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08 August 2014

Area Dancers Work Out With Choreographers From Tv Show

Madi Saul and Kelsey Varwig ran back and forth between the classroom and the lobby at Vibe Dance Company one recent Friday afternoon. The girls, 14 and 16, were waiting for two choreographers from the Lifetime television show “Dance Moms Miami” to appear. As soon as the black SUV pulled into the parking lot, the girls ran back into the room waiting to learn what they could from the guest choreographers.

Victor Smalley and Angel Armas visited the Temperance studio for a private lesson for the girls. Mr. Armas worked with Madi and Kelsey on a contemporary duet and Mr. Smalley worked with Brianna Griner, 8, on a solo. Madi, whose mother Heather Saul owns the dance company, will be a freshman at Ottawa Hills High School in Ottawa Hills, Ohio.

The dance teacher for the high school, Ariel DeMarco, knows the manager Andrew Sullivan and put the Sauls in touch for the visit. “They are going to Chicago and through several channels were asked about good studios in the area and Ariel told them about us,” Ms. Saul said. Having choreographers visit the studio isn’t unique since professionals from across the country visit for dance camps, but this visit was special, particularly for the girls.

“They are on TV and are in high demand,” Ms. Saul said. Madi said she hoped for a good day with the choreographers. “I hope to learn new ways to do the different styles of dance,” she said. Kelsey, who has been dancing for 13 years, helps teach tumbling classes at Vibe. She was looking forward to the day, too. “I hope we get new choreography that will help us win at competitions,” she said.

Kelsey and Madi are used to winning. Along with Anna Jakubowski, a 2014 graduate of Bedford High School, their trio won the Elite National Championship at Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio, last weekend. The girls danced a contemporary piece to “Medicine.”

On Friday, the three dancers paid for the special session with the men who opened Stars Dance Studio in Miami seven years ago. The pair trains some of the top young dancers including Ricky Ubeda, who currently is on 
the Fox reality show “So You Think You Can Dance?” When they arrived, the choreographers began rapidly calling out dance steps to the girls, first in the same room before breaking off the solo and duet where they could offer instruction 
without interrupting each other.

“You have to dance soft, this is a contemporary piece,” Mr. Armas told Madi and Kelsey. After 10 minutes, the girls had the first portion of their dance completed. Mr. Smalley, who worked with Brianna, noticed she was nervous at the beginning. “You got to sell it,” he said. “Do not be afraid and go for it.” The choreographers were accompanied by two of their studio members who worked with the girls.

Cristina Moya-Palacios worked with Mr. Smalley and Brianna while Jessica Kennedy assisted the duet. They also hosted a workshop at Vibe Dance Company that was open to the public.

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