Bring the ballet to Mt Laurel
Stephanie Rangel opened the doors to her new dance studio, Mt Laurel Ballet, on April 30.
After Rangel and her family moved to Mt Laurel, she soon realized there was no ballet program in the area, so she decided to open her own.
“I saw an opportunity to have a good quality neighborhood ballet studio, a good place to have excellent level training,” she said.
After considering several options, she chose the spot next to Coosa Riverkeeper’s office and did major renovations to create the space she wanted. A unique aspect of the studio is that it has a floating floor. Sitting about a foot off the ground, it’s a pro-level ballet floor that provides a more supportive platform for dancers and provides better protection against injury.
Rangel began training in Jacksonville at a young age and joined the Jacksonville Ballet Theater at age 15.
At 19, Rangel began teaching ballet, jazz and contemporary dance to students of all ages while attending Samford University. She began her professional career by joining the Birmingham Ballet Repertory Company, then Arova Contemporary Ballet in 2012.
After marrying husband David in 2016, the couple moved to Panama where she taught ballet for Crossroads Bible Church and the Metropolitan School of Panama.
“I started teaching as a ministry and was working in some of the poorer areas of Panama,” Rangel said. “I also taught in a private English school. It was around this time that I realized that I really loved teaching. I love working with children and creating opportunities for them so they can pursue their dream and passion.
Rangel said she has a passion for creating opportunities for students and pre-professional dancers while enriching the local dance community. The studio will have a Christian environment that will be safe, loving and kind. She believes that everyone is made in the image of God, and this creates the foundation of her teaching method.
“Our passion is to create an encouraging environment and to make sure our dancers feel beautiful, respected and encouraged to have that foundation to pursue dance as they wish,” Rangel said. “If they want to be a professional dancer, we will have a performance company to provide a training base to enter a more professional environment.”
Currently artistic director and founder of “Magic City Nutcracker”, Rangel is also president of Magic City Performing Arts. The 1,000 square foot studio will also include a costume shop dedicated to creating costumes for Magic City Performing Arts productions.
Mont Laurier Ballet
► 102 A Croft St., Birmingham (Mt Laurel)
Mt Laurel Ballet artistic staff members are former professional ballet dancers or actively dance with dance companies. Rangel said they will provide a base for dancers who want to enjoy this art form. Teachers include Jamie Kilgore Foust, Kristen Hunsucker, Lenox Jones, Emma Kelley, Katie Kimbrough, Kathryn Gebler Spitzer and Ashley Taylor.
Class options will include ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip-hop, flamenco, lyrical, contemporary, mommy and me, and more. Fitness classes for adults will also be on the day program and will include pilates, yoga and ballet exercises.
Classes at Mt Laurel Ballet will begin after Labor Day, but a summer camp (The Family Madrigal) will be held for ages 3-11. Audition Prep will also be available to help dancers wishing to audition for the Mt Laurel Ballet Performance Company.
Rangel said the response so far has been overwhelmingly wonderful. Registration is open and she encourages people to register as places will fill up quickly. For more information, visit mtlaurelballet.com.