Dance studio celebrates 25 years
TORRINGTON – The 28th Avenue Dance Studio is celebrating their 25th year anniversary, Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29, with their dance recital. Friday the program begins at 6 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m., at Eastern Wyoming College.
More than 210 dancers will take the stage with 36 dances of all genres, with students ages ranging from 3-65.
Owner, Stephanie Kath, began the studio in part of the building that was shared with Big Time Video. Then as time went on and VH videos were phasing out, she made the building on 28th Ave. into a full-sized dance studio.
Kath is joined by her daughter, Taylor Bartel, running the studio and teaching the students to dance, along with teachers Jazmine McCranie, Natalie Davila and Melanie Wolfe, plus many assistant student teachers.
Kath has a bachelor’s in education and physical education and Bartel has a bachelor’s degree in theatre and dance and a master’s in dance education.
They teach the proper technique, terminology and foundation to enable the students to go on to the next level if they would like. With the younger students they focus on movement through play, music and games. The older students work on vocabulary, write in dance journals, answering questions such as “what is their dance goals are for this term?” “How do you apply what you learn in the studio to life at home, school and other activities and with their friends,” and “what is one correction or piece of feed-back you’ve received from your teacher who has been the most helpful and meaningful to you?”
The genre of dances include jazz, hip-hop, cheer, ballet, lyrical, acrodance and tap. They have adult classes which include adult ballet/jazz, advanced adult tap and beginning/intermediate adult tap. Last year they also began tryouts for competition teams for three age groups - petite, junior and senior. Those dancers must be more dedicated and must agree to the stricter rules set for these classes.
Classes run from the beginning of August, then after school begins, classes are Monday – Friday during the week, and then the teaching team works with soloists, duets, and competition teams on weekends.
This year Kath and Bartel decided to add acrodance classes to their curriculum. Acro Dance is an art form that incorporates both the fluid movements of dance and the difficult skills from acrobatics. Dancers not only learn how to execute each acro move with strength, flexibility, technique, and progression, but also learn to perform each skill through choreographed routines. Both Kath and Bartel are certified Acrobatic Arts teachers. As of now, there are four levels of Acrodance offered, Pre-K, Level I, II and III.
Melanie Wolfe joined the studio last year and has taken over the cheer program. Wolfe grew up in Torrington, attended THS and was a past THS cheerleader and then a cheer coach for them, which in fact the THS cheerleaders won many state titles at her leadership. Some of those same cheerleaders are helping Wolfe with her classes as assistants. Wolfe currently works at Banner Health.
As Kath reminisced, she thought about the times how she got to her dance and gymnastics classes, “I hopped on the back of my dad’s motorcycle and headed to gymnastics 35 miles away...dad always made everything fun! I didn’t know at the time that it was more economical to take the motorcycle than the car. I didn’t know back then how much my mom and dad sacrificed to take me to gymnastics and dance classes,” she said. “Not only was it an added expense to travel for classes, but also an added amount of time and, as many know, farmers don’t have “down time”.
“My mom did a lot of driving and made many sack lunches/dinners. I am certainly thankful for my teachers and instructors out of town, but opportunities in town would have been easier on my parents,” Kath remembered.
“They gave up a lot to provide opportunities for me,” she said. “They believed that gymnastics and dance lessons were beneficial. They believed that such activities provided discipline, work ethic, socialization, teamwork, a sense of accomplishment, an outlet for expression, and many physical benefits.
“I was lucky enough to have an incredible dance teacher in town for a few years in middle school and a fantastic high school dance team coach but did not have a studio in town for many of my years in dance,” she said.
“I’m thankful my parents saw the impact of dance on me so that I can now provide all the benefits of the art in our small town,” she continued.
“I wanted to provide a hometown studio for the community. After a “fork or two in the road,” I was able, with the support of my husband, to open a studio which celebrates 25 years this year,” Kath said. “If it weren’t for his support, I wouldn’t be where I am today. It warms my heart when former students return to their hometown studio to stop in and say hello or throw on their tap shoes and join in on class. It makes me incredibly happy to see students continue in dance and dance related careers or activities, and if they are not dancing, they are still using the benefits provided in dance class.”