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Center Stage brings big city dance moves to town

So, Van Arsdel opened "Center Stage," a dance studio offering hip-hop, jazz, zumba and other styles of dance and fitness that helped fill the need she saw. Since opening earlier this month, Van Arsdel said she's already received a great amount of interest in her classes - taught with the help of instructors Ashley Thompson and Molly Butts.

"My adult hip-hop class is taking off especially," said Van Arsdel. "I find a lot of adults want to dance or always secretly wanted to dance. And, what's great is everyone in the class is pretty much at the same level, everyone's a beginner."

Van Arsdel has also been able to help share her expertise with kids through classes geared at their level.

"These classes are about building confidence, and the teaching kids how to dance in a fun, creative environment," she said. "When some kids try something out and they're not fantastic at it, they feel bad. That's the worst thing in the world. You should never feel bad about yourself. And, here, they won't."

Regardless if you're a kid or an adult, Van Arsdel said she still challenges her students.

"My classes aren't easy, and I think that's also why I've had such a good response here," she said. "Dancing for the Knicks was not easy. It was hard work, but I loved it. And, like I tell my Knicks City Kids, this is the toughest job you'll ever love."

Eleven-year-old Leila Djerdjour of Plattsburgh, one of the students taking Van Arsdel's classes, agreed.

"My friend got me interested in [hip-hop dance] so I joined the class," said Djerdjour. "It's really fun. I like it. I like the dance moves she shows us. She's really energetic."

"I wasn't sure about joining when my mom told me about it," said 10-year-old Dominick Bordeau, also of Plattsburgh. "I play a bunch of other sports and I don't think anybody would think I would do this because I'm a boy. But, I think it will help me be more agile and tougher."

The most important thing any new student should do, said Van Arsdel, is to give themselves time to learn.

"You should always try it out and always give yourself more than one week and one class," she said. "Our motto is 'any age, any level.' We'll teach you how to dance."

Center Stage is located at 15 Weed St. and can be reached by calling 536-6093 or 1-917-887-8528. More information, including schedules and pricing, can be found on-line at www.centerstageplattsburgh.com.

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