As you step inside Debra Sparks Dance Works (DSDW) in Newtown Borough, the toe-tapping sounds and colorful sights of the studio’s enthusiastic and diverse dancers and professional instructors are irresistible.
“We built our business by making dance and the arts approachable for every Bucks County resident,” says Debra “Miss Deb” Sparks Allison, the studio’s owner and directress.
As an example, one class recently added to the studio’s many choices is ‘Everybody Dance Now,’ a weekly Saturday morning dance class for young people with special needs. “There are only a few options for local children and young people with special needs to experience dance, so we are especially proud of this new class and welcome anyone to join,” says Debra, a professional ballerina, dance instructor, choreographer and author.
Debra founded DSDW in 1984. She and her daughter Tamara “Miss Tamara” Allison Golden, a former Broadway dancer and ballerina who danced in many leading roles including The Nutcracker with the Pennsylvania Ballet and in Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular Show, teaches ballet, jazz, tap and lyrical. Debra and Tamara, along with DSDW’s team of nationally respected dance professionals, have inspired and trained hundreds of toddlers, children, teenagers and adults in all dance genres. The team prepares dancers at all levels, from beginners to professionals, for competitions, recitals, and includes pre-professional dance instruction as well as professional training.
“We’ve trained 17 Broadway dancers, 22 ballet company dancers and countless dancers who have received many, many prestigious scholarships,” notes Debra. “I’m a ballerina. That’s my forté. But we have a large staff with amazing talents who specialize in all forms of dance.”
The choices are many for anyone interested in dance. Classes are available in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre, hip hop, acrobatics and much more. Many of DSDW’s educational events and special programs bring dancers together from all walks of life – from college dance pom teams, to a father- daughter dance, or adult tap and ballet, toddlers’ tap and twirl, dance for little rock stars, Disney-themed and fairytale dance and Mommy & Me.
“We have toddlers as young as 18 months. Their moms and dads join their little ones in a bonding experience that gives positive cognitive reinforcement with their child. It’s a great introduction to playtime, learning about dance and music or just practicing clapping!”
Often, the studio invites nationally recognized dancers as master class guest teachers to instruct students such as: Charlotte D’Amboise, a Broadway legend and twice nominated for a Tony award for dance; Josh Assor, a New York- based choreographer and performer; Jessica Franco, an assistant choreographer and dancer for singer-songwriter, Ariana Grande; Mia Michaels, a two-time Emmy winner for choreography on So You Think You Can Dance; andValerie Salgado, a choreographer from the hit TV show SMASH and many more. Miss Debra has hosted two winners of So You Think You Can Dance at DSDW in masterful classes.
Debra writes ballets each year. She adapts them from classic shows or performances. This year, working with the Walnut Street Theatre, members of DSDW will perform an adaptation of Mary Poppins at Bucks County Technical High School in Fairless Hills for three performances on June 5-6.
“For 37 years, I’ve been doing what I absolutely love at my own studio, it has been an amazing experience and makes me so happy” says Debra. As Directress of Debra Sparks Dance Works, Debra’s goal remains as it began in 1984: to teach young, talented children the wonderful art of ballet and dance, to encourage their growth in self-esteem with pride in their accomplishments, and—above all—to instill in them the “love of dance!”
Dancers join DSDW expecting to learn solid dance technique. They walk away with so much more. From rehearsal to performance, whether it’s an audition or competition, Debra Sparks’ students learn the etiquette of dance while respecting themselves and others around them.
“Each student at the Debra Sparks Dance Works is encouraged to excel and discover his or her creative potential in a supportive and nurturing environment.” – Debra Sparks
Debra Sparks Dance Works is located at 51 Walnut Avenue in Newtown Borough. Stop by the studio for a free trial class or mention the ad for free registration through March 31, 2020. Like DSDW on Facebook @debrasparksdanceworks5678 or follow on Instagram @debrasparksdanceworks. The studio is also available for birthday parties and rentals. Call for pricing and availability.
PHOTO CAP: A scene from Debra Sparks Dance Works Annual Summer Intensive