DanceWorks directors offer dance instruction for all ages including summer dance classes

Karen Martin and Suzie Schnoor — co-directors of DanceWorks — have been dancing since they were 5.

“Both of us have performed professionally,” Martin said. “Whether it be touring around in a group or touring with different shows. Both of us have been at Disney. Suzie was part of the Muppets. I used to be part of a singing and dancing group. I did a lot of industrial shows in New York, industrial films, commercials, movies, music videos.”

Fifteen years ago, Martin and Schnoor first crossed paths. Martin was teaching Schnoors’ 3-year-old daughter at a dance studio she was working for. She also taught Schnoor herself.

“I had an adult tap class that Suzie was in,” Martin said. “Once you’re a dancer, you can just spot someone who has danced before. I would teach a step, and while the rest of the class would be struggling, Suzie was flying across the floor. I told my company that if they needed another teacher, I knew just the person. A few weeks later, a teacher had left, and a spot opened up.”

Martin and Schnoor worked side by side for four years until they decided it was time to move out on their own. This year, DanceWorks will be holding their 9th recital.

DanceWorks currently teaches children from 3 to a woman of 67. They offer ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, point, modern, hip-hop, contemporary and musical theater.

“In the summertime, we’re going to be adding extra specialty classes,” Martin said. “We have done an acrobatic workshop which we hopefully will be putting on the schedule on a regular basis.”

Schnoor said the goal of the studio is for students to learn and have fun.

“We’re a recreational studio,” Schnoor said. “It’s about technique, but it’s about fun. This is a safe comfortable place, a place where they can take risks and not feel judged. No student is valued more than the next. It’s a place where they want to be. The kids are counting down how many days until the end of school, but they’re not counting how many days they have left here in the studio. They don’t want this to end.”

Martin said the most important thing to her and Schnoor is to be able to laugh and have a good time.

“Our students know that we can be serious in class, but they know that we can also be goofy,” she said. “We just want to share our love of dance with the up and coming kids. We want to make it fun for them. We want them to learn technique and proper terminology and everything that goes along with learning dance correctly, but we want it to be done in a fun atmosphere.”

DanceWorks classes normally run from September through May with their recital, but they also offer summer programs that are open to any child that wants to dance.

They will also be having Tapping Tots and Future Stars for ages 3 1/2-5, which is an introductory dance program featuring a different theme and craft each week. There will be a Style Sampler for those interested in trying different styles of dance such as ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip hop. Additionally, DanceWorks will also be holding evening classes.

“We’re in this because this is what we love to do, and we cannot see ourselves doing anything else,” Schnoor said.

DanceWorks is located at 25 Route 31 South in Pennington Shopping Center. Call: (609) (609) 737-7338. On the web: danceworksmercer.com.