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‘Showcase of the Stars’ Dazzles in Brewster

By Holly Crocco

While the dancers of Seven Stars School of Performing Arts in Brewster have an annual showcase and recital, this year, a special event was orchestrated just for the performance teams, as a sort of rehearsal for a bigger competition coming up in June.

“This show is their practice,” said teacher Nicole Aravena.

However, the event was nothing short of professional.

Makeup and wardrobe sections filled the backstage area at the Brewster High School on March 26 and 27, while performers prepared for “Showcase of the Stars.” Audiences were entertained by performances to “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Man in the Mirror,” “Chicago” and “What the World Needs Now” – among many others – as groups and soloists graced the stage.

“It’s pride, and there’s nothing better,” Aravena said of watching her students perform after a year of hard work mastering their dances.

She explained that dancers go through two weeks of evaluation each May to set the casting for each team the following year.

“All of the dancers on the team compete in every single style, so they are versatile,” said Aravena. “They are placed based on how they work as a team… This is the first time we are doing a show with just the performance teams.”

One of those team members, senior Sarah Cassidy, has been dancing for 16 years – nine with Seven Stars.

“I love to dance because I get to see my friends every day, and everyone is here for the same reason: They love to dance,” she said. “This is my chosen family. Dance has brought me many memories.”

Seventh-grader Gage Delawder, who has been dancing for nine years, said tap is his favorite style – as did ninth-grader Emiko Dunn, who has been with Seven Stars for nine years, although she’s been dancing for 10.

“That’s what we all kind of learned first,” said Dunn of tap, admitting she still gets nervous before a show or competition. “I do think that being with your group, being all together, makes you more calm.”

Jordan Coates, a seventh-grader who has been dancing for 10 years, said each performance takes just as much mental preparation as it does physical. “I go through the dance as perfectly as I can in my head,” he said.

Fifth-grader Hailey Zoller has been dancing for seven years. “You can attach real-life scenarios to dancing, and express yourself,” she said.

Aravena praised all the dancers for putting their hearts into their performances.

“I wasn’t the most flexible dancer. I couldn’t hit the highest note,” she said. “But I had a fire inside me… I’m a tough teacher. I definitely feel that what I’m very skilled at is lighting a fire in them.”

Showcase of the Stars was a leadup to the dance company’s biggest competition of the year, Kids For Kids, which donates 100 percent of funds raised to children's charities. Since its inception, KFK has donated $3 million.

Seven Stars School of Performing Arts is located at 509 Route 312, Brewster. For more information, visit


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