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After our series last month exposing North Shore Eats cheesehog Greg “Master” Bates we were inundated with requests from people to expose other businesses in the north shore. And one that was sent to us by many people was Revive Dance Xchange in Beverly, which is owned by Candy Dennis from Gloucester.
We always like to get all sides of a story, so for this blog series we spoke with dozens of people over the course of the last month, including Candy and several parents, clients, and former employees who gave their version of events about RDX for this story. We are here to provide you with all sides of this story so that you can have an informed opinion. Here’s a summary of what the parents, clients, and former employees are alleging, all of which we thoroughly investigated. Remember, these are all just ALLEGATIONS which we will investigate the truthfulness of:
- Candy Dennis created a GoFundMe for “expensive treatment that insurance doesn’t cover” for her “incurable brain disease,” used the company’s business page to solicit donations, and then went on lavish trips with her family to Disney World and New York, documenting it all on her Facebook page.
- Her alleged brain disease would leave her unable to dance, yet she dances during performances.
- Revive claims to have given out over $217,000 worth of scholarships to underprivileged children. Yet no one seems to know who is receiving these scholarships, and the manner in which they allegedly choose who gets them is unknown and arbitrary. The money comes from donations, recital ticket proceeds, and unregistered and possibly illegal raffle ticket sales. Her family has won these raffles before.
- The “scholarships” are not really scholarships as most know them, since they are merely discounts for tuition at RDX. The scholarships cannot be used anywhere else.
- The dance instructors are often not certified to teach the classes they do.
- Clients were charged “registration fees” for competitions, and upon contacting other companies they found out that these fees are made up.
- Credit cards are routinely charged “late fees” by Revive, even when payments were not made late.
- For competitions kids are required to buy certain costumes from Revive for upwards of $90. These same costumes can be purchased for $35-40 online.
- Clients who questioned her methods have been kicked out of the studio and threatened with lawsuits.
- Clients who left negative reviews on social media were blocked by the company.
- Several things suggest potential tax evasion, including the fact that checks are made out to Candy Dennis and not the company.
- None of the employees we spoke with have ever filled out a W-2 form, and many of them also had children as students, so they were paid in reductions in tuition. Everyone we spoke who worked for her ended up paying her money.
- Former employees tell us she physically destroys registration forms and payment cards every year. So there’s no proof of her “paying” employees.
- Revive’s Yelp page is flooded with long, one star reviews. Yet on certain dates 5 star reviews begin to follow all at once, leading some to believe she is sending people there to offset the negative reviews.
- Former employees tell us they were coached to give 5 star reviews.
- Many allege that she is lying about her professional history and credentials, including working with Dancing With The Stars, and hip hop star Sisqo.
- Also claims she was an Alvin Alley dancer and a top level international ballroom dancer. Except Alvin Ailey was a black man, who created a dance theater program during the days of segregation, specifically for black dancers as part of a cultural movement. Almost everyone who has ever danced for Alvin Ailey is black.
- Mandatory extra practices are frequently added, requiring more money to be paid.
- When she had a falling out with one parent she contacted her daughter and informed the client’s daughter that she could no longer be friends with her daughter.
- Upon seeing the recent wave of negative reviews Candy began blaming certain parents for being the instigators, and retaliated by firing one man’s daughter who worked there.
- Candy told one employee that her father would go to jail if Candy killed herself as a result of the negative reviews.
- Offers massage therapy, and claims that she has a rolfing certification from an institution that does not offer that.
- Candy says is Rhythm Works certified but is not listed on their list of certified instructors.
- Candy claims to have a Certification Masters in Dance from Chicago National Association of Dance Master but that’s not a thing they offer.
- She implies that her business is a non-profit and put donors names on a plaque, which she has since taken down after moving to a new location.
Because there’s so much information here we will be doing this as part of a 5 blog series, and they will be published as follows:
Part 1, Friday – Intro
Part 2, Friday – Yelp and Google Reviews
Part 3, Monday – Brain disease GoFundMe, scholarships, questionable credentials, shady fees
Part 4, Monday – Questionable business/tax practices, Erratic, vindictive, and unprofessional behavior, fundraisers and the illusion of non-profit status
Part 5, Tuesday – Candy’s version of events and rebuttal to allegations
You are reading the first. Part 2 will present both sides. Parts 3 and 4 will present allegations from parents, clients, and former employees. Part 5 will be Candy’s side of the story. Although we spoke with Candy briefly, she has since blocked us. However, we are dedicated to getting both sides of the story, so having her part go last gives her a chance to unblock us and reach out to us to address some of the things that she will see in parts 1-4. Our goal is not to smear anyone here, but rather to thoroughly and accurately investigate a number of serious allegations made by credible sources. This is why you read Turtleboy – because we are dedicated to the truth.