The dancers at The Dance Connection may not all be bound for Hollywood, but Hollywood will be bound for some of them when break-dancing star Matt Steffanina visits the school on Aug. 26.
Steffanina will lead the school’s gymnastics, ballet and break-dancing intensive, a period of concentrated study that runs from Aug. 26 to Aug. 30 at the school at 1 Jill Court.
Steffanina has danced for artists such as Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, Jermaine Jackson, Snoop Dogg, DJ Tiesto and Busta Rhymes. He’s also performed on the hit television shows So You Think You Can Dance and The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. He also has danced on Bravo TV and on numerous television shows in Europe and Asia.
“Of all the break-dancers I’ve spoken to, Matt has the best personality for teaching,” David Kieffer, owner of The Dance Connection and a former professional dancer, said. “He’s worked with a lot of different groups. He’s a nice guy and the kids are going to love him.”
Kieffer said Steffanina has taught children as young as kindergartners. He’s spent the past eight years teaching all over the world, and currently is on staff teaching hip hop at the Millennium Dance Complex and the International Dance Academy, both in Los Angeles.
“This is a chance to learn a different style of dance,” said Kieffer. “It’s a chance to move in a different, more gymnastic style. It’s a different feeling.”
The Gymnastics, Ballet and Break-dancing Intensive is open to dancers from 18 months old to high school. The program focuses on break-dancing and gymnastics, although students will take a ballet class each morning. There are different levels and placement is required for some of those levels to assure that dancers are at similar experience levels.
More information and registration information is available at (908) 874-8800.
Kieffer said the dance program helps build muscle strength, coordination and self-confidence. He fell in love with dancing as a student at SUNY at New Paltz. Always athletic, he found dance to be a challenge and much more exciting than other facets of theater he’d been studying. He danced for 10 years with companies in New York City and Tel Aviv, and appeared in a small part in the movie, Center Stage.
After winding down his theater career, Kieffer decided to pass his love for dance on through teaching. He taught students at New York University and private students around the Tristate Area. About seven years ago, he was teaching at the Dance Connection when a series of events occurred that allowed him to purchase the studio.
Today, The Dance Connection has classes for dancers of all ages and abilities. Classes are available in ballet, jazz, hip-hop, tap, theater and lyrical. There are combination classes and classes for boys and young men. The studio is an official Angelina Ballerina Dance Academy and is home to the New Jersey Youth Ballet.
Classes are taught in the Dance Connection’s 2,400-square-foot space with two studios and professional-grade dance floors and sound equipment. Located in Hillsborough, the Dance Connection serves Somerset County. More information is available at www.danceconnectionnj.com or by calling (908) 874-8800.