When you step into All Stars Studios in Forest Hills, anyone who’s ever danced will instantly be transported to their childhood dance memories. It’s a bit crowded down there, but there’s good energy, the pre-requisite dance recital posters, and 2 very decent studios. All Stars offers classes starting at the age of 3 all the way up to adulthood. Their variety is impressive as well; ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop, salsa, and acting are just a few of their class options. My daughter is 3, and in her age group, there are 2 options, Creative Movement and Act! Sing! Dance! All Stars has a truly generous trial class policy so we were able to sign her up for both classes for free and get a sense of what they’re all about.
This is really a “ballet fundamentals” class, with a little yoga and a little free dance thrown in on either end. The age range for this class is 3 to 5 and that was represented in this diverse class of 8 girls. Ms. Victoria is exactly what you’ll think she’ll be; young, pretty, warm, and a ‘real’ dancer. I still can’t get over the toddler sized yoga mats that she used for the initial stretching exercises – they were just so cute! They started with about 15 minutes of stretching, which most kids did fine with but my 3 year old had a hard time focusing on a sitting down activity for that long. Once they were all limber, the kids were put through the paces of beginning ballet; walking and pointing toes, simple jumps, first position, and plies. What I particularly appreciated was the feeling that this is a real dance class, not meant to entertain the crowd of parents gawking in through the one pane of glass into the studio. The instructor was kind but persistent, and if a child didn’t want to do a particular exercise, she wouldn’t let them quit or do it halfway, but rather kept encouraging the child until she tried it. My daughter absolutely loved it and has been asking to go back daily.
Act! Sing! Dance!
This class is the other option for the 3 to 5 set. The name says it all; Ms. Allie spent time with the children doing speaking, vocal, and movement exercises. The most noticeable thing about this class was that there were boys! My daughter had recently informed that “only girls take dance classes” and I had been harboring many feelings about how she could already be so pigeon-holed into gender stereotypes at such a young age. I was thrilled to see three actual live little boys, it almost made me sign up for the class right then and there. The class is interesting in that kids learn to play with their voice (sing high with arms raised overhead, sing low while crouching on the ground), their bodies (slither like a snake, roar like a lion, sleep like a baby) and their faces (a really fun exercise where the instructor says an emotion and pretends to ‘throw’ that feeling at a child, who then makes a face to reflect that emotion). There were some dance basics involved, but most of what I saw was pretend games and singing to Ms. Allie playing the guitar. It’s not quite right if you’re looking to burn off a toddler’s energy as far as physical activity, but it’s more engaging than the Creative Movement class.
The overall experience at All Stars was positive, though I’ll venture to say that after watching the first class, most parents would be better off spending the hour with a cup of coffee and a newspaper somewhere else rather than hanging out in the waiting area. We recommend stepping out for a cup of coffee and quiet time in Forest Hills.
All Star is accepting new students until February 28th and the first class is always free, so give them a call and get yourself over there! (Extra brownie points if you have a boy. Where will our next Mikhail Baryshnikov come from???)
All Stars Dance Studios
108-12 72nd Avenue, NY 11375 (718) 268-2280 allstarstudiosnyc.com