By Sara Ventimiglia
Meridian Times staff writer
From April 3rd to the 10th, 24 dancers from Ann’s School of Dance and their families went on a Carnival cruise through the western Caribbean. This was more than just a cruise for these dancers, an experience of a lifetime. They were able to perform onstage for a live audience.
Nicolas Sanchez has been teaching hip-hop at Ann’s School of Dance for three years now.
“I choreographed two of the dances that were performed on the cruise by the dance team,” said Sanchez. “One was to the song Boogie Shoes and the other was a Michael Jackson remix and was the finale.”
Sanchez went on the cruise with the dancers to help them prepare for their big performances.
Emily Fernette is a senior at Owosso High School and travels quite a distance to be able to dance at Ann’s.
“I’ve been dancing here for eight years,” said Fernette. “This year, I’m taking advanced hip-hop and advanced jazz.”
Fernette danced on the cruise and said her parents came to support her.
“This was my second cruise with the studio,” said Fernette. “My first was in 2005 and I danced on that one, too.”
Her favorite part of the cruise was when they got to sit in on the professional cruise ship dancers’ rehearsal.
“We got to talk to them and we also had a class taught by one of them,” said Fernette. “It was a lyrical and sort of ‘funk’ jazz class taught by a man from Ireland.”
Fifth grader at Corunna Public Schools Jessica Buffa is not only a dancer at the studio but one of the owner’s two daughters.
“My mom and dad and sister came on the cruise with me, and my sister danced,” said Buffa. “This was my second cruise, but I didn’t dance on the first one.”
Buffa started dancing when she was 2 years old and is in her 8th year at the studio.
“I take mixed hip-hop, tap, gymnastics and I’ll also be performing a solo in this year’s recital.”
Buffa loved being able to perform for such a large audience at her young age. She said it was a great experience and a lot of fun, as well.
Freshman at Laingsburg High School Paige Buchholz has been dancing at Ann’s for three years and this was her first cruise performance.
“I take hip-hop and jazz,” said Buchholz. “I loved knowing that when we were performing, all those people were there to see us.”
The rush of performing was definitely a favorite moment for these dancers.
“My entire family came, including my sister, who also danced,” said Buchholz. “And my favorite island was Cozumel.”
Freshman at Corunna High School Sarah Buffa is also one of the owner’s daughters.
“I’ve been dancing here for 11 years starting when I was three,” said Buffa. “I take intermediate hip-hop, intermediate jazz and the daddy daughter dance class.”
This was Buffa’s second cruise as well, and her favorite part was meeting all the new people. The experience was irreplaceable according to the dancers. The dance studio will have its recitals on Saturday May 7 at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. in the East Lansing High School auditorium.