Ayden,NC- Stage of Grace Dance Studio in Ayden recently held their annual dance recital at the Ayden, NC Arts and Recreation Center on Saturday, June 3rd.
The recital is a yearly endeavor and this year was the 11th performance put on by the studio. Stage of Grace is run by Susan Waldo, a hard working mom of six who balances her time between kids and work at the studio where she puts her passion for dance into the many young girls who learn there.
Each dance season begins in the fall and runs weekly practices which lead up the the big spring performance. Songs are handpicked by Waldo who then choreographs each dance for girls as young as 2 to girls in high school. The dance genres instructed on include tap, ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, and hip-hop. She calls the older dancers her ‘big girl helpers.’ Many of the older girls put in extra time at the dance studio, assisting Waldo with the younger classes.
This year, a challenging yet wonderful situation took place throughout rehearsal season as Waldo became pregnant with her 6th child, Waverly. The little girl, though a big blessing, made many months of practice extra strenuous, and the older girls of the studio had to step up more than normal to assist with dancing. This circumstance led to two special awards being given out on recital day to Amelia Moore, Susan Waldo’s daughter, and Katherine Yiznitsky, a long time participant at Stage of Grace, who worked above and beyond their call as Waldo moved through her pregnancy and was limited in her ability to dance.
Along with the previous special award, Yiznitsky also received an award for being a ten year dancer at Stage of Grace. Upon being asked why she continues to dance at Stage of Grace she responded, “It’s nice because I think at a lot of studios it’s all about dance, and you can’t have a life outside of it, but here I can have a life and dance. It’s not just dance.” Yiznitsky also stated that “the people” are her favorite thing about dancing with Stage of Grace. “I’ve known Susan my whole life. She’s like family more than friend.”
A new comer at Stage of Grace this year was Shaye Sorber, who commented that she has really enjoyed her time at the studio. “It’s been good,” Sorber said. “This has been the first year in a long time that I’ve actually enjoyed coming to dance. I met some really awesome people that are probably going to influence my life.” Sorber came to Stage of Grace after previously dancing at L’Academie De Danse in Winterville, and said that she will definitely be coming back to Waldo’s studio next year.
Stage of Grace is a great studio for dancers of all ages and abilities. There are girls there that have been dancing for years and many new comers as well. Waldo always makes sure to instruct in a way that includes girls from every level of dancing experience, and her efforts do not go unnoticed. During the awards ceremony at the recital, Waldo was surprised with flowers, speeches, and notes from her oldest class of girls who all chipped in to express thanks for everything their teacher does.
The studio will not be in session over the summer, but will start again in the fall for their 12th running recital year.