When Shani Alston and Hillary-Marie Michael held the grand opening of their business, , Monday, they said the studio marked the culmination of their life’s dreams.
The pair, who worked together at a dance studio in West Caldwell that went out of business, decided they would not abandon their students and pooled their money to open up their own dance studio.
After they finally opened their studio at 6 p.m. and 10 excited young girls donned their dancing shoes and prepared to groove to the hip-hop beat.
“I really like to listen to music,” said 12-year-old Samantha Spero of Roseland. “Music and dancing just go together.”
Spero said she likes hip-hop because, unlike ballet, she can wear shorts and sneakers instead of leotards and ballet shoes.
“Dancing is in my blood,” said 11-year-old Janelle Giannetta, who carpooled with Spero from Roseland. “My whole family dances.”
Alston, who said she really loves what she does, led the first class.
“I like teaching kids because they have a lot of energy, they are the most interested and when they are young it is the best time to train them because they are enthusiastic,” said Alston.
The hip-hop class began with a mixture of dancing and stretching. The girls followed the directions as Alston shouted over the music, “Swing those arms! Breathe! Roll down slowly! Come up! Left Arm Over...”
“Hip-hop comes from the clubs, it's a lot more social than structured, Alston explained.
Grooves holds one class a week with each style falling on a different day, offering ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop and belly dancing.
“We have high-quality instruction from amazing instructors. They are some of the top instructors on the East Coast,” Michael said. “We care about (our students) and we want to see them grow and we will invest our time into their artistic education.”