Ave Maria Dance Academy Opens in Town Center

Published on Monday, 16 November 2009 22:44

 What started as a suggestion from one parent to another has grown into the Ave Maria Dance Academy, which opened Monday in the town center. The dance studio, run by town resident Karen Ledesma and her daughter Erica, offers classes in virtually all dance styles -- from ballet and classical to hip-hop and Irish step -- as well as fitness and karate classes.

dancestudio1aa"We're thrilled! The response has been overwhelming," Mrs. Ledesma said as she scurried about Monday attending to all the opening-day details. Right, Fr. Robert McTeigue from Ave Maria University blesses the studio before the grand opening.

The dance academy enters its new home behind the oratory as it starts its second year of classes. It began about a year ago, using space in the Donahue Academy, after another mother in town, Teresa Lester, suggested to Mrs. Ledesma that her daughter offer some dance instruction.

"Now we have eight dance instructors teaching ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, lyrical, tap, ballroom, Irish step and hip-hop," Mrs. Ledesma said, adding that the students range in age from infant to adult. A full schedule of classes and information on tuition and registration can be found here and background on the instructors here.

Build-out of the studio was handled by Retail Contracting Services, run by another Ave Maria resident, Michael Mastendrea. The firm has managed more than 150 retail construction projects in various parts of the U.S.

The Ledesmas are already working on plans for their spring recital, which Mrs. Ledesma says will "have a Broadway theme," and will be held at Palmetto Ridge High School.

(photo by Rachel Smolinski)