By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Elite Academy of Dance
Address: 910 Boston Turnpike (Route 9), Shrewsbury
Owner and Artistic Director: Lauren Mangano
Contact Information: 508-842-5500, www.elitedance-ma.com
What new programs are you offering this year?
“We'se really broadened our program for the little ones. We start at age 2 now and teach all the way up to 18. But specifically for ages 2 through 6, we'se offering creative movement, tiny tumbling, tiny hip-hop. We'sl have combinations such as tumble and tap or creative movement and ballet so families have more options,” said Lauren Mangano, owner and artistic director of the Elite Academy of Dance she opened five years ago.
“We have expanded our recreational classes as well, classes for dancers who really enjoy dance and come in once or twice a week, but aren's interested in competition. Their main focus is recital at the end of the year.
“And we'se adding more acro classes??”acrobatics, basically tumbling on mats, no bar or beam. It's not gymnastics, but there's flexibility, conditioning, strength training. There's a lot of stunt work, partnering and teamwork. We'se added a second teacher because the demand is so high.”
How did your competitive dancers do last year?
“Our company members had an undefeated year. The dancers train anywhere from five to six times a week, depending on their age and level. Last year our youngest group was ages 7 to 10. At the Myrtle Beach Nationals this summer, our teen senior dancers won grand national champions against a high, high caliber of competition from around the country.
“Our senior group also received the Federation of Dance Competition's People's Choice award. And one of my graduates was in the top 17 on the television show, “So You Think You Can Dance.” I have been honored with the choreographer of the year and teacher of the year awards from Kids Artistic Review,” she said.
When is registration for the new season?
“People can register from Sept. 3 to 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Or they can call the studio or email us to set up a time to come in. Our fall season starts Sept. 11, and our recital is in early June,” Mangano said. All classes and schedules are listed on the academy's website, www.elitedance-ma.com.
“We take kids at any level. As long as they appreciate dance, they are welcome here.”
And while the non-competitive classes are called recreational, “those dancers are still going to get a full dance education and enjoy it, no matter what level they are on.”
Elite's studio is 3,500 square feet, with two custom dance studios with professional sprung floors.
Who is your faculty?
“Currently I have a faculty of 10,” said Mangano, who has been teaching for 10 years. “We have dancers who are studying child education or dance education in college. And we have college graduates and professional dancers.
“They have to go through a screening process. A person who loves to dance might not necessarily be a great teacher. I hire people who love to teach; it's their passion, not just a side job. That passion comes through to the dancers in the classes and keeps them encouraged and motivated.”