On Monday, August 25 from 6 to 8pm First State Dance Academy (FSDA) will host an open house at their downtown location at 107 Maple Avenue. Located behind the Milford Post Office, the building that holds the FSDA is very unassuming, but once inside, the building opens up into 3 studios; 1 downstairs and 2 upstairs. The Academy welcomes roughly 130 adult and children dancers each year.
Michele Xiques, FSDA Director, took over the existing business fourteen years ago from Maria Fry, co-founder and former Director of Diamond Dance Company. Since then she has expanded the opportunities of her dancers by offering new styles of dance. The studio offers ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, modern, partnering, male technique, ballroom dance and adult/teen tap and dance. During the open house, Xiques will also introduce two new instructors to the FSAD family, Jeovanie Fernandez and Nicolle Leeuwen.
Fernandez started dancing with the Aberdeen Dance Company, a competitive dance group winning eight national championship titles in styles such as jazz, lyrical, hip hop and variety style category. He has been training for the past two years in ballet, lyrical and jazz with FSDA’s staff and over five years in hip hop and variety. Xiques states that the dance school is fortunate to have such a talented hip hop instructor as they are rare to find in Delaware. Jeo is looking forward to teaching students how to find themselves through the art of dance.
“Hip hop is very free and has less structure than most other styles of dance,” commented Fernandez. “The first thing they must learn is to be true to themselves, I may be teaching them hip hop but I am teaching them how to showcase their own style.”
Leeuwen will begin teaching Creative Movement at FSDA with beginning dancers aged two- to three-years old. Nicolle started dancing at the age of five, dancing under the instruction of Diane Drulis, Daniel Kaiser, Kelly Millar, Michelle Parisi, Maria Fry and Michele Xiques. She has been a member of Delaware Ballet and Diamond Dance Company during her dance career and has performed in New York City Dance Alliance competitions and in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving day parades.
“When I dance I feel like there are no problems, just the floor and music,” said Leeuwen. “Although these new dancers are very young they will be learning basic movements that will help them as they begin to learn dance.”
During the 2014-15 season FSDA will host performances of Duke Ellington’s Jazz Nutcracker, The Nutcracker Ballet and Pirates of the Caribbean Ballet as well perform at community events including the Bug and Bud Festival, Delaware Dance Festival and the Delaware State Fair. Auditions for the Nutcracker performance will be held at the studio on Saturday, August 23 from 10:30am to 2pm, as times will be based on age group. New dancers looking to register at First State Dance Academy can do so by visiting http://firststatedance.com.
“We give our students as many performance opportunities as possible,” commented Xiques. “We help develop the artistic talents of dedicated students by giving them the knowledge, background and techniques needed to accomplish their personal goals. We share with them our love and passion for dance to take with them wherever they see fit.”