Thirty-one potential Broadway stars — girls from Wantagh, Seaford and Massapequa — were part of two classes from Broadway Dance Academy, in Massapequa, who sang their hearts out, and took first place, at the Access Broadway National Competition at the Performing Arts Center in Cape May County, N.J., on July 10.
“It was truly unforgettable,” Christine Roselli, Broadway Dance Academy’s owner and director, said in a statement. “I am blessed and extremely grateful for this beautiful experience. How amazing is it that I love what I do . . . and to offer my students a platform to possibly be a star on Broadway.”
Twenty-one girls, ages 9 to 12, from the Academy’s Glammer Glee class performed three songs from the stage musical “Maltilda” in a musical theater production, while 10 students from the Mini Glee class, a singing group for girls ages 7 and 8, performed “I Wanna Be a Rockette,” from “Kicks: The Showgirl Musical,” according to Academy voice teacher Tori O’Rourke.
Both classes won the Broadway Star award — the first-place platinum award for the overall high score in their age group. The classes both scored between 96 and 100 points. Other awards given out at the competition included High Gold, for teams that scored between 92 and 95, and Gold, for those that scored between 89 and 92.
O’Rourke said that her goal for the girls is for them to feel comfortable on stage. “It really does help their confidence so much,” she said. “I tell them, ‘I’m going to push you out of your comfort zone a little bit. I want you to go farther than you thought you could go.’ My goal, and my hope, is that they walk away thinking, ‘Wow, I can’t believe I was able to do that.’”
O’Rourke added that the music is difficult and the choreography is intricate, and that her students have learned that hard work pays off. “I think they learned, as a group, what they can accomplish,” she said. “I also try to let them know [that] each one of them, regardless of how different they are or what level they’re at, they’re all extremely important to the group.”
Access Broadway, established in 1998, features workshops, competitions and talent searches in dancing, acting and singing, according to the group’s website.
Broadway Dance Academy was founded in 2008, according to Roselli. “BDA is not only our studio name, but is our motto,” she said in a statement. “It stands for believe, dream, achieve; to bring Broadway NYC to Long Island.”
Liana Loffredo, 7, of Seaford, a member of the Mini Glee class, said she enjoyed singing and being on stage during the competition.
Ellie O’Rourke, 10, of Seaford, who’s in the Glammer Glee class, said she had been singing at the Academy for five years and had learned never to give up. “I was so excited,” she said of her class’s first-place win. “We were all so happy.”