Business Spotlights

Dance Emotions, Chappaqua

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A nurturing environment led by a group of passionate teachers is what children and their parents will find at Dance Emotions, a 30-year-old dance school in the heart of Chappaqua that caters to students of all ages and skill levels.

And while the instruction at Dance Emotions is at a high level, that doesn’t mean students don’t have fun. In fact, there’s an array of programs to be found at the school, which shares space with the Okinawa Goju-Ryu School of Karate.

Dance Emotions pic
Classes for students of all ages at Dance Emotions are high caliber but also fun.

Classes at Dance Emotions include pre-dance for girls and boys ages 2 ½ to 4, ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, hip-hop, tap, theater dance and summer dance. Students also have the opportunity to join the school’s Impact Dance Company, a nonprofit group that stages professional-quality productions at community locations several times a year.

Dance Emotions also offers an adult dance workout choreographed to popular music, where students can participate according to their fitness level.

Founder and artistic director Carol Mamara hires the highest-caliber instructors, all of whom are full-time dancers or New York City-based choreographers.

A classically trained ballerina with vast professional dance experience, including performances at Carnegie Hall, the Broadway Dance Center, conventions and TV appearances, Mamara is passionate about instilling the same work ethic she acquired as a child as a student of Russian ballerina Nina Tinova.

“I believe it’s good for them and they come to understand what they’re doing and what they’re learning, but it still has to be fun,” she said.

Most students start off with ballet instruction, which is necessary for the development and improvement of technique, and then graduate to jazz, hip-hop or tap.

But there’s more to Dance Emotions than dance classes. About two years ago, Little Fig Stage, a Chappaqua performing arts company that develops new talent and new works, teamed up with Mamara to give students from both organizations the chance to try out for each other’s productions.

Under the direction of the husband-and-wife team of Marci Elyn Schein and Michael V. Ficocelli, students from Dance Emotions can try out for various Little Fig performances, including “Seussical Jr.” at the Chappaqua Public Library Jan. 11 and a new musical to be staged Feb. 1 in Manhattan called “Right You Are, Maybe.”

Likewise, students from Little Fig have participated in special Dance Emotions performances, including the annual holiday season ballet “The Nutcracker,” which Mamara coordinates with her daughter, Dina Michelle, who also works at Dance Emotions.

“There are certain personalities that work well together, and this collaboration with Marci has extended itself to the students in a very positive way,” said Mamara.

Rather than stressing out students with long and laborious rehearsals, instructors are cognizant of the time pressures on today’s students and prepare them in ways that are fun, productive and time efficient.

“This is the arts, and we want them to love it and not feel so much pressure,” said Schein, who serves as Little Fig’s artistic director and also gives private voice and acting lessons. Some of her students have performed in New York City productions and participated in national tours.

Looking to the future, Mamara said she’d like to build upon what she’s been teaching for years.

“It’s not just a classroom with music and a teacher, and it’s not about barking out a set of instructions either,” she said. “It’s the nurturing that our students feel that keeps them coming back to us.”

Dance Emotions is located at on the second floor at 75 S. Greeley Ave. in Chappaqua. To find out more, including a schedule of classes, call 914-238-8974 or visit More information on Little Fig Stage can be found by calling Schein at 914-523-8224 or by visiting


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