News and Press
At Fred Astaire Dance Studios, it’s always exciting when our talented staff & students, and exciting events & locations are celebrated in the media! From local community stories to national news, our goal is to help share the inspiring examples of how the positive and transforming power of dance enriches lives – physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. Browse these links, and perhaps discover something new and engaging about dance. Then, step in to Fred Astaire Dance Studios and experience the joy and confidence that dance lessons can bring to your life.
Fred Astaire Southbury’s Contributions Raise Funding and Awareness For Connecticut Fisher House
Over the past few years, Fred Astaire Southbury, in conjunction with Fred Astaire New England, has lent their support in helping to raise the funds needed to build Connecticut Fisher House which recently held a groundbreaking ceremony to start construction. Fred Astaire Dance Studios of New England raised over $280,000.00 toward this vital project which will provide comfort and support for military and veterans families.
As part of Fred Astaire Studios New England, Fred Astaire Southbury participated in two Dancing With Our Heroes Galas.The proceeds of these fundraising events were donated to Friends of Fisher House Connecticut for the construction of a Fisher House on the grounds of West Haven VA Hospital. Fisher House Foundation nationwide provides a network of comfort homes where military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one receives specialized medical care at a nearby facility.
The Dancing With Our Heroes events spotlighted ballroom and latin dancing competitions featuring military men and women who were partnered with professional dance instructors from Fred Astaire Dance Studios of New England. Fred Astaire Southbury donated studio time, instructors and a total of 20 free lessons to the competing military members for their dance training. Fred Astaire Southbury co-owner Paulo Jorge also donated his time and talents to the creation of the brochures for both Dancing With Our Heroes galas. The events included dinner, silent auction, and a professionally choreographed show along with the competition for best dance team.
“The Dancing with our Heroes events were a tremendous success in support of Friends of Fisher House”, said Fred Astaire Southbury co-owner, Christian Lange. “We are so proud and honored to have been part of this tremendous effort and the positive impact it will have on military veterans and their families”.
“We want to thank the veterans who participated in our Dancing With our Heroes event and all who were able to join in celebrating the start of the Fisher House at the West Haven campus of the VA Connecticut Healthcare System. We were so honored to share this special moment with our Southbury community, and are so grateful for the support of all our New England dance studios have provided in making this home a reality. We expect this new Fisher House will continue the tradition of providing care, comfort and compassion for Veterans’ families for years to come -because of your support.” said proudly by co-owner, Paulo Jorge.
At the April 11th groundbreaking ceremony for Fisher House a plaque recognizing their generosity was presented to Fred Astaire New England Studios.
FRED ASTAIRE SOUTHBURY SCORES STANDOUT AWARDS AT NEW ENGLAND DANCESPORT COMPETITION
Co-Owner/Director Wins Professional World Smooth Championship
Both instructors and students from Fred Astaire Southbury captured everyone’s attention and garnered a series of outstanding awards with a spectacular selection of dances and showcases at the New England Dance Sport Competition which took place Thursday, March 9th through Saturday, March 11th at the Mystic Marriott Hotel & Spa in Mystic CT.
Christian Lange, co-owner/director at Fred Astaire Southbury and Nevena Urosevic, owner/instructor at Fred Astaire Trumbull dazzled the crowd and electrified the judges with their breathtaking waltz, easily winning the Closed American Smooth Bronze & Silver Championship. Their elegant style and gracefully fluid movements left no doubt in the judges’ minds that Lange and Urosovic had no equal in their exquisite performance. Lange has won several prestigious professional titles in the Smooth category, most recently the World Championship Silver American Smooth Closed competition in Las Vegas last August.
Fred Astaire Southbury’s students and instructors also had a stellar weekend at the Mystic competitions with several superb performances that earned top awards. In 1st Place: Beth Gagnon/Christian Lange (Social Bronze Closed Smooth 3-Dance Championship); Karen Gagnon/Vladimir Serbulenco (Social Bronze Closed Rhythm); Sharon Citrin Goldstein/Vladimir Serbulenco (Advanced Bronze Closed Rhythm); Karen Prince/Christian Lange (Jive Showcase); Steven Prince/Amanda Meadow (Quickstep Showcase) and Amanda Meador (choreographer)/Beth Gagnon/Shirley Jakobowski/Linda Landry/Karen Prince/ Jane Smith (Cell Block Tango! Formation).
1st Place Children’s Division: Five-year-old Lara Pereira Catão for her beautifully executed performance in Smooth in her very first competition.
2nd Place Awards included: Consuelo Medrano/Vladimir Serbulenco (Social Bronze Closed Smooth 3-Dance Championship); Karen Gagnon/Vladimir Serbulenco (Social (Bronze Smooth 3-Dance Championship); Vera Maltsev/ Christian Lange (Open Smooth Championship); Sharyn Maclelland/Christian Lange (Silver Closed Smooth 4-Dance Championship) and Amanda Meador/ Damiano Scarfi (Professional American Mixed Novice)
Professionals Ivana Strancaric and Vladimir Serbulenco were among the top finalists, taking a strong 3rd place in the Closed American Rhythm Bronze and Silver Division. Student finalists were John Tillman, Consuelo Medrano, Monika Szenk and Mark Gagnon who all performed skillfully in several categories.
Saturday evening was set aside for the competition’s celebratory banquet during which special awards were bestowed. Banquet Awards included: Most Spirited School; Southbury and South Windsor; Top Female Award: Amanda Meador; Top Male Award; Vladimir Serbulenco. The much anticipated Honor Dance was performed by Closed American Smooth Bronze & Silver Championship winners Christian Lange and Nevena Urosevic who reprised their winning waltz.
“We could not be more proud of our students and instructors for their exemplary performances at the Mystic Competition, earning them so many well deserved awards.” said Lange. “We have had the privilege of watching them grow and develop as dancers and it gives us great satisfaction to see their progress with each competition. Many of our students are now training for the Las Vegas Championships being held this summer and we are very excited to help them prepare for their performances which we know are going to be really terrific.”
While enjoyment of dancing is the key mission of Fred Astaire Studios, social awareness and philanthropic efforts are also an important part of their mission. “New England Dance Sport Competition organizers donated $1.00 per entry to food banks in each city with a participating Fred Astaire Studio,” said Fred Astaire Southbury co-owner Paulo Jorge. “Our studio donated an additional $300 for Southbury ’s food bank to help those in our own town who are in need”.
Fred Astaire Southbury Supports Conquer Cholesterol Event for Women’s Health
The Southbury Fred Astaire Dance Studio extends personal thanks to its students, staff and everyone who contributed to the success of the “Conquer Cholesterol” event in support of Saint Mary’s Hospital Waterbury Spirit of Women on February 25th at Aria Wedding & Banquet Facility by Villa Rosa. The excellent turnout and inspiring atmosphere assured the event’s overwhelming success.
Guest speaker Dr. Rebecca Scandrett, interventional cardiologist with Franklin Medical Group Cardiology, an affiliate of Saint Mary’s Hospital, presented an informative program, “Lowering Your Risk Is Easier Than You Think: Conquer Cholesterol.” Dr. Sandrett talked about the benefits of a good diet, healthy lifestyle and enjoyable exercise like ballroom dancing to lower high cholesterol and help prevent the risk of heart disease and stroke.
It was very clear that all of the guests had a wonderful time, and many remarked how refreshing it was to attend an event where there were a lot of helpful recommendations about conquering cholesterol.
Several Fred Astaire students, including Dr. Rose Yu Chin, a psychiatrist in Southbury, Connecticut, generously danced with Christian Lange, a co-owner/director and professional dance teacher of the Fred Astaire Southbury studio, to show how easy and gratifying it is to enhance one’s health and enjoyment through the benefits of ballroom dancing. Dr. Chin said dancing has had an extremely positive effect on her own life and overall well being.
Southbury resident Karen Montini, who is in discussion with the Dance Network to start a reality show, danced a dazzling salsa with Fred Astaire dance teacher Vladimir Serbulenco. The evening was also filled with exciting dance performances by Fred Astaire Southbury professionals including national American Smooth champions and finalists Christian Lange and Nevena Urosevic, Kristofer Speer and Amanda Meador. Ms. Meador, an accomplished dance choreographer and wedding specialist, led the audience in a lively salsa group class to get them in the spirit of ballroom dancing.
“It’s really important for our community to prevent high cholesterol, dementia and other diseases. An enjoyable and fulfilling pastime like ballroom dancing is a great way to get exercise and enjoy its many beneficial effects,” said Paulo Jorge, co-owner and director of the Fred Astaire Southbury studio. Mr. Jorge explained that ballroom dance improves the cardiovascular system, increases muscle tone and burns calories. It’s a low-impact aerobic activity that also increases flexibility, strength, and balance. He noted that Olympic athletes often dance as part of their training to sharpen their control, agility, and speed. “Dancing is great exercise, and the Fred Astaire Southbury Studio offers a pleasurable, entertaining atmosphere in which to learn. Don’t allow heart disease to interrupt life unexpectedly,” said Mr. Jorge. “Take time to care for your heart and dance. It’s one of life’s greatest pleasures.”
Fred Astaire Dance Studio is located at 316 Main Street South, Suite F and G in Southbury, Connecticut. For more informations please contact us at (203) 267-7600 or visit us at www. fadssouthbury.com
Wedding Waltz or Marriage Mambo?
“When couples watch their wedding video, they want to look back with pride at their wedding
dance, not embarrassment because they were awkward or because they tripped on the gown,”
says Paul Millington, owner of a Fred Astaire Dance Studio, a franchised dance company with
studios throughout the country. “Now couples are hiring a highly skilled dance teacher to
choreograph all the right moves so they cascade across the dance floor like pros. It takes a lot of
rehearsal but it’s a ton of fun and a great way to distress from planning a wedding! Plus, you’d
be surprised that the men have just as much fun as the women, even if they had to be dragged
Dance Like the Stars At Your Wedding
The Pros at Fred Astaire Dance Studios created this list of 8 critical questions couples need to
ask BEFORE they choose a wedding song/dance.
1) What’s the wedding date? – Most couples need two to three months of instruction and
practice so they know the dance automatically without thinking about it.
2) What dress will bride wear? – Is there a long train? What about shoes and high heels?
The couple should practice dancing in the wedding clothes so they learn to avoid
3) DJ or band? – With a DJ, the choreographers can make a special cut of the music that
makes it easier for a dance. Bands are trickier because performers often play their own
song renditions. Couples should practice dancing with the band so they know their
dance matches the band’s version of the song.
4) What kind of dance? Fred Astaire Dance Studio pros say most couples pick out their
song right away, but they have no idea how to dance to it. Choreographers will help a
couple pick a dance that works with the song. Or if the couple has a dance style in mind,
choreographers can pick a song to match the dance.
5) How many guests and how big is the dance floor? Choreographers want to map out a
dance so the couple faces the main audience most of the time. They’ll plan a dance
around the layout of the room, the space and the location of the guests.
6) Photographer or Videographer? – Once couples know the dance, they need to meet
with photographers and videographers so these pros know where to stand for the
7) Announcement of the bride and groom? Fred Astaire dance pros recommend couples
dance when they first arrive so their guests can enjoy the dance and then move onto
food and conversation. Otherwise, guests are caught off guard, in the middle of their
8) How long is the dance? – Dance pros say the wedding dance song should be no longer
than a minute thirty to two minutes. This reduces the stress on the couple, particularly
the groom who may be making his dance debut before a crowd. Plus, after two
minutes, guests can get antsy and bored.
About Fred Astaire Dance Studios®
Co‐founded in 1947 by the legendary Fred Astaire, our studios set the standard of excellence in
dance instruction. Fred Astaire Dance Studios has Ballroom and Latin style dance lessons for all
ages and abilities in a fun, friendly atmosphere. Our unique method of instruction will allow you
to learn dances from the Foxtrot to Salsa faster and more easily than you could anywhere else.
Our mission is to enrich the lives of anyone and everyone who is associated with our company
and to become your community dance studio.
Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Southbury is located at 316 Main Street South, Suite F and G
or you can contact us at (203)2677600 and visit www.fadssouthbury.com
Fred Astaire Southbury celebrates their successes at New England Regional Championships
The strengths and talent of Fred Astaire Southbury really shined through the New England Regional Fred Astaire 32nd Tri-Star Championships, held at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino, the week of November 14, 2015.
With over 20 Fred Astaire Dance Studios participating and challenging each other on the ballroom floor, the competition is a very positive experience. Students meet, mingle and compete with other student dancers in order to feel accomplished and confident as dancers. Participating in these competition events gives every student and student/teacher team the opportunity to progress more rapidly in their dance endeavors and have fun along the way!
In the single dances, which are danced through out the day, Fred Astaire Southbury students collected an impressive number of first places. In the championships rounds we congratulate our newcomer student Caleigh Petrillo for taking first place in Social Bronze Closed Smooth 3-Dance Championship. The smooth dances were Foxtrot, Waltz and Tango. Congratulations also go to Shirley Jakobowski for taking second place in Silver Closed Rhythm in Rumba, Chacha, Swing, and Bolero. She took first place with Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot in the Advanced Bronze Closed Smooth 3 – Dance Championship. Fred Astaire Southbury students seem to agree that competing in ballroom dancing ensures a great time as well as a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.
“It was very interesting to see how people join our dance studio as social dancers and months later they are dressed up in beautiful ballroom gowns and then compete against the whole region” said both directors Christian Lange and Paulo Jorge with proud hearts.
Fred Astaire Southbury student Shirley Jakobowski was also recognized 3rd place among the top female competing students. The award is determined by the quantity of single dances, combined with the scores of each dance.
We are also proud of our professionals Ivana Strancaric and Vladimir Serbulenco who made into the finals, and placed 4th in Closed American Rhythm Bronze & Silver Division, and 5th in Closed American Smooth Bronze & Silver Division. Congratulations go to Christian Lange, studio co-director, and his dance partner Nevana Jovanovic for becoming New England Regional Champions in Open American Smooth. Most of the championships consist of 20 or more competitive couples.
We give a big thank you to all our friends and students, who took the effort to attend the event and cheer on our students.
For more information on the Tri-Star Championships, the Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Southbury, or for more answers about ballroom dance lessons please contact the studio at (203) 267-7600 or at www.fadssouthbury.com . Our studio is located at 316 Main Street South, Suite F and G , Southbury, Connecticut.
Waltzing back into action
BY JOAN LOWNDS | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
For Christian Lange, it was impossible to stay away from the world of dance —- specifically, the seamlessly elegant “American Smooth” style popularized by Fred Astaire. Lange, a champion dancer, had begun performing in his native Germany at age 4.
After moving to the U.S., Lange and his partner, Paulo Jorge, became the owners of the Fred Astaire Studios in Southbury and South Windsor, and Lange retired from the stage in 2011 —- to concentrate on teaching and management. When both studios were successfully launched, Lange found he could not resist the urge to return to dancing.
“Both studios are running well now, so I decided to come out of retirement because I enjoy dancing so much that I wanted to share it one more time with a dance partner,” said Lange, who will perform with Jennifer Kirksmith at a show sponsored by Premier Ballroom Dance on Saturday at the Holy Trinity Greek Church Community Center in Bridgeport.
“I booked them over the Memorial holiday weekend because of their huge following in Connecticut, and the interest surrounding them,” said Robert Beslove, manager of Premier Ballroom Dance. “It should be a classy show.”
Lange and Kirksmith, a native of Dallas who was classically trained in ballet, are fresh off a successful competition for the Fred Astaire National title in Atlanta in April.
“We danced our third competition there, in the nationals, and got directly into the Rising Star finals, which makes us a Fred Astaire National Rising Star finalist,” Lange said.
He described their specialty, “American Smooth,” as a combination of “waltz, tango, foxtrot and Viennese waltz.”
With the results of the Atlanta competition, Lange is picking up where he left off. The Leipzig native was a 10 Dance champion in Germany in 1997, which entails competing in 10 types of dances ranging from waltz to rumba and jive.
He was also a North American Rising Start finalist in 2009 and North American Rising Star champion in 2010; and placed as a finalist several times at the prestigious American Dance Sport championships; along with several other titles and awards.
“And I was the first East German dancer at a combined German championship who got into a German final after the Berlin Wall came down in 1989,” Lange said.
Lange, a Stratford resident, said the success of his two Fred Astaire studios in Connecticut is synonymous with a national trend, which has been fueled by the popularity of the TV shows “Dancing with the Stars” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”
“Because of the media, people everywhere want to dance,” Lange said. “Also, people have started seeing ballroom dancing more and more as a combination of art and sport. So they have started replacing the gym with ballroom dancing, especially when they become a bit more competitive.”
Last year, the nonprofit USA Dance Inc. described the growth in the popularity of dancing as “explosive,” and reported a 35 percent increase in the number of people taking lessons and attending ballroom events over the past 10 years, on its website. The fastest growing segment was reported to be youth, with college students making up a large part of the new memberships.
What are the qualities that make a good ballroom dancer?
“It is all about the music and emotional connection to your partner and the dance,” Lange said. “I believe that everyone can learn how to become a beautiful dancer. All it takes is having the heart in the right place and a passion for music and movement. Everything else can be taught and learned.”
Dance To Remember
SOUTHBURY/SOUTH WINDSOR — The Fred Astaire Dance Studios are offering couples the chance to feel confident and look great when they dance together for the first time as man and wife.
The lessons are also a great resources for members of the wedding party, including the parents of the bride and groom.
Vincent de Luise, M.D., and his wife, Debra Hinck, agreed to take dance lessons with their daughter and future son-in-law at the Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Southbury and South Windsor, 316 Main Street South, Suite F & G, Southbury, CT 06488 and 1735 Ellington Road, South Windsor, CT 06074.
Dr. de Luise explained, “At most of the weddings we’ve attended, there is a father-daughter dance and the mother of the bride usually dances with the groom. We love our daughter and wanted to make sure she’d be proud of us so we put some polish on our steps.”
He said the family more than accomplished its goal of looking good on the dance floor in front of family and friends, practicing at the studio as individual couples and together as a foursome.
He added, “Annie was an excellent teacher, very positive and engaging.”
Instructor Annie Rockhill said, “Every time I meet a new couple preparing for their wedding, there are so many emotions surrounding them. Whenever they spend time here learning to dance, any nerves and stress go away and they begin to relax and have fun together.”
Studio owner Paulo Jorge explained, “We want you and your guests to remember your dance long after the wedding is over. Our instructors are not only trained and certified in various ballroom styles, but they have a diverse dance background in hip hop, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap and ballet.”
He added, “Dancing as a couple is a different skill than dancing on your own and we are here to make it simple and fun. We don’t put you in a box! If your song is a waltz, we might do some waltz moves but we won’t limit the choreography for the sake of tradition. We know all the hot moves if you want to dance to ‘Marry the Night’ or ‘Gagnam Style’.”
After one of the private lessons, the family stayed for the dance party that the studio offers each week to give students an opportunity to dance with each other and just have fun.
“It was a very good time and I’d recommend the experience to any couple that’s thinking of getting married or has children getting married.”
Ms. Rockhill noted, “Once couples realize how much fun they can have together during their time at the studio, it is important for them to make time after the wedding to continue dance lessons. It is a great way for couples to spend quality time where they have fun and can work together. Dance lessons do not just have to prepare couples for their wedding dance, but also for the rest of their lives together.”
Dr. de Luise said he appreciated the opportunity to learn a new skill set. “It’s an art form and we enjoyed what we learned. We’ll use those moves when we attend future events with a dance floor.”
Fred Astaire Dance Studios offers private and group wedding dance lessons in both Southbury and South Windsor and a flexible appointment system to accommodate busy schedules.
More information is available at www.dancetoremember.com or by emailing email@example.com.