By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Shrewsbury- Dreams of dancing on Broadway and Radio City Music Hall may some day be a reality for two young and talented dancers from Elite Academy of Dance.
Shelby Leger, 17, from Shrewsbury, has been dancing for as long as she can remember. Her mother, Tami MacDonald, is also a dancer, choreographer and Shelby’s dance teacher.
“I like the program here and enjoy working in this positive, cohesive atmosphere. I have trust enough to bring my own child here. It’s educational yet fun and works on the children’s individual needs. The owner, Lauren Mangano, and I work really well together,” said MacDonald.
Shelby will be entering her senior year at Shrewsbury High School in a few weeks. In her freshman year, she played lacrosse and has also done gymnastics and diving. However, her true passion is dance and for her, there are not enough hours in the day to dance as much as she would like.
“Although I like to do different styles of dance, lately I have grown a strong interest for contemporary,” she said. “It’s a really up and coming dance style and I really feel good when I dance that style of dance. I love jazz and the performance and entertainment factor that comes with dancing. Some day I hope to dance on Broadway.”
When she is not dancing, Shelby enjoys giving back to her community. She has done a lot of community service and participates annually in the high school’s 5K fundraiser organized in memory of Jake Boudreau who lost his battle with cancer several years ago. In addition, she works the St. Mary’s fair, volunteers for the Spirit of Shrewsbury and does a benefit show through Elite Academy of Dance that is held in Rhode Island.
Shelby really enjoys being a part of the Elite Academy of Dance and while she truly embraces the competition aspect of what she does, she emphasized the fact that there is a true sense of camaraderie and a family like atmosphere.
“We are always here for each other and support one another, whether you dance recreationally or for the company,” she said.
Although Shelby admits that her “senioritis” has already begun, she is looking forward to visiting colleges with a strong performing arts background.
Colleen Moran, 14, from Framingham is dancing for her fourth year at the studio. She danced when she was younger and then concentrated on gymnastics. Even though Colleen loves to dance jazz, she considers herself best at “acro” which is tumbling with aspects of dance.
“One of my really good friends at gymnastics danced here and I went to one of her recitals. I was really impressed and decided to go back to dance at this studio. It really is a commitment because I live in Framingham but I love it here,” she said.
Now entering her sophomore year at Framingham High School, Colleen enjoys spending time with her friends, although she readily admits that dance takes up most of her time outside of school. She still also likes to be involved in gymnastics.
Every year, Colleen volunteers at a golf tournament at the Framingham Country Club to raise money for breast cancer. In addition, she volunteers at a cat shelter in Ashland as well as volunteering for the Spirit of Shrewsbury and the St. Mary’s fair.
She has always dreamed of being a “Rockette” but would also like to be a child psychologist and help children work through issues they may have.
“My daughter, Colleen, loves it here,” said Judy Moran, Colleen’s mother. “When she stopped gymnastics, it was like pulling teeth to get her to go to the gym. She gets home from school and does what she needs to do to get here. She truly wants to be here. So for a mom who knows nothing about dance, for any activity, that’s what you want to see.”
Elite Academy of Dance is located at 910 Boston Turnpike.