With a mission to inspire creativity, passion and talent through dance, Studio 517 Dance Co. aims to become the go-to space for Lansing-area dance enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. The business will celebrate its grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony 5 p.m. Tuesday (Aug. 29), followed by a walkthrough of the facility and a chance to meet the instructors. Classes officially begin Sept. 11.
Studio 517 Dance Co. is not only named after the surrounding 517 area code but also after founder Stacey Del Valle’s grandmother, an accomplished dancer and instructor who was born on May 17.
Growing up in a family of dancers, Del Valle began dancing at 2-and-a-half years old. While her siblings’ interest in dance fizzled out in their teenage years, Del Valle’s passion continued long after high school. As an undergraduate student in Michigan State University’s kinesiology and exercise science program, she was part of the school’s dance team and all-girl cheerleading squad.
Del Valle later earned her master’s degree in kinesiology at Penn State University in State College, Pennsylvania. Her thesis research focused on injury prevention in youth ballet dancers. While attending the school, she worked as a graduate-assistant athletic trainer for the university’s dance, cheerleading, cross-country and track and field teams.
After graduation, Del Valle got a job as an athletic trainer at MSU. Her primary responsibilities included advocating for the health of student-athletes, creating individualized rehabilitation programs for injured athletes and providing the highest level of care possible for her students. After work, Del Valle would hit the studio and teach dance classes. Between her day job and teaching classes at night, she was working about 14 hours a day — and she’s continued to do so for more than five years.
Earlier this year, Del Valle acquired a space at Clark Corners, a shopping plaza located near the interchange of U.S. 27 and Interstate 69 in DeWitt. Over the last two months, she’s been hard at work designing her dream studio. Studio 517’s 4,400-square-foot training facility will feature three large, sprung-floor dance rooms with industrial-height ceilings. The studio will also have a lounge for dancers to do their homework between classes.
With a custom-designed facility, years of experience as a dancer and certified athletic trainer and a team of dedicated and highly skilled dance instructors behind her, Del Valle hopes that she can help bridge the gap between high school and professional dance.
“There’s definitely a learning curve when moving from high school to collegiate and even professional-level dancing,” Del Valle said. “Unfortunately, there are not a lot of dance teams in Lansing, so it can be hard to learn the skills and techniques needed to succeed.”
The instructors at Studio 517 are not only accomplished dancers but also compassionate mentors, focused on empowering each student to reach their full potential. Each instructor is focused on dancers’ longevity, both inside and out. In addition to ensuring each student is physically taken care of, instructors are trained in eating disorders, body image issues and other mental-health-related issues.
Studio 517 offers a wide variety of classes for dancers ages 2-and-a-half to adult. To learn more about class offerings, pricing and more, check out the studio’s website, studio517dance.com.
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