Erin Judd, of Riverhead, has taught dance across Suffolk County, from Riverhead to Selden to Cutchogue, but she recently decided that the time is right to branch out on her own and when she found a space on Old Riverhead Road in Westhampton Beach, she went for it.
Called Studio East, Judd said her studio, which has an open, warehouse feel, aims to give her students a sence of home and community.
"A feeling of home is really important to me," said Judd, who has a degree in psychology from SUNY New Paltz.
Judd said her students will not only have the opportunity to learn a variety of styles of dance from hip-hop to lyrical, to modern, ballet, jazz and tap, but also become cultured in the art of dance.
"We will take trips to the city to see ballet companies. It is so important for my students not just to learn, for example, modern dance, but to see what it really is. Why take it if you have never seen a really good modern dance? I want them to love the art of dance."
Judd, who has danced since the age of five and studied dance abroad, said she has hired a team of dance teachers who will also strive to keep things new and fresh.
"I have worked for a lot of dance studies where there is nothing new and modern. I want the keep up with the new trends," she said.
And keeping with the trends, one of the latest is dance for adults. More and more parents are signing up for zumba and other dance classes, but find that they have to also dance in a recitle, which they prefer not to do.
That's why Judd said she has opened up modern, hip hop, ballet, yoga, zumba and tap classes for adults, with no recital required. Those classes will be available, said Judd every night of the week with a rotating class on Saturdays.
As with most dance studios, Judd said her studio will have a competition team, which will be small to start, but Judd expects it will grow as her business picks up when more people find out where she is teaching.
"I have a pretty good following," she said. "And I work hard at getting my name out there."
Judd says her marketing strategy includes participating in as many community events as possible.
Looking to the future, Judd said she hopes to expand her dance studio to allow for additional teaching space.
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