There have been numerous dance recitals at Across the Floor School of Dance and Gymnastics in Woodbridge over the years. But the Saturday June 12 recital was different from all the others because that day three generations of the same family came together for the first time on stage.
Celebrating 25 years with the company, studio owners Sara Reynolds and Cheryl Corej brought students, parents and grandparents together for the Silver Jubilee.
On site were Debbie Caffarelli of Port Reading and her daughter, Alyssa Caffarelli, and Debbie Caffarelli’s granddaughters, Ava and Abigail Caffarelli. Caffarelli’s daughter is a former student and her granddaughters are currently students.
“My mom took me across the (dance) floor when I was 6 and now my nieces Ava and Abigail (dance here),” said Alyssa Caffarelli, now 30.
Caffarelli, a former resident of Port Reading who now lives in Collegeville, Pa., Said watching her nieces play brought back “many good memories.”
She said the teachers at the dance school – where she started with tap dancing and took other classes including ballet and jazz – “were not only interested in training good dancers, but also good people “. She added, “They are all amazing teachers who care about (the students) success inside and outside the studio.”
Corej, who noted that she and Reynolds had talked about opening their own studio when they danced as kids at Miss Ruth’s dance school in Fords, said: “Over the years, dancing helped us become best friends and we knew we wanted to create something special. for other children, like our fond memories of growing up together in dance school.
Reynolds added, “As a local studio, we strive to create a family atmosphere. Many students spend so much time here every week and over the years Across the Floor has become a home away from home for them. They are now part of the ATF family.
She noted that many students “keep in touch with us after they graduate from high school. And we always invite them to come back for special ATF events like our 25th annual recital, where we did a special number honoring faculty and alumni of the past 25 years. Families like the Caffarellis and the Skolarczyks had an incredible experience as students and wanted their children and grandchildren to feel the same. We were delighted to see them return to perform and attend our special event!
“After 25 years, we made our dream for the dance school come true at our annual recital when we stepped out to introduce ourselves as owners and announce the opening of our 25th annual recital to a live audience,” said declared Corej.
She added: “It was a bit surreal to come out of a pandemic and perform in person after taking distance classes and having a virtual recital the year before. As a small business, we already faced many challenges before the pandemic. And during the pandemic, we persevered through our hard work, dedication and passion. The title of our first recital was “Dreams Become Reality” and we weren’t going to let anything take our dream away. “
Corej said she estimates that more than 5,000 students have walked through the doors of the ATF studio over the years. The studio, which opened with three instructors, now has 14 teachers and a full-time studio coordinator.