Parents demand refund from shuttered dance camp in Dallas

Mom says she was scammed from Dallas dance camp

DALLAS - A mother says she signed up her child for a summer camp, only for the program to mysteriously shut down this week. Now she and other parents say they are out hundreds of dollars.

It is a hot summer day and Virginia Quinones’ daughter is supposed to be in summer dance camp this week.

“We really wanted them to learn ballet,” Quinones said.

Instead, the four-year-old is spending time at home coloring. Quinones says her family has some serious concerns after bringing her child and her niece to Le Ballet dance studio on Carroll Street in Dallas.

"I had walked straight into a scam,” Quinones said. “I had dropped my daughter off with somebody that I don’t even know was capable of watching children.”

Two weeks ago, Quinones says she and her sister-in-law paid $270 to enroll the girls in a week-long Disney Princess themed ballet camp that Le Ballet was advertising through social media. When the family arrived to the studio on Monday, they say something seemed fishy.

Quinones claims the original owner was not there. She says another woman showed up late with the keys, explaining she now owned the studio. More concerns came when relatives returned later to pick up the children.

“She then went on to tell my sister-in-law, 'You know, it’s so easy watching children. I didn’t know it was this easy. I should open a daycare,'” Quinones explained. “That’s when, whoa…red flag. You’ve never watched children before?”

The family wanted a refund. They say the new owner told them that would not happen.

The family says they were told the dance studio would be closing. The main number was disconnected, and the website no longer worked.

Le Ballet’s previous owner, Jessica Irick, would not agree to an on-camera interview. During a telephone conversation, she said she officially gave up the studio on July 1, 2017. Irick would not go into detail about the sale and new ownership.

A woman named “Ms. Simon” identified herself as the new owner of Le Ballet. During a telephone conversation, she described the new business, complaints from parents, and money matters as a “nightmare.”

“The previous owner, she turned the business over to me. But before she left, she took all of the funds. Including all of the parents' money, everything that they paid," Simon explained. 

Simon claims she was not in charge of taking money for the dance camps.

Quinones is now fighting to get her money back, while urging community members to thoroughly research any companies they plan to do business.

”After looking at the reviews on Google, and Yelp, and Facebook, my stomach just started hurting,” she said.

Quinones is hoping no one else ends up in a similar situation.

The dance camp has been a hot topic on message boards across social media. Some families say they are disputing the summer camp charges with their bank, in addition to filing formal complaints with the Texas Attorney General’s Office and Better Business Bureau.

© 2017 WFAA-TV


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