Eleven-year-old London Buckstein – arched back, arms raised and foot forward – takes a deep breath and watches the audience at the start of his first solo for Stars Dance Studio.
Hearing the gentle ping of a piano key, she reaches out and spins in a contemporary style.
At 45 seconds, a violin joins the piano, increasing the tempo of both the music and the dancer.
At 2:33, she ends by tiptoeing back towards the side drape. One more step towards his dream.
“The technique is a combination of contemporary moves and a few ballet moves, and the music gets more and more dramatic as it goes along,” said London mother Valerie Zucker. “She’s working on her next solo, which will be a lot more upbeat and uplifting.”
Competitor of “So You Think You Can Dance”, choreographer “Dance Moms” behind the studio
Founded in Miami by Victor Smalley and Angel Armas, Stars Dance Studio teaches dancers of all levels from 3 to 18 years old.
Smalley, a dancer, choreographer and model, was among the top 12 contenders for the sixth season of Fox’s competitive show “So You Think You Can Dance”. Armas is a choreographer of Cuban origin. After the partners opened the studio in 2007, their popularity and fame increased when they were featured in the “Dance Moms Miami” reality series, which aired on Lifetime in 2012.
Today, Smalley and Armas offer master classes and choreography sessions internationally. They have also worked with many dancers who have performed roles on Broadway, television, and top ballet companies.
They have become highly sought after in the dance world for their technique and contemporary choreography, which has helped their students regularly win regional and national dance competitions. Their main goal is to educate their students to become better dancers and professionals.
“We work consistently every day, educating and empowering our dancers to liberate the artist from within, giving them the right tools, movements and techniques to be accepted at any audition, college, business. or work in the future, ”said Victor’s mother Mayra Smalley, who is director of business operations for Stars Dance.
Aspiring dancers from all over the world are taking Stars classes through Zoom, and parents are happy that their children are learning skills and moving their bodies.
“Kids today need more than school,” Zucker said. “They need an outlet. Get them away from their phones, give them positive energy and friendships. Dancing opens the way for scholarships for college and even for work.
Zucker is grateful to studio Boca because they set the bar higher for their dancers every year. She said she saw London’s growth and heightened passion.
“While it can be difficult to manage such a busy schedule at times, it also teaches children how to manage their time and spend each day with passion and determination,” she said. “They meet friends and have fun like a big family of dancers. group.”
Instruction is available in many types of dance including ballet, contemporary, lyrical, jazz, ballroom, tap dance, hip-hop, modern, acrobatic and pointe, as well as stretching, conditioning, technique, improvisation and choreography.
The studio teaches students “to become professionals by being disciplined and working hard to become the dancer and the human being they want to be,” said Mayra Smalley.
Victor Smalley’s stint on “So You Think You Can Dance”, which took place in 2009, allowed him to show his talent around the world. This helped solidify his reputation as the best contemporary dance teacher for male dancers, attracting male students to the studio.
Stars Dance Studio’s profile was raised after being selected for “Dance Moms Miami”.
“We have fans everywhere,” said Mayra Smalley. “Victor and Angel go to different cities every weekend to give masterclasses and do group and solo choreography with get-togethers where they sign autographs.”
But they don’t neglect their dancers closer to home.
In search of a winning solo, London spent three months preparing. She needed more practice, so the studio gave her extra time and she put in hours on the weekends.
“London’s goals are to become a skilled and versatile dancer who can participate in all types of competition with the dance studio as a group and also with solos for herself,” Zucker said. “This studio is set apart because of the lifelong commitment to dance by Angel and Victor and besides, Mayra too. Their commitment to taking children to another level of skill sets them apart.
For more information, call Stars Dance Studio at 786-230-4981.
This article originally appeared on the Palm Beach Post: Boca Stars dance studio led by choreographers on ‘Dance Moms Miami’