She has danced with the Joffrey Ballet, choreographed for the Knicks City Dancers and was asked to dance on Broadway, but Sandra Moletto’s internal compass was always leading her somewhere else; home.
Moletto is the owner of a business she runs with her husband Nick and though her time on the stage was wonderful, she knew deep inside what she really wanted was to teach children to dance at the studio her mother, Connie Campagnolo, began 25 years ago.
“I’ve been a dancer since I was two,” said Moletto, as her own two-year old daughter, Chance, dances around her. “I had to decide what I wanted and I decided what I wanted was to teach kids,”
Moletto grew up in Kings Park, attended high school here and now lives in Fort Salonga. She worked at her mother’s studio as a teen and still gives instruction today. On the day we spoke, the center was celebrating its 25th anniversary.
Moletto thinks her mother, who is still alive, is amazed by the legacy.
“I don’t think she thought it would get this big,” she said.
Kids come from East Setauket, Stony Brook, Bayshore and Sayville, to dance at the studio, said Moletto. “One even comes from Nassau County,” she said.
Kings Park Dance is one of three studios in Kings Park, all located very close to one another. How does she compete?
“I think we all have our own niches we specialize in,” said Moletto. “We are known for a very strong competition team.”
The center recently won National Champions out of 49 studios that competed. They also boast some famous alumni.
Chris Messina and Torrey DeVitto, both attended class at Kings Park Dance and have gone on to careers in television. Messina now co-stars in Fox's new show, "The Mindy Project. DeVitto played the character Carrie, on The CW drama series, "One Tree Hill".
"The reward of seeing the kids who started their careers in dance and when they come back and thank us for what we have given them, that's what makes it worth it," she said.
Moletto studied with Mia Michaels and Tyce Diorio, both one-time judges for the reality television show, “So You Think You Can Dance”. Several of the show's cast members have come back to teach master classes at the studio.
The studio also has a large all boys program with male instructors who teach hip-hop, break dancing, tap and acro and is a favorite of her eight-year old son Nicholas.
“Having a male instructor is a huge help. They learn by watching other boys and see that they aren’t in a leotard or tutu,” said Moletto.
To counter that they also offer a princess program, which was inspired by Moletto’s two-year old daughter.
“We start the program working on separation from mom. We work on fine motor, balance, coordination, musicality and rhythmic skills.”
The center has a four separate studios and a warm and inviting waiting area where parents can watch their children dance on large screen televisions. One of their most popular classes is the Glee class where kids sing and dance.
As for working in the town she grew up in and still resides, Moletto said she loves it.
“I walk down the street and see people who have danced here or their child did. It is wonderful.”
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