Monday, October 2, 2023

‘Stars Align’ for aspiring performers | New dance studio expands into theater, music, adult classes


“What happens at karaoke, stays at karaoke.”

At least, that’s the motto that professional vocalist Rebecca Faiola abides by when she serves as voice instructor for her adult karaoke class at Stars Align.

“We’re just having a great time,” she said. “It’s been super fun.”

Stars Align, located at 220 S. Morgan St., is a dance studio that has recently expanded to incorporate other performing arts, like theater and music.

The studio is new to Hood County and has since been taken over by new owners: John and Trenna Kelley.

“It was like this little gem that no one knew about, and my kids loved it,” Trenna explained. “We bought the studio, literally, between Christmas and New Year's because they were going to go out of business, and I was like, ‘No, I don’t want it to close.’ It was a dance studio, but now we're kind of expanding into theater and basically all the visual and performing arts. We're slowly going into that for both kids and adults.”

Trenna said the studio now offers guitar and violin lessons, as well as acting and homeschool classes for children.

"We have lots of dance classes, and we have a couple acting classes for character development and audition prep classes, so we're slowly kind of building,” she said. “Now we're working on the summer camp listings. We're going to be doing some camps for (ages) four to 10, and then 11 to 18 the third week in June. We're also building up private lessons for all our staff, so we're just growing.”

Faiola’s six-week “Let’s Karaoke” class for adults is the first of its kind at the studio and has provided moms with a creative outlet to unwind and let their talent shine through.

"One thing that's really been eye-opening for me coming out of our simple karaoke class is that a lot of these moms like a place to go and just to be with each other,” Faiola said. “And the moms are letting their hair down. I have one woman who's coming in dressed to the nines every night because the first class I mentioned that when you dress well, you up your game, so she's really taking it seriously. She’s dressing the part, showing up, and wanting to be a good singer.”

Faiola and Trenna first met at Rise and Grind — a weekly community networking event — and that’s when the pair began to brainstorm on the idea for the karaoke class.

“She and I were talking about, ‘Wouldn't it be fun to do some kind of adult class at Stars Align,’ because she wants to have a full menu of not only kid offerings, but other age groups and other fun things that are available to the community,” Faiola explained. “And I said, ‘Well, I've always wanted to teach a karaoke class,’ and she said, ‘Well, let's do it,’ and so we did it — and it's been more amazing than I imagined it would be.”

Stars Align currently has six teachers who are all skilled performers in various styles of dance: Victoria Trimble, Sofi Warren, Emmie Vaughn, Kendall Cobb, Danny Tran, and Deven Anderson.

"I have literally the best staff over there," Trenna explained. "All of our staff perform in different places. They perform in Granbury, Plaza Theatre Company (in Cleburne),and some of them are in Ballet Frontier of Texas (in Fort Worth). All of our teachers are performers, so it's a great school for those who want to (perform)."

Although many students of Stars Align are children, Trenna said that the studio gets more requests for adult classes than anything else.

"Kids can dance, but parents and moms just want to go and have fun, so we're going to be upping our adult offerings,” she said. “We're starting a moms dance group, and I think the karaoke is going to turn into a little karaoke club. It’s slowly coming together.”

Faiola — who also performs in the musical group JetBlacq with her husband, Frank — said the karaoke class has served as an escape for many of the parents who have never sung by themselves before.

“The first class I said, ‘Everyone needs to say this: I am a singer,’ because there's so many things people have heard about singing in their life, like literally been told, ‘Don't sing and just mouth the words in choir,’ so there's a lot of love that goes on and just helping people accept themselves,” Faiola said. “Trenna and I both have noticed that it's just about fun. The fun factor is huge for parents to just be together in a safe spot and just have fun, be silly and goofy, and try new things.”

“There was literally a waiting list,” Trenna said, chiming in. “Like I had more people who wanted to be in (the karaoke class) but we barely get through everybody (as it is), so we'll probably get more scheduled in the fall, especially now that word has gotten out that we're having a good time over there.”

Trenna, who is not a performer, said taking over the studio has still allowed her to support the arts in her own way.

“My husband and I, we're not dancers, but we love the arts,” she explained. “We just wanted to support all the kids, the young adults, and people who are doing arts and to give them a chance to continue to be creative and support that process because it's so important.”

All 11 members of the karaoke class will have their final performance at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at D’Vine Wine, 107 E. Bridge St.

"Everyone's really supportive of each other and it's been really fun,” Faiola added. “I think we've all bonded."

For more information or to sign up for future classes at Stars Align, visit online.


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