News and Press

Fred Astaire Dancer Wins U.S. National Titles

We have our very own Triple Crown Queen at Fred Astaire of Upper Montclair.  Charlotte Carey, along with professional partner Kostadin Bidjourov, won the United States Championships in 3 divisions: Ladies C Open Smooth, Senior Open Smooth and Senior Open Standard.

The 2015 wins mark the 9th United States Pro-Am title for Kostadin Bidjourov and Charlotte Carey!  Congratulations

Congratulations Dancers!

Our competitive team just came home from the 2015 Metropolitan Dancesport Championships, hosted by the Fred Astaire Dance Studios of New York and New Jersey.
This years competitive team shined at the Metropolitan. Be sure to check facebook to see highlights and view the photos from your fellow students and teachers. In attendance this year were: Drew McDonough, Fay Rubin and Sadie Lardner, representing our youth division. Debbie Hebron, Linda Varas, Lekha Keister, and Meg Nacy, our sparkling women.
Special shout out to Sadie Lardner, winning top youth; Linda Varas and Meg Nacy for their placements in Ladies B Scholarships, and Lekha Keister in the Ladies B Advanced Scholarships.
And a very special congratulations to Tim Emmott, winning 6th place Top Teacher, a very challenging job indeed, to make a Top Teacher final with so many amazing Fred Astaire Professionals.
Next Up! Nationals in Atlanta. Go Team! Congratulations to all.

Studio Wins Awards!

The Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Upper Montclair recently was honored at the Fred Astaire of New Jersey Freddy Awards Ball. Shown in the picture above, instructor Tim Emmott (far right) won “Most Dedicated Employee” of New Jersey, Carrie Babcock, owner (far left) , won the prestigious “Joe Josephs” award for excellence in business. Other award winners shown in the picture are students Frank Starret (third from left), Bonnie Probert (4th from left), Debbie Hebron (center next to little girl) and Linda Varas, (third from right). The Fred Astaire Dance Studio celebrates its 16th year in Montclair.

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Upper Montclair Teen Wins World Championship

Upper Montclair resident Haley Bergin has recently won the Open to the World Pro-Am International Latin Championships at the famous Ohio Star Ball in November, 2013. Haley and her professional partner, Vesko Matakov compete all over the country in the International Latin division. The Ohio Star Ball was made famous for it’s PBS-TV broadcast of Championship Ballroom Dancing, and later title AMERICA’S BALLROOM CHALLENGE.

Haley began dancing at Fred Astaire when she was 13 after watching STRICTLY BALLROOM for the 100th time and then watching TAKE THE LEAD and thinking, “oh my, I wish I could do that!” So Haley’s Mom, Linda, took her to Fred Astaire and bought the 3 lesson beginner program, then 5 more, then 10, and then she was hooked! In addition to Latin training with Vesko, Haley does a version of DanceSport 360 training with Vesko, which is an holistic body/fitness/sport training, to ensure optimal health, strength and stamina.

In addition to dancing at Fred Astaire, Haley has been seen as a dancer in a music video for UK singer Tiger La and was recently cast as the lead in an Indy film Seeds of Power which will begin shooting in 2014.


Haley’s twin Michael also takes lessons at Fred Astaire, and her parents decided to get each other lessons for Christmas! Congratulations Haley!


Susan Caridi Farrugia
I started dancing at 50 because of empty nest. It is a great form of exercise. Not only have I lost 55 pounds, it helps my arthritis, reduces my stress and brings joy to my life. Fred Astaire of Upper Montclair has one of the most beautiful ballrooms. Carrie and Kostadin , like family, throw the best parties. Tim my teacher is patient, and understanding we have so much fun. I’ve become a real dancer and even compete. We have the greatest staff always smiling and ready to help. Over the past 10 years I’ve made lifelong friends. Dancing has changed my life. 
I have found my passion in Ballroom Dancing. It makes me feel happy and healthy. Kostadin and Carrie take so much pride in what they do whether it be teaching or throwing the most fabulous parties, shows and competitions.  Their teachers and staff do the same.  I look forward to going to the studio every day.
Copied from our Facebook page!
Gary & I first started dancing years ago as a way to learn how to dance with each other for my eldest daughter’s bat mitzvah. That was 18 years ago!! We keep coming back to dance as a way to come together during a stress-filled, work week and focus on each other. Something just for us. We also enjoy the physical benefits of dance. Getting a workout while learning a new skill can’t be beat. We chose Fred Astaire originally because of location. We kept coming back because the teachers are special here. It feels like family at this point.

Carrie Babcock
Carrie Babcock Define “special” ???

Debra Dubuke Komar
Debra Dubuke Komar When I say special, I mean it in so many ways. The teachers go the extra mile to help us understand how to do that difficult dance step. They make sure we can actually blend the steps together. They push us and encourage us to keep trying. If it‘s not working, they figure out where we are going wrong and how to fix it. They also remember personal details that we have shared with them over the years, They care.
Edward Varipapa

Dancing has been and continues to be a tremendous benefit to my physical, emotional and mental health and well-being. It is apparent to me why are doctors are regularly prescribing it as a healing remedy for various health issues.

Perhaps it’s the unity of music, movement, and the social interaction that has universal appeal while benefiting common heath issues. Maybe dancing is quite simply inherently human.

Why do I dance?
The question seems pretty simple, right? Why do I obsess over my hip action, why would I take lesson after lesson trying to perfect technique, why do I physically and mentally fatigue myself and put myself through the social awkwardness? Why do I love it so?

There are obvious reasons: physical fitness, mental clarity, emotional stability, confidence or quite possibly being able to gracefully guide a woman properly and respectfully across a hard wood floor through a gentle touch.

All of these benefits could be attained by other means. So one does not need dance to acquire sound mind and body. What makes it so glorious that it is more than just intangible, it must be almost imperceptible? It cannot be explained that easy.

One of the most amazing and memorable experiences I have ever participated in was during a group coaching with Carrie Babcock who taught the entire class wearing a mask to hide her facial expressions and showed us how we can express ourselves when words are insufficient. The joy we feel over a new found love, the determination we have on our face displayed through our body, great sorrow or adversity, the passionate fire of burning youth within or the peaceful softer and more graceful years as we progress in our lives. Often when the right words cannot be found they can easily be expressed through our bodies.

Maybe I dance as a simple translator for my heart. Dance is my medium to show the world in an honest manner that I am not just ordinary. I am unique, with many layers of personality and talent woven in such a manner.

Maybe I dance to give me the opportunity to try and remember romance when it was graceful, true and not as forgotten.

Why do we dance? Every question would be different and perhaps it should be. Perhaps the better questions is, Why would I not?

Dancing is my escape from everything.

It gives me joy, confidence, strength and a way to express beauty of life

I dance to save myself. It is a language, we tell in our movements, it is sensual and mental therapy for me.

I will continue this journey for the good of my mind, health, and emotions. My greatest stress reliever is dance.

On the deepest personal level, I am dancing for myself. Trying to let go of some of today’s stresses and embracing that open-hearted overt the top feeling of joy. Dance makes my body feel strong in a much different way than the gym can; my mind is clearer although I do feel the pressure of body alignment, arms action and proper foot and hip placement. I simple dance out of love for this combination of both art and sport.