COLONIE Danielle Cuzdey has been dancing her entire life, yet hadn’t dreamed of teaching until she was 15 and starting working at Eleanor’s School of the Dance in Albany. There, Cuzdey taught her very first student and after seeing her connection and influence, she knew dancing was the only path she could take.
More than 20 years later, Cuzdey now co-owns the World of Dance Studio at 25B Walker Way in Colonie with her mother, dancer Barbara Pregont. After being open only seven years, the studio has won numerous regional and national awards and has had several students dance their way to Broadway, national tours, theme parks and TV shows.
Just last month, the studio’s dance team was named the Federation of Dance Competitions Studio of Excellence for 2013 at the StarQuest National dance competition in Virginia Beach, Va., making it the third year the studio took home the top prize out of 55 other studios nationwide.
“When they won they were crying, jumping. I think they just felt so unbelievably excited because they didn’t expect it,” Cuzdey said of her dancers. “I think the thing I’m most proud of (about) my team, as strong as they are and as hard as they work, they are very humble. They don’t know how strong they are.”
After competing and succeeding far in the regional competitions this spring, the dancers buckled down and began training for the national competition. Cuzdey took the team of 69 and their families down to Virginia Beach from July 15 to July 20 for the competition.
The World of Dance team separated into several categories depending on age and level: ages 8 and under were in the petite category; 9 to 11 in the junior category; 12 to 14 in the teen category; 15 and over in the senior category. Throughout the week, dancers competed to place in the top five. Those in the top five then danced on Saturday to gain points. The team with the most points wins the competition. By the end of the week, the World of Dance studio earned 103 points, ranking the highest out of every team competing.