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Meet the Owner: Dancer Lives up to Legacy and Keeps Studio One Step Ahead

Sandra Moletto, owner of Kings Park Dance has danced with some of the best, but her heart led her back home to the place she began.

 

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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Marissa September 26, 2012 at 07:32 PM
My sister and I danced at KPDC for 14 years (1985-1999) during a period of time when some of the very best dancers in LI competed. I am proud of my KPDC roots. My love for dance cultivated by Ms. Connie and Sandra has never left me. It makes me proud to see how far KPDC has come in 25 years. Much Love!
Kristen Ciavolella September 27, 2012 at 04:38 AM
I started dancing at KPDC when I was 3 years old. I danced there for 15 years, up until the day I had to leave for my first year of college this past summer. The love I have for that studio is beyond comparison! KPDC is my home and my family, forever<3 I couldn't have asked for a better experience in dance. Every year, each member of our family progressed such a great amount due to all the hard work of my wonderful dance teacher Miss Sandra and the rest of the motivated staff! At my last nationals this summer we even won a 7 and a half foot trophy that proudly stands in the lobby of KPDC! Being away at college is so hard sometimes BECAUSE I miss dancing THERE so much! Dancing anywhere else just wouldn't compare to how I feel dancing at KPDC, with my team. I am very happy to say that I am on a little college break and I went to take class tonight (because I've missed it so much) with my teammates and Miss Sandra and yet again I watched how everyone is still getting better and better!! There is always a huge spot in my heart for KPDC that no one or thing could ever replace! I love you, KPDC, forever. You are always home to me and I cannot even begin to thank you enough for ALL the things you've taught me! I would not be the person I am today without KPDC!<3
angela blanchet September 27, 2012 at 01:10 PM
I danced with Sandra when KPDC started 25 years ago. It is an incredible feeling to walk into the studio today and see how it's still going strong!! Sandra and Nick are a great team and they put their hearts and souls into this studio. I am so proud to say HAPPY 25Th ANNIVERSARY!!
Kings Park Dance Center September 27, 2012 at 02:17 PM
Thank you to the community for all of your support over the last amazing 25 years. It has been the greatest journey anyone could ask for. We love seeing all of the kids grow into great people and dancers. We are so excited for the future. Much love to all!!!
Sean Lehmann September 28, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Sandra and Nick treat everyone like they are part their own family. They are caring, generous and community-minded people. The recitals and dance teams are a sight to see. My daughter started there last year and loves it.

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