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Dance performance benefits high school theater program

PINE PLAINS — The Stissing Mountain High School auditorium was filled at the Stissing Loft School of Dance’s 30th dance recital Saturday, June 6.

The group is 48 dancers strong and led by Carolann Frenzel, who owns the studio.

The studio dancers, who range from ages 2 to adult, have been working toward this recital since September, when the season started.

The event is always held at the high school, and each year the dances center around a different theme. This year, to celebrate year 30, the routines and numbers have all been culled from previous recitals.

The proceeds from the event will benefit the Stissing Theatre Guild, the high school’s drama group. The recital is always a benefit performance, Frenzel explained, and since the guild’s inception 14 years ago it has always been the recipient.

“I think theater and dance is just so important,” Frenzel said. “It teaches so much more than acting. You learn teamwork.”

Frenzel herself started dancing when she was 3. Eventually she went to New York City, where she became a teacher, then working for five years in Beacon before coming to Pine Plains and opening her own studio. She’s been in town ever since.

“Now we have in this recital the children and grandchildren of dancers I had 30 years ago,” she said, smiling. “I think they have fun, and there’s something they carry on throughout life: a love of rhythm and dance. There’s nothing better than going to a party and dancing.”

“Dance class is just a lot of fun,” said Haleigh Funk. “The teachers are all really nice and I just love to dance!” Haleigh couldn’t pick just one particular part of the upcoming recital as her favorite; they all held a special place for her.

Classes usually run once a week, and there are four teachers to handle the different age groups. Frenzel has stepped back from her role in the studio, and says teacher Sarah Funk has been running most of the dancing program in recent years.

“Thirty years here is very gratifying,” she said. “Even when the studio wasn’t making that much money, people have always come to me; we’ve had to have volunteer teachers some years.”

Through the ups and downs Frenzel has stuck with the program, and watched the community do the same.

“I’d like to thank Sarah and my family, as well as the community for supporting me all these years,” she said. “The feedback I get is very humbling. It gives you a sense of accomplishment that in tough times you can bring a little bit of happiness to people.”

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