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For the love of dance

For more than 50 years, Fay Schanne has been hosting dance programs.

This month’s recital at Seneca High School focused on crazy Crayola crayon colors.

“We try to make the recital a really interesting program to everybody that comes to see it,” said Schanne, owner of Fay Schanne Dance Studio in Shamong.

There were two performances—Saturday night and Sunday afternoon—and each lasted about two and a half hours, she said.

The students wore colors that matched the funky Crayola shades—Midnight Blue, Macaroni and Cheese and even Alien Armpit.

For Macaroni and Cheese, some dancers dressed as macaroni and others as cheese. One of the fathers volunteered to be the chef.

“We mixed them all up and made macaroni and cheese,” she said.

The youngest dancers on board dressed as Cotton Candy Pink.

“We have a tradition that the little ones, the ones we call the 3-year-olds (though now 4-year-olds mostly), they always wear a little tutu,” Schanne said.

For their tap dance, they were the color Fuzzy Wuzzy.

The hip-hop number mixed even more colors—Shocking Pink, Steel Blue, Laser Yellow and Screaming Green.

The idea to center the recital on crayon colors came from one of Schanne’s dancers, whom she said teaches the hip-hop class.

Crayola crayons, Schanne said, has many “exotic, funny, beautiful” names. After a run through of the listing of names, they decided on which ones fit the program and put dances to the lucky crayon colors.

Coming up with new ideas for recital themes is “always a challenge,” she said.

“We went with the idea of ‘color outside the lines,’” she said. “When you dance you want to take a chance and go outside the line.”

And in the case of the recital, it was a success.

“It was fun,” she said. “The girls had a great time with it.”

To break up the program, the studio employs “fun dances” to break from the discipline of other dance forms, such as classical ballet.

“We don’t buy another costume,” she said. “We try to find something that we have in our closets.”

“The girls enjoy that so much,” she added, as do the friends and family in the audience.

“Hopefully they find that it makes it a fun, interesting program,” she said.

Dancing helps the youngsters to exceed in the classroom, too.

“These people are excellent students in school,” she said. “To me, (dancing) teaches them so much about focusing and learning to find the time to do everything that they want to do.”

“Once you start ballet, you learn a great amount of discipline,” she said. “The dancing is such a discipline art. It just carries on into their life with whatever they’re going to do.”

While many of her students do not go on to become professional dancers, Schanne said that they carry a “great love” and pass it on to their own children.

“Some of them still go to classes,” she added.

Schanne herself is a lifelong dancer.

“I started dance as a little girl,” she said, before quitting for a time.

“And then I realized later that I wanted to go back very badly,” she laughed.

She calls ballet her first love and even follows ballet companies.

“I got very involved in all of the other forms as I went along,” she said, noting the Spanish flamenco dance, step and jazz.

According to her website, she is a lifelong board member of the Pineland Players—the local theatre group. The players do refreshments for the recital and the money earned goes toward the scholarship fund.

This year, one of her dancers won the scholarship.

Dance camp is coming up soon at the studio—from July 9 to July 13.

“Alexandra (Stephan) and a couple of my older dancers are going to be junior counselors,” she said. “It’s been great fun. They do it for a week.”

The studio is host to approximately 150 local dancers.

“It’s so gratifying that the ones that have gone off to college – if they happen to come back—they want to be involved,” she said. “Once you graduate, you don’t ever leave.”

To learn more about Fay Schanne Dance Studio, visit www.fayschanne.com, call (609) 268-0501 or email info@fayschanne.com. The studio is located at 414 Oak Shade Road in Shamong.