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Artistry Dance Jazzes Up Valhalla

Lori Spada and Kristina Wozniak recently opened Artistry Dance Project.
Lori Spada and Kristina Wozniak recently opened Artistry Dance Project. Photo Credit: Sam Barron
Lori Spada and Kristina Wozniak are holding classes in Valhalla until their Pleasantville location is ready.
Lori Spada and Kristina Wozniak are holding classes in Valhalla until their Pleasantville location is ready. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

VALHALLA, N.Y.  -- A new dance company has generated a lot of buzz in Valhalla.

Artistry Dance Project recently opened at 1 Commerce St.  in Valhalla before moving to a permanent Pleasantville location in a few months.

The school is run by White Plains resident Kristina Wozniak, who grew up in Briarcliff Manor, and Lori Spada, both accomplished dancers. Wozniak recently returned from a tour of Asia before they opened up the studio.

Artistry Dance Project is one of the only schools in the area that has sprung floors, which makes it easier on the dancers. They also recently opened their own company, with 23 girls and one boy.

"We feel fantastic about it," Wozniak, who graduated from University of the Arts in Philadelphia, said.

Wozniak and Spada, who is from Delaware, are both trained in all fields of dance and in opening their school, they wanted to make it the best school around.

"We looked all over and got the best of the best," Spada said. "Our dancers come from New York City and work in company shows."

Faculty include Michael Susten, who started his own dance company at 19 and Stephanie Scull, who has worked with Beyonce and Chris Brown.

"It's always been a dream of mine to open my own facility," Wozniak said. "I love watching kids grow from three years old to see how they dance at 18. It's a wonderful opportunity."

Spada said she felt it was the right time to open her own studio. The school offers classes for those as young as two to pre-professionals.

Artistry Dance Project caters to those looking to come once a week and have fun to those serious about a career in dance.

When they realized their Pleasantville location would not be ready by the fall, they decided to open up the Valhalla location as a temporary space.

"We've been building two studios simultaneously," Spada said.  "We will use the Valhalla spot while the Pleasantville location finishes up."

The Pleasantville studio will have more space and higher ceilings.

Shows like "So You Think You Can Dance", "Dance Moms" and "Dancing With the Stars" have helped increase dancing's popularity and Spada and Wozniak said they bring in a lot of kids who want to dance like they see on television.

Anthony Burrell of "Dance Moms" will be teaching a master class on Sept. 26. The studio will host one master class a month.

The studio has two boys enrolled, and both said they would love to have more enrolled.

"It's fantastic when you can integrate," Burrell said. "Judges love seeing boy-girl partners."

Dance is also good for athletes, as Spada said it helps with footwork. While a student at Towson University, Spada helped teach dance to the football team.

Most rewarding to teachers is when kids come in with no experience or are uncoordinated and soon become dancers.

"It provides you with so much joy," Wozniak said. "Dancing provides you with self confidence and self esteem. It helps you find out who you are, while providing discipline.

At Artistry Dance Project, the goal is for dancers to have fun while learning discipline.

"We want them to be students of dance," Spada said. "You acquire so many life skills. You learn to listen. We have fun though, it's a positive environment.

Dancing also helps with balance and flexibility.

"We focus on the artistic side of dance," Spada said. "We don't just focus on the technique. You have to dance with what's in your soul."

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