Monday, December 9, 2013

Good Taste for Dancing Kids

It is apparent that there is a trend in dance out there that comes dangerously close to the edge when it
comes to kids and "age appropriate" material. I believe dance educators, mentors, and instructors should always keep in mind that they are working with CHILDREN. There is no question that much of the music and artistic material these days can be mature in nature and dance is most definitely a sensual art form. Therefore, I believe it must be handled very carefully by those presenting their work with kids. We must be responsible and thoughtful in our choices, and should be cautious of provocative and suggestive dance for little ones. Super sexy dancing in combination with suggestive music and barely there costumes is NOT appropriate for kids. Again, this is my opinion, and the tidal wave is unfortunately flowing the other direction.
Let's leave this for Dita Von Teese
not your 7 year old
All you have to do to confirm this is happening is to watch the episode of "that show" on TV where the dancers are wearing nude sports bras and dancing with pink feather fans while pretending to be Vegas showgirls... at 10 years old! This freaked me right out.. and I was a Vegas dancer once upon a time. These children are so talented and there are thousands of other subjects that would be appropriate for them! If a choreographer wants to create burlesque, perhaps they should move to Vegas or find a different outlet to pursue their dream instead of bestowing it on a group of preteens. Costumes can be cute and sassy without being too revealing. Eroticizing children is unfair. Dance educators need to exercise discretion. We have a responsibility to the next generation of artists and choreographers to show that we are creative enough not to take that cheap shot. Again, this is my opinion and you might think I'm off base and exaggerating.

Costumes can be cute and sassy
without being raunchy
I sometimes have an issue with the term "age appropriate". How about just "appropriate"? Is there really a situation where it is appropriate to teach other people's children something that is sexually explicit? I think it's a very bad choice and in poor taste. There may be a certain amount of sensuosity that is acceptable for teenagers approaching adulthood, as we know they are not asexual. However, do they need to be pushed in that direction? I'm not suggesting that a choreographer never explore this in any way, but I believe that sometimes we need to remember that these are young impressionable minds and bodies. We cannot completely ignore the sensuous aspect of dance but we can proceed with caution.  I do think dance for young people can be done with class AND style without being overtly provocative and still leaving room for choreographers and dancers to express themselves.

I've heard the argument that a child knows it is only acceptable to wear revealing clothing and move suggestively in dance classes and on stage. I am in disagreement. Are kids able to compartmentalize like that?  It hurts my heart to see little sweet girls bumping and grinding in really skimpy costumes in front of an audience when at home they are clutching their teddy bears and sucking their thumbs.

Dance instructors can be very influential in a child's life, especially if a kid loves dance! Beware of instructors who vicariously live out their dream of being an LA or Vegas choreographer on kids. My advice to them…GO FOLLOW YOUR DREAM! It's out there waiting for you. It's not necessarily in your local dance academy.

It IS possible to create entertaining, artistic, and excellent dance that doesn't embarrass an audience. I hope more dance teachers will make the right choice. We should not be in the business of teaching dance to children for our own notoriety.  If you do it for love, the notoriety will follow! We should be seeking to pass on our knowledge to the next generation of artists and entertainers as well as just teaching kids something fun and healthy that doesn't make them grow up too fast.

To find out more about Desert Star Dance go to:

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Holidays from Desert Star Dance


At Desert Star Dance, We believe that being an active member of the community is an important learning experience for children. We know that performing at local celebrations is a great way to give students a sense of belonging and a fun way for families to come together. Fall and spring festivals, showcases, sports venues, and Holiday events are some of the places that Desert Star Dance performs throughout the year.  We love to share what we know and entertain our friends and neighbors with our talent and enthusiasm.  Allowing children a venue to dance that is non competitive is an important and valuable part of dancing at Desert Star Dance. As an instructional dance academy, we are proud to be active members of the Chandler and Gilbert communities.

We would like to wish everyone a very happy Holiday Season! Whatever you celebrate this time of year, we hope it is a time filled with joy and happiness. We wish you all the best and much prosperity in the coming year!

This year we are participating in two Holiday events and would love for you to join us at these family friendly gatherings.

DSD Holiday Performances
Gilbert Night of Lights
Friday December 6, 2013
Gilbert Civic Center Lawn
Desert Star Dance Performance: 7:40pm
A fun-filled event for the whole family, featuring food vendors, sponsor booths, music and entertainment by community and school group. Holiday Light Displays and Trees with a special appearance by Santa Claus.

Tumbleweed Tree Lighting Ceremony
Dr. A.J. Chandler Park Downtown Chandler
Saturday, December 7, 2013
4:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Desert Star Dance Performance: 5:00pm
The lighting of the Tumbleweed Tree draws a large crowd. Over 12,000 are expected to watch the Mayor flip the switch to light this magnificent sight.

Don't forget to share our web site with friends and check back often.
We hope you have a very happy Holiday season! Merry Christmas and may the New Year be one of happiness and prosperity.

Ann Bode
Desert Star Dance director

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Curing Technology Overload

Kids are more plugged in than ever
I recently embarked on an endeavor of daunting proportions... Banning my child from "screens" for a month.  I was using it as a consequence to bad choices but I have decided that it's going to be a more permanent arrangement.
Over the past year, through no fault of his own, my son contracted what I like to call "screen sitter disease." This is a new phenomenon which I believe is caught by kids when parents are overwhelmed and busy and need their children to be occupied while they take care of business.  For years parents have been in search of ways to stop kids from making that horrible statement, "I'm bored".  In my desperate quest to keep my child happy while getting things done, I began to rely on the Wii, the computer, the iPhone, iPad, Smartphone, Kindle, Nook, and/or the good old fashioned television to babysit or occupy him.  I'll just admit it.... I allowed my child to sit in front of one screen or another for more than 3 hours a day because I literally was so overwhelmed by my to do list. Bad idea.

Many grown ups are also suffering from a different form of the same disease known as "online addiction" or "device overload". This is evident on the freeway when you see someone going 80 miles an hour while emailing their clients (or maybe texting their girlfriend). I'm not pointing any fingers.... I've had my moments of bad choices, but the thought of injuring someone else so I could answer "K" has curbed the temptation. Could you imagine the humiliation of being found bloody in your car, phone in hand, with your latest how are you text glaring for all the world to see? Good deterrent. Don't do that.

Put down the phones and talk to each other

But I digress, the issue is the affect of too much technology on our kids and what to do about it. First of all, we need to set a better example. We need to take responsibility for the activities of our children. That's just my opinion. Once I turned the TV and computer off, I was forced to engage with my son. We played Scrabble, Monopoly, built marble tracks, drew pictures and colored, went to bowling, chatted, and were forced to find other things to go and do. When you turn the noise off you can find your family. I'm totally not OK with the new phrase "techgether time". Where everyone sits together in the same room talking to or playing games with someone in another town or perhaps another country. You get what I'm saying. It just doesn't count as family time.

These kids are not really together
So when I began my new project, everyone was like, "No screens over fall break? Oh boy... have fun!" and you know what? I did have fun! Yes it was harder. Yes it was different, but it was really amazing. My son's creativity was sparked in a number of ways. He was more excited to go to his classes. He was eager to get to a place where people were that he could engage with. He was creative with pens and papers and cardboard boxes... like us oldies used to have to be. I worry about the creativity factor with the younger generation. I know we are enhancing it in some ways with technology but completely squashing it in other ways. I definitely saw why many kids are having a harder time with their physical fitness these days. They are more compelled to head to the computer rather than their bike. Couple that with the heat in Phoenix and the modern fear of your kid roaming freely in a world of predators, and you have an unhealthy recipe both mentally and physically.

Dance keeps you connected to humans not phones
So we must find a way to balance the tidal wave of technology with keeping our kids safe, healthy, and fit. I do know a great way to get your kids off the couch and away from the TV and phone! It's called DANCE CLASS.  That's right, and I know a really good place to take those dance classes too. A place where it's easy to keep kids off their devices and in to the moment. A place that believes in encouraging children to be their best and keep a good balance in their life. DESERT STAR DANCE. It's hard to dance with a cell phone in your hand! Give your kids the chance to achieve something outside of the virtual world. Let them accomplish learning some step combinations rather than mouse clicks. It's easy to see why it is critical for us to improve our kids chances of success and ensure that they get adequate physical activity. They are so bombarded by sedentary options. We need to be sure we encourage organized classes and sports that encourage physical activity. Dance is a healthy and fun way to cure "screen sitter disease" as well as improve a child's life in countless and unlimited ways. Enroll your child in a dance class today! Here's the link to get more info on Desert Star Dance and how you can help fight this epidemic: or call us at (480) 813-7827 today!
Here's some other info I found regarding this issue that is interesting to read:

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Punch lists... that has been my favorite phrase the last few weeks. Unfortunately, the list is not a list of ingredients to make a fabulous party drink or some crazy fantasy list of people that are lining up to get punched. It's a long list of tasks that needs my attention. That never ending list of things to do... but the list is finally getting shorter, and my yearning to get back in to the class room is finally outweighing my to do list.

Welcome to the all new Desert Star Dance
The studio has successfully relocated to it's new home! I am so exhausted I have barely had time to realize the magnitude of what just took place. Thankfully I had a great deal of help from people who love the studio. So, I'd like to take a moment to give some thanks to people who helped with this monumental job. 

First off, I want to thank Sherry Fleming. Every time I needed an opinion on something, a job to accomplish, or a helping hand - Sherry was there to help make it happen. Sherry's dedication to Desert Star Dance is unmatched. She kept the studio rolling while I did a job that proved to be bigger than I could have imagined. Thanks Sherry!

Cheryl and Ann steer
the boxes at IKEA
Secondly, I thank my teachers - Lisa Hammond and Audra Sheridan for holding down the fort in my absence! Taylor Manske for always being there in a pinch! And all of my instructors for your patience and assistance during this busy time of limbo. Also thanks to Terri Urie and Cheryl Bujold for their efforts and enthusiasm. Cheryl, I loved our IKEA moment... hilarious. Terri, you are the best cheerleader ever. Love you all. 

U-Haul packed up and ready to go
Finally, I'd like to thank all the people who helped out with the move by donating their time, boxes, bins, cleaning skills, and muscles during the move! Thank you to Alisa Ardavin for donating the U-Haul truck. Kurt Parker, for leading the charge with the U-Haul and doing much of the heavy lifting (also for returning things to the Goodwill that I just couldn't bear to put in the new space). Thank you Carmen and Raul Razo for removing the ballet barres. Thanks to Luis Morales for installing the barres at the new studio. Thanks to Karl Bode for putting together the trophy case and book shelves.  Thanks to Sheila Kemper, Jamie Taylor, Laura Martin, Agnes McNellis, Heather Parker, Susan Gentry, Bill Wilson, Karen Gloor, Toni Hanen, Chris and Kathy Krieg, Crystal and Albie Lopez, Keri and Todd McCleary, and Kris Jernigan for helping pack, move, clean, and make it happen! Most of all, thanks to all the students for your enthusiasm for dance and patience while we made this dream come true. 

We are so pleased to be able to present such a beautiful facility for all to enjoy. 
I just LOVE our sign... so beautiful!
When I drove around the corner of Ray and McQueen and saw that HUGE sign lit up on McQueen Rd. I got a little tear as I recalled our humble beginnings at World Gym when our only identification was our cute little tee shirts and our love for what we do. I am humbled by the story of this "thing" that is a mass of energy created by dancers and their families and years of love and dedication to a philosophy and ideal. Here's to the next ten years at the all new DESERT STAR DANCE!
Be sure and come visit our new home at 1020 E. Ray Rd. We are having an open house on Saturday October 19, 2013 and would love to see YOU there. Visit our web site often at: Refer your friends and neighbors! Tell them about the Open House.
See our fall schedule at:

Some Photos of our new home....
Big Front Desk
The Kitchen 
Awesome break room
The front 

East Side of the building

Giant Dance Rooms
spacious hallways

Drinking fountains yay!
Plenty of parking

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The DSD Odyssey

Well, it's almost here.. the day I turn the keys in to 1520 W. Warner. Or was it 1430? No one ever really knew. It's been nine years now and some days it seems like yesterday, and other days it seems like an eternity. :)

My crazy buddy Jim McCarter - I miss him
Here's the back story in case you've never heard it..... I used to work at a dance studio on Guadalupe and Cooper called Bridgette McCarter Dance Academy. A bunch of us did. It was a great place to work and I spent 6 great years there from 1996 to 2002. Then the owner passed away and everything changed. (RIP James L. McCarter) I was let go and many people resigned. We were heartbroken but..... the show must go on.  I was in the middle of working on a show called "3-D: Dances, Dreams, and Decades." It had a themed story line and we were putting a lot of work in to it. A parent came to me (Julie Collins - I gotta credit her and her enthusiasm!) and asked if we could find a place to rehearse and continue on to do the show.  I agreed. We found a local health club that had some free hours in it's aerobics room and thus Desert Star Dance was born. I formed an LLC and we started classes and rehearsals. 
A photo from our first show -
that's Lucy with Austin in the background!

We did that show with 45 kids. It was very ambitious and was a full hour and a half long. Those kids were changing their clothes like mad and gasping for air between numbers, but they pulled it off beautifully in front of and audience of over 500! The audience was not only comprised of parents and friends, but I think there were people who just wanted to see what we were going to do. Well, of course we put on an amazing show! I think it was a fabulous start to what is now a 10 year odyssey and soon to be an institution in the East Valley.

After the show, the gym closed down. I had to scramble for a new location but found one. We moved
to another health club and to my surprise we grew to over 75 students. I started thinking I was on to something here and this was what I was destined to do. So I began looking for a permanent home. We looked all over the Chandler and Gilbert area and found the location on the NE corner of McQueen and Warner. There was no anchor store and the space was between a mortgage company and a neighborhood bar. Not optimum but affordable and sufficient. We secured the lease and opened around September of 2004 with just 2 rooms.

1520 W. Warner Rd. in Gilbert
After a few years, the mortgage company closed and we had grown to 150 students and were in desperate need of a lunch room and more space. We used to eat at the deck in the back and were always squished in the tiny lobby areas. Our main goal when we designed the original space was to provide as much space as possible for dance! So we secured a new lease that included the former mortgage company and created a third dance room and a cafeteria. Gary Leach did the build out (a parent here at DSD) and we began our second growth spurt.

As the next few years went by, we grew to over 200 students. The Goodwill moved in to the anchor space and the town of Gilbert passed a smoking ordinance that moved the bar patrons outside for their cigarettes. It started to become a little uncomfortable but with the help of parents and staff, we continued to provide a safe environment for our kids.

After last year, the shopping center went in to bankruptcy and it became clear to me that it was time to move on. We were busting at the seams with 250 kids taking dance! I decided to hire a broker this time to find me a space within a mile that would provide room to grow and all the things we needed in a more appropriate shopping center. It took a few tries. I attempted renegotiations with our current center to move to the east end but they just didn't put together anything attractive. I looked across the street at the empty building behind CVS but they seemed to want to design something for themselves that they could sell to a new owner rather than a lease for a building to suit our needs.

Finally we started serious talks with our future home at 1020 E. Ray Road in the Safeway at the Provinces Center. This process was something I had never experienced before. I was learning new things daily and talking to brokers, lawyers, advisors, etc. Every day was a new challenge! After over 6 months of negotiations and approvals, I was able to sign a new lease with ample tenant improvement provisions in June of 2013. Right about the time of recital.... isn't THAT nice. But I made it!!!

1020 E. Ray Rd. in Chandler
Now on to the business of creating the space. I spent the summer wrangling with contractors and architects. We finally settled on a set of drawings and decided on a time schedule for building out the space. We ran in to many a snag along the way but I think we have created a beautiful state of the art facility that the students and families of Desert Star Dance deserve. It is spacious and lovely and the dance rooms are BIG! The front desk is big enough to accommodate several people at once with a back office for me and my staff. That phase proved to be daunting with the hundreds of decisions I had to make regarding how the studio would be set up, the colors, the materials, the floors, and more. It was sometimes difficult to make these choices knowing we would have to live with them for a while. I soldiered on! We've still got a few tasks to complete but will be ready for dancing on our opening day. Our sign is up and wait til you see it! It's impressive.

The shopping center is anchored by Safeway which has an awesome deli and of course a Starbucks. (woo hoo!) Rosati's pizza is right across from us and we tried out their amazing pizza yesterday! Yummy! Sorry Nicantoni's... :( we hope you will all continue to patronize Nicantoni's. They have been wonderful to us and our names are covering their walls. They have served us well. There is also a chinese restaurant and a chiropractor office directly across from us. In the center is a Water 'n Ice, Dollar Store, Wells Fargo, and more! Super convenient and a perfect environment for busy DSD families. We look forward to seeing you all this week and hope you enjoy our new facility!

To find out more about Desert Star Dance see our website at

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Austin Brue - Desert Star Dance Alumni completes EDGE PAC scholarship

On August 23, 2013 the Edge Performing Arts Center in Hollywood California celebrated another graduation for the scholarship students in it’s professional program. 

The program has been in place for 25 years. It was developed by Randy Allaire and Bill Prudich in 1988 to prepare dancers for a career as a commercial or concert professional dancer. The intensive one-year program requires up to 38 hours per week of classes, closed scholarship sessions and work apprenticeship. After a year of intense study, participants are well on their way to becoming professionals.  The scholarship runs from September through August of the following year. Every August, an audition is held and up to twenty people are accepted into the program and awarded a scholarship. 
Last August, Austin Brue (an alumni of Desert Star Dance) made the journey to LA to audition and was awarded one of the coveted spots. He was selected out of hundreds of talented dancers from around the country. The scholarship is worth over $17,000 and is a prestigious and sought after award for young dancers hoping to make a name for themselves in the dance industry. I wrote to Austin recently and asked him about his personal experience and what it was like during his year as a “scholy”. Here’s some of the things I learned from him about his year long odyssey. 
Austin spent a year taking classes from many of the top choreographers and instructors in Los Angeles as well as developing his look and learning about the audition process for dancers. Austin told me in addition to regular classes he was required to work at the front desk at the studio, participate in choreography projects, and have regular body and fitness evaluations. After 8 months of training, the scholarship students started focusing on the end of year showcase. In 5 weeks, they learned and polished 9 numbers. Major choreographers and directors from the entertainment industry attend this annual show, and after the performance, the dancers get a chance to auditions with many of the major dance agents and industry professionals in LA.
Austin felt that living in Los Angeles and being in the program was extremely intimidating at first. He "was like a tiny fish in a huge pond", but over the course of the program he matured as a person and a dancer. The program is grueling and they push hard, but the time spent at the Edge gave Austin a solid confidence boost. The training encourages dancers to be strong and versatile. He now feels totally prepared to go out and work as a professional dancer. 

Austin and fellow scholarship students at EDGE PAC
Austin went on to tell me that students in the professional program are required to take ballet 5 days a week. He went from hating ballet to enjoying it over the course of the year. He was expected to know what every ballet term meant, and be ready to demonstrate the combination if asked. He also had to know the differences between French, Russian, and Cecchetti ballet technique. Some of his teachers were extremely strict, and “weren't afraid to attack the ego”, while others were more free and contemporary. Austin also trained in voice and comedy improv throughout the year. 

Austin’s favorite teacher while on scholarship was Helene Phillips. She taught him how to be, in her words, a "bitchin'" dancer! She emphasized being human and knowing your gender. She really taught him how to perform like a powerful man. He says he owes a huge portion of his growth to her. His fellow scholarship students were a big influence on him as well. He enjoyed having healthy competition with them, which consistently pushed and inspired Austin to be his best. As a former scholarship student myself at Dupree Dance Academy, I still have incredible bonds with the dancers that I spent that intense year of study with, and that was 30 years ago! There is a special connection created during programs like these and friendships that tend to last a lifetime. 

Austin is now represented by Mcdonald Selznick Associates - one of the top agencies in Los Angeles for dancers. His ultimate goal is to tour with a major artist. He’d love to travel the world and perform in stadiums in front of thousands of people. Austin is a loyal Britney Spears fan and has always said he had a dream of one day performing with her. He told me recently that he may be getting a chance to audition for her soon! Perhaps that dream will soon become a reality for him. Austin would also like to work in tv and film, but as he put it ,”nothing compares to live performance” (a man after my own heart!). He loves living in Los Angeles and hopes to make a permanent home there. 

I am proud to have been one of Austin’s teachers during his childhood. I have been a dance educator for over 20 years and there are only a handful of students in one’s teaching life who go on to become professionals. It’s an incredible source of pride to see someone you knew as a little guy in your weekly dance classes blossom in to a talented and skilled professional. I know all of his teachers here at DSD couldn’t be more proud. Austin was always enthusiastic, hungry for knowledge and fun to work with. There was never any doubt that Austin would do well with whatever he decided to do in life.  We at Desert Star Dance could not be more proud that he chose to pursue dance as a career. We know this is only the beginning of an exciting life in the world of dance for Austin Brue.  

To find out more about Desert Star Dance, visit our website at or call us at (480) 813-7827.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lisa Hammond in Scotland with Scorpius Dance Theatre

Lisa Hammond (an instructor at Desert Star Dance) has been performing with the local modern dance company Scorpius Dance Theatre for the past three years and recently had the opportunity to travel overseas on an exciting performance trip!  Scorpius travelled to Scotland in August to participate in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the largest arts festival in the world and takes place every August for three weeks in Edinburgh, Scotland. Each year thousands of artists and performers converge in the Capital city to present their work. Genres include theatre, comedy, dance, musicals, opera, live music, exhibitions and other special events.

The Fringe Festival began as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival - a festival created to enrich European cultural life after WWII. Back in 1947, it seems some theatre groups arrived uninvited to the event and staged their own performances. This turned in to a trend and eventually a festival of it’s own when the Festival Fringe Society was created in the 1950s. It now boasts thousands of performances in hundreds of venues over several weeks.

The Booking Dance Festival is a “festival within a festival” held annually at the Edinburgh Fringe and is produced by Jodi Kaplan of New York. This year the dance festival featured a roster of diverse dance companies performing in a showcase format. In attendance were seven modern dance companies including BodyStories: Teresa Fellion Dance,  Synthesis Dance Project and Dzul Dance (all from New York City), Jessica Miller Tomlinson and Thodos Dance from Chicago, special guest Metamorphoses from Mozambique, Africa, and Scorpius Dance Theatre of Phoenix, Arizona. 
Scorpius performing at the Fringe Festival

Scorpius Dance Theatre is a contemporary and aerial dance company offering an excellent contribution to the arts community with it’s interesting blend of humor, drama, and movement. Each year they perform several presentations in the Phoenix area as well as other cities. The most famous being their annual presentation of “A Vampire’s Tale” held at Phoenix Little Theater each fall. An original creation about (you guessed it) a vampire. It’s a cult classic around Phoenix. To find out more about Scorpius visit their web site at:

Lisa Hammond has been an instructor at Desert Star Dance since it's inception in 2003. She teaches junior ballet and lyrical classes, tumbling, teen jazz, lyrical, and contemporary and is the co-director of Desert Star Dance Senior Company. To find out more about Lisa, go to our web site at:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Calendar of Events at Desert Star Dance


Fall Classes have begun and many classes are filling up. See our full fall schedule at:

October 22, 2013

Desert Star Dancers will be performing at the Phoenix Suns pre-season game against the Oklahoma City Thunder! Interested in going with us? You can get a great deal on tickets by calling us at (480) 813-7828 or email us at

October 26, 2013 from 10:15-10:35am
Chandler Day of Play. Come out and see our dancers at this fun event encouraging physical fitness for young people!

October 2013 Exact Date TBD
WE ARE MOVING OUR LOCATION! See our previous blogpost for more information!

Our new location will be: 
1020 E. Ray Rd. in the Safeway Center at the Provinces.   The building is actually on McQueen between Ray Road and Orchid Lane (next to Papa Murphy’s). Stop by and take a look! Demolition has already begun and construction will begin shortly. See our recent posts to find out more!

November 9, 2013
We will be performing at the annual “Rock the Block” Downtown Chandler Block Party. This event is a family friendly day filled with music, food, and entertainment from around the Chandler area - including Desert Star Dance!

December 6, 2013 - Time TBA

Gilbert Night of Lights - All companies will perform at this event. 

December 7, 2013 at 5:00pm                                
Chandler Tree Lighting - Several of our classes will be performing at this event in Chandler at the Tumbleweed Park! Come join the fun! Here is a link to their page.

January/February 2014 - Exact Date TBDPre-game Performance at Phoenix Suns game.
February 28-March 2, 2014Cathy Roe’s Ultimate Dance Competition
March 2014Ostrich Festival (tentative)
June 13 and 14, 2014 - RECITAL 2014

Don't forget to connect with us on social media!
Follow us on Twitter:
Like us on Facebook:
Subscribe to our YouTube Channel:
Follow us on Instagram:

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Desert Star Dance is Moving!

After 9 years at our current location, Desert Star Dance is relocating! Our new home will be one mile South at 1020 E. Ray Rd. in Chandler. The actual location is off McQueen Rd. between Orchid Lane and Ray Road.

The new location is incredibly close to our current one and will not pose an inconvenience for currently enrolled families and students.  As a matter of fact, the new location is going to be AWESOME!

The Safeway Center at the Provinces is a fully occupied center with lots of great shops and restaurants to serve the busy families of Desert Star Dance.

Safeway has a great deli as well as a Starbucks inside! Yay! You can always get some grocery shopping done while your child is in dance class. So convenient! There are two restaurants directly across from the studio location which include Rosati's Pizza and Hot Wok Feng Chinese Food. There is also  a Papa Murphy's Pizza right next door! There are many other businesses in the center that will provide convenience for Desert Star Families - Water 'n Ice, Nails of the World, Cactus Valley Pool Supply, Dollar Tree, Postal Connections, The Provinces Dental Care, Lifequest Chiropractic, Wells Fargo Bank, Catalina Cleaners, and  many more.

The map to the right shows the new location to be exactly one block South on McQueen Rd. in the Safeway at the Provinces Center. (The purple pin represents our current location and the red our future home) The proximity of the new location keeps it easy for any families attending Desert Star Dance for it's location. Perhaps we will be even closer to some of you!

On the left you will find a layout of the floor plan for the new facility for Desert Star Dance at the Provinces. The new facility will still have three dance rooms but much larger in size. The smallest being 22 by 38 and the largest being 31 by 44! There will be a larger lobby with a bigger office space for our staff as well as a lounge area and cafeteria with sink, refrigerator, and vending machines. There will be a drinking fountain as well.

We hope you are as excited as we are for this new chapter at Desert Star Dance. We are so pleased to be able to move to a facility that will better serve our dancers and their families. If you have any questions regarding the move please call us at (480) 813-7827.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Mariah Spears from SYTYCD at Desert Star Dance!

Mariah Spears and DSD dancers

On Saturday August 10, 2013 Desert Star Dance had the pleasure of a master class with dancer Mariah Spears, a top 20 dancer from this season of "So You Think You Can Dance". She was eliminated from the competition on Episode 11 which aired on July 23, 2013. She was billed as a hip hop dancer on the show but is an accomplished contemporary dancer as well. Mariah is from right here in Chandler, Arizona.

The class at Desert Star Dance was an hour and a half hip hop class. Over 30 dancers attended ranging in age from 8 to 21. The students were so excited to get the chance to take class from Mariah and enjoyed the experience of dancing with their home town dance hero.

Mariah Spears
She taught a hard hitting hip hop piece and followed up with a Q & A session where she shared some of her feelings and experiences being on a national television show. The class was fun and energetic and the choreography current and accessible. It was a pleasure watching her work and interact with young dancers. She was very gracious and open towards the students and answered all the questions the kids had for her during the rap session. She even took the time to take individual photographs and sign autographs after the class, creating appreciative fans out of her students. She had a very loving attitude toward everyone and made them all feel special with her big hugs.

I had the pleasure of chatting with her when she arrived to grab a little lunch before her class. She was cramming in master classes at several studios around the East valley on her visit home before returning to Southern California. I did not get the sense that Mariah was here teaching to make a buck, but rather to give back to her community and allow the dancers from her home town area to celebrate her success. She has an easygoing attitude but is a hard worker. She is a real pleasure to be around. She is smart about her future and is continuing her higher education after her stint on SYTYCD rather than abandoning her studies to pursue career goals. A smart move. No doubt her career will be a successful one no matter what. She has the undeniable force of talent and dedication that equals success in any industry.

Mariah is originally from Chandler, Arizona where she danced since the age of 2.  She is a well trained dancer in all dance styles and received some of her training from our very own ballet instructor - Aaron Gilbert! She is headed back to Southern California to continue at Chapman University. We wish her the best of luck in all of her endeavors and hope to see her next time she returns to the Valley of the Sun.