Schools of dance ready for new year
The new school year means a new season of dance instruction on the Island as well.
Three local dance studios are holding registration for classes, while two adjust to new business locations.
Deby LeFevre moved her Step-In-Time Studio of Dance (www.5678stepintime.com) out of the old location in July and to a new spot at 2920 Baseline Road. Classes start Sept. 12. Her students will learn modern, baton, tap, jazz, theater, "Mommy & Me," acrobatics, hip-hop, ballet, and lyrical on a state-of-the-art spring dance floor. Also, a theater teacher from Niagara University will teach a six-week acting course this year.
"He'll be doing everything from improv right through to something from Shakespeare," LeFevre said of a class she offered more than 20 years ago. "We call it Step-Into-Theater. When I have this new beautiful space, I wanted to bring it back."
Islander Melissa Richey was a student of LeFevre for 12 years and signed up her 2-year-old twin daughters for classes at a recent open house.
"I think the philosophy that Deby has with this studio is very kid-friendly," Richey said. "She's starts them from the very beginning with the fundamentals at a young age. It really instills a love of dancing in them. Obviously it was a love of mine for a very long and hopefully for the girls as well."
"I wouldn't choose any other place for them."
Grand Island Dance Center recently had its first open house in its new location, 2407 GI Blvd., in the Grand Island Plaza.
"The open house was a success," said Kayla Fyfe one of the instructors and new co-manager of GI Dance. "We saw some familiar faces and we met a lot of new families from GI. I'm sure our new location, right on Grand Island Boulevard, played a part."
The open house is a great time for people to come in, see the studio and meet the teachers, said Rachel Novelli owner/operator of GI Dance.
"Most people like to see the space where their child will be dancing and meet the instructors," Novelli said. "One of the most commonly asked questions is, 'When are the classes for my child?' We know how busy parents can be with work and children participating in multiple activities, so we make it easy for them. When they come in to see us, we have our class list ready so they can check if the times and days of our classes work with their family's schedule. They can register on the spot to be sure to secure their child's space in the class they choose."
GI Dance offers jazz, tap, ballet, modern, hip-hop, contemporary/lyrical and breakdance. New classes this year include all boys hip-hop and an adult class. Call 773-1075 for details.
Miss Cathy's Dance Academy (www.misscathysdancing.com) has stayed put at 1917 Staley Road. A new instructor, Taylor Hiller, will teach lyrical, jazz, ballet, modern for owner Cathy Thomas ("And birthday parties," she said, laughing.) But dance studios teach more than just the steps, she said. Hiller said girls learn life skills on top of dance technique.
"You get dance training here, but it's also about work ethic and being dedicated to something and time management," Hiller said. "All these girls, they do musicals, they're in choir, they're in band, they do soccer. And they dance."
Fellow instructor Kurtis Sprung will teach hip-hop and contemporary dance, with the hopes of attracting an under-represented class of dancers.
"We're hoping that he can attract an older male student for hip-hop," Thomas said.
"Male dancers have a bad rap, I guess," Sprung said. "When I dance it's more about athleticism. It's not the pretty piqués and turns, but more of jumps. We're just as athletic. I played lacrosse and soccer and basketball, so I'm just as athletic as any other guy. Dancing is just as hard as any sport there is."
Sprung is a former Mr. Dance of Western New York who will teach the urban, less regimented hip-hop style commonly seen in music videos and commercials. Sprung called hip-hop "a good doorway to step into the dance world" for male dancers.
"You're allowed to break rules a little bit," Sprung said of the dance style.
"Little kids can't wait to take it," Thomas added.