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Making Memories

Local studio performs 20th anniversary recital

May 23, 2010
By RODNEY MINOR, The Leader-Herald

Susan Sanford's School of Dance in Amsterdam performed its 20th anniversary recital Saturday at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.

Sue Dygon, the owner and primary instructor at the school, said Tuesday that however the students perform, it is important to her that they have fun.

"Hopefully, it will inspire them to realize that nothing is out of their reach if they want it," she said.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Rodney Minor

Sue Dygon, the owner and primary instructor at Susan Sanford’s School of Dance in Amsterdam, instructs some of her students during a rehearsal Tuesday at Broadalbin-Perth High?School.

Dygon, who was watching some of her students rehearse for the show Tuesday in the Broadalbin-Perth High School auditorium, said she takes some pride in the fact that her students get to enjoy performing on the stage at Proctors. The fact that they can rehearse in a comfortable environment, such as B-P High School, also helps.

"For students, it's the best of both worlds," she said.

Graduating students

It also was a special show for her, as it marked the 20th recital her dance studio has had since she took it over from her mother. Of the approximately 225 students that performed, 19 are expected to graduate from high school this year. Some of those students have been learning from her for 15 years, she said.

"I've grown quite attached to them," she said.

In addition to her students, about 14 guests were slated to perform Saturday. The guests, many former students, planned to do a Salsa routine. She said the idea was inspired by an exchange student from the Dominican Republic who taught the Jazz class about Salsa.

Dygon said the idea of doing a Salsa routine worked for her and the students. The students love to try new things, she said, and she enjoyed the challenge it presented.

"Sometimes the crazier the idea, the more fun it is for me," she said with a laugh.

Sally Clemente of Broadalbin used to dance with Dygon's mother. Clemente's daughter, after undergoing knee surgery in 2006, is getting back to dancing with Dygon.

Clemente said Dygon is a wonderful instructor.

"[Dygon] lets everyone dance. A student doesn't need to have the highest skills," she said.

Dygon said she was able to take several of her students to Atlantic City, N.J., in January to learn from well-known instructors, including some who have appeared on the TV show "So You Think You Can Dance?"

While the instruction for the students was excellent, she said, the experience also provided them with an important reminder that there is a larger world of dance than what they have been exposed to in the area.

"Not all of these [students] will be dancers," Dygon said, motioning to the stage where some of her students were rehearsing. "Some, they just enjoy it and have fun. But, we try to open the door for those who want more out of it."

Raised dancing

Kelsey Rasefske, a freshman at B-P High School, has been a student of Dygon's since she was in kindergarten. She was on the trip to Atlantic City and said she enjoyed it.

A student-teacher for Dygon, Rasefske said dancing has provided her with a way to meet new people and express herself.

Dygon's mother owned the studio for 35 years before Dygon took over, so she was raised dancing.

However, she did not plan on being a dance instructor when she was younger.

"I saw how hard my mom worked," Dygon said. "I said I would never do this for a living."

She said one of the things she loves most about instructing is seeing how inspired the students and their family members get and the significant amount of time they will put into getting ready to perform.

Her husband, son and daughter all were expected to take part in the recital Saturday.

"They are [participating] because they want to," she said. She also laughed and noted, "Although [her children] complain when there are other things going on [they want to do], as all kids do."

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