At the age of 27, Amanda Grace has already accumulated quite a resume as a professional choreographer, coach, dancer and host. Now she can add owner/artistic director of Flair Dance Academy & Yoga Center.
A dancer for 17 years, Grace recently opened Flair Dance Academy at 236 South Branch Road, offering a full range of classes for all ages in such genres as ballet, Pointe, lyrical/contemporary, tap, jazz, theater dance and hip hop, as well as a variety of yoga offerings (including community yoga for ages 12 and up) and family yoga (ages 7 and up).
“This was the logical next step in my career,” the Middlesex Borough resident explained. “I always knew this was what I wanted to do. I wanted to start from the ground up and wanted the pride of creating my own students.”
After working at a dance studio (she started teaching at age 16), Grace began auditioning right after high school. She has since performed for four different sports teams–the New York Knicks, the New York Titans, the New Jersey Ironmen and the New Jersey Devils (where she is choreographer, director and in-game host on the giant scoreboard at the Prudential Center). She has been in “Cats” for Plays in the Park in Edison and is choreographing the troupe’s summer production of “Grease”.
In June 2010 Grace created her own dance company, Urban Flair, which provides professionally trained dancers for events.
“I like creating the stars, being behind the scenes. I love choreography and teaching. My passion is sharing the knowledge,” she said.
When her father Louis, a Hillsborough resident, told her about space available on South Branch Road, she immediate “fell in love with it.” Since the site had been offering yoga classes, she arranged to incorporate those into the class offerings. She added a top-of-the-line professional dance floor, turned one room into a homework room, set up a dressing room and put a video screen in the waiting room so parents can observe class activities.
Flair–the name of the dance company and the dance school–are reflections of Grace’s style and approach to dancing. “As a performer, I was always told I had flair and sass about me. I think it’s important to add your own little flair to whatever you do,” she added.
When it comes to dancing, she sees each student as an individual.
“I like to see the potential in everyone and to be able to bring out the best in them,” Grace explained. While she teaches many of the classes herself; other classes are taught by a professional ballet and lyrical dance teacher and a USA certified gymnastic coach.
She also believes it is important to give back and plans to make Flair an integral part of the community. In addition to coaching and choreographing the Somerset Patriots Dance Team, she offers Rainbow League, a free class for special needs children.
While choreographing on Broadway is on her “to do” list, Grace is now focusing on growing the dance school with the vision of someday opening up more Flair Dance Academies.
More information about Flair Dance Academy & Yoga Center can be found at its website.