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January 29, 2014

Faces of Fauquier: Dance has become her livelihood

Photo/Cassandra Brown
“I love the people here,” says Stephanie Layton, whose family moved to Fauquier 13 years ago. “They are down to earth, sweet, humble and sincere.”
I am in awe of its beauty, especially in the spring and fall. I moved here from the West. I love photography, and I always want to stop and take a look. Fauquier has a lot to offer in that way.
By .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Staff Journalist
She has a passion for dance.

“I started dancing when I was 4 years old,” Stephanie M. Layton explains. “My dad inspired me to dance when I was a little girl. I would dance on his toes to music.”

Mrs. Layton helped start Excell Dance in 2008 with co-owner Kim Bridges, after teaching dance in her basement for a few years and at the Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (WARF). The studio has grown to more than 250 enrolled dancers.

“We really focus on the art of dance, not the competition side. We want this to be a wholesome place for them to come and build their self-esteem and confidence. We are helping mold these girls to be our future leaders,” Mrs. Layton says.

With more than 17 years of experience as an instructor, she teaches tap and handles the business affairs of the company while raising her five children.

People helped attract her to Fauquier County.

“They are down to earth, sweet, humble and sincere. When you see people in the grocery store, they want to tell you their life story, unlike people in the city who are always rushing,” she Mrs. Layton says.

• Age

• Home

• Work
Co-owner of Excell Dance studio in Warrenton. Teaches tap dance and runs the business affairs of the company.

• Why you do the job?
I’m passionate about dance and music. I love the girls and the people who I work with. All of us together make such a good team. We are like an orchestra, and we build each other up. We just keep growing.

• Family
Husband, Roger; five children, Josh, 22, Nicole, 19, Tyson, 17, Joey, 10, and Jake, 7.

• Education
Attended Weber State University in Utah for three years, starting in 1988. Studied dance and interior design.

• Civic and/or church involvement
Member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Warrenton. Involved in various leadership positions in her church, including service as a den mother for Cub Scout Pack 1476, and mentoring young women and helping women in need.

• How long have you lived in Fauquier?
13 years

• Why do you live here?
I think it’s a great place to raise kids. I love the people here. They are down to earth, sweet, humble and sincere. They are so different than people in the city. When you see people in the grocery store, they want to tell you their life story, unlike people in the city who are always rushing.

• How do you describe this county?
I am in awe of its beauty, especially in the spring and fall. I moved here from the West. I love photography, and I always want to stop and take a look. Fauquier has a lot to offer in that way.

• What would you change about Fauquier?
I want music classes to stay in schools. I have seen music and the arts slowly going away in schools since I have been here, and I hate to see them disappear.

• What do you do for fun?
Photography and dance. Spending time with my family is number one. I love the outdoors, skiing, rock climbing, hiking. I’m currently training for a half marathon. I love being outside with my camera.

• What’s your favorite place in Fauquier?
When we first moved here, I loved Old Town Warrenton. It is so quaint and it intrigued me. I love the country roads.

• What will Fauquier be like in 10 years?
It really has grown since we have been here. Hopefully it won’t get too busy. We know it’s changing, but hopefully it will not overgrow.

• Favorite TV show?
I don’t really have time for TV.

• Favorite movie?
The old Audrey Hepburn movies. “My Fair Lady” and “The Sound of Music.”

• Favorite book?
“Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo.

• Favorite vacation spot?
Salzburg, Austria. We lived in Munich, Germany, for three years for my husband’s work.

• Favorite food?
Authentic Italian or Mediterranean.

• What is the best advice you have ever received? From whom?
My favorite quote is from Charles Swindoll because I feel like it can be applied to everything in your life.

“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent of how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”

• Who’s your hero and why?
My dad. He was a runner and died training for a marathon when a drunk driver killed him. I was 12. He was inspiring and always treated me like a princess. He made me feel like I could do anything. He inspired me to dance, because I used to dance on his toes.

• What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery?
I would definitely donate some to a local charity and give some to my church to help local people and those abroad. I would also put some towards the education system here in the county for the arts because those are expensive programs to run.

>> Suggest a “Faces of Fauquier” profile subject

Do you know someone who lives in Fauquier County you would like to see in Faces of Fauquier? E-mail Cassandra Brown at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or Editor Lou Emerson at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Previous Faces of Fauquier:

• Shawn LaRue matches children and adoptive families.

• Biker and psychology major Clif Stroud makes music in a big way.

• Becky Crouch greets lots of visitors.

• She helped blaze trail to equality for black teachers.

• Family and food come first for Marshall pizzeria employee.

• Rural “closeness” of Fauquier appeals to Kansas native

• A “spoke” in the wheel of preservation.

• His job dovetails with passion for hunting

• Veteran educator sees the potential in every child.

• His passions: Fixing cars and helping people

• Habitat ReStore volunteer appreciates Fauquier’s diversity.

• Dad’s example led to new career at Fauquier Hospital.

• He lives and works in a beautiful place.

• The Goldvein firehouse ranks as his favorite place.

• Pretty things everywhere she looks.

• Through scouting, he encourages girls to explore.

• One day, he might run the company.

• FISH volunteer likes to help others.

• She sees the community’s generosity.

• Cop patrols while most people sleep.

• Pastor a constant in Calverton.

• She keeps the courthouse spotless.

• He loves working working outdoors at the park.

• She sees “everyone” at Carousel

• Library assistant works in a “fun place"

• Hat lady sets up shop in Old Town Warrenton

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