Donna and Nicole Aravena, mother and daughter, had a good problem on their hands a few years ago.
With more students pouring into their Seven Star School of Performing Arts since Nicole opened more than a decade ago, the original location for the school was getting too small. Offering a wide range of dance, vocal, and theater offerings for students of all grades in the Brewster area, Seven Star School has become a staple in the community for performing arts, but needed a new place to call home.
Looking at a bunch of different properties in Brewster, Nicole was at first hesitant to occupy the building she does today along Route 312. She originally turned the Route 312 location down, but as she kept driving by it, she became more drawn to it. Close to the Brewster schools, she changed her mind and hired an architect lay the groundwork for the new spot.
The current layout is double the size of the studio’s first location, which was on the corner of Main Street and Route 22 in Brewster. There are five studios, a storage room, a costume room, and a lounge area for parents. The building used to include a doctor’s office, a software company, and a bakery, Nicole said. The studio first opened in August 2014.
“Ever since we’ve been open, we’ve been very lucky the Brewster community just took us right in,” Nicole said. “We’ve got a lot of things going on.”
The support was so evident, that when the studio was a little behind in getting everything put together, six “dance dads” with the help of a Donna’s husband and Nicole’s husband assisted in the final steps of the project, like building the downstairs floor. It took the dance dads about ten days for the final project to be completed. Overall, it took about a year and half from when Nicole attained the space.
“That’s the most special part of our school,” Nicole said. “How the families all work together and it’s a great community.”
Nicole, who started dancing when she was 3, began teaching dance when she was in her 20s, renting a downstairs room in a church for six months. Then she moved to the Route 22 location for 13 years and convinced her mother to work at the school, too.
Donna held back at first, knowing the studio would need 120 students in order to cover all the expenses with another person on full-time. That benchmark was no problem, with the studio taking off and Seven Stars getting 225 students in the first year. Donna first worked for a doctor’s office and then would work for the dance studio in the evening before she eventually decided to work at Seven Stars full-time.
“They start with one class and it’s just something that’s fun,” Nicole said. “And then four years later they’re in 14 classes. I think kids fall in love with it. It’s so good for their mind and their well-being and they find a good group of friends.”
Donna said while the joy of dancing is the reason many students join, “it’s the friends and relationships that they make” that leave lasting impressions.
“It’s all clean cut here,” Donna said. “They have a great time. It’s real good fun.”
Seven Stars School of Performing Arts is located at 509 Route 312 in Brewster and its number is 845-278-0728.