Their enthusiasm and determination to learn and grow brings a smile to my face every day.

Bucks Happening: Who inspires you?

Marla: My students are my true inspiration. My daughter Shelby, an artist in a variety of pursuits also inspires and pushes me to grow beyond my imagined abilities. At 24, she has created a full-time career for herself by being an artist which is quite inspirational.

Bucks Happening: How did you decide to open a dance studio?

Marla: I went into business with my business partner five years ago when the opportunity presented itself. I became a dance teacher 30 years ago when I wanted to find a creative way to earn an income after my pursuing my professional career by performing.

Bucks Happening: Which achievement are you most proud of?

Marla: My biggest professional achievement has been the ability to run a successful business with incredible opportunity for my students. I bring in master teachers from all over the world, and my students have grown so much from learning outside of their comfort zone. We are not just a dance studio, but a center for creative learning.

Bucks Happening: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?

Marla: A large challenge was when I had a personal health issue that came on suddenly back in December of 2014. It was incredibly painful to be away from my students, but the nature of my business helped me heal much faster. When teaching a dance class, you are “on” for the entire time and there is no time to think about any aches and pains. I was so grateful to have overcome that challenge and continue my life healthier and happier.

Bucks Happening: What is the biggest accomplishment that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?

Marla: In the next five years, I hope to continue on a positive path and nurture my students to grow as true artists.

Bucks Happening: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?

Marla: My friends and co-workers would describe me as quite humorous. I truly believe laughter is the best medicine.

Bucks Happening: Where’s your favorite place to go in Bucks County?

Marla: Of course my dance studio is my favorite place, but that just might be too obvious! My favorite restaurant is Denicola’s in Richboro; I eat there with my friends once a week. I also love shopping for vintage clothing in New Hope with my daughter.

Bucks Happening: You can take a time machine back to visit yourself 10 years ago. What advice would you give?

Marla: I would say to be more adventurous and work on more creative projects outside of my daily routine. The same goes for the future. My time and energy goes 100% to my business, but I wish there could be more enough hours in the day to work on other projects.


Plus, take a look back at the Top 10 Movers & Shakers from 2013, 2014, & 2015You can read about more outstanding individuals from across the region in Hunterdon CountyNorthern DelawareMontgomery County, & Philadelphia.

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