At the United Dance Arts it is truly a family affair. Owned and operated by husband and wife team Melina and Dimitri Yallourakis, they are going into their 6th year of teaching dance. Daughter Kali, a Valpo graduate and now at Ohio State University, has learned, taught and gone on to pursue a career in dance. Other daughter Maria is a senior at Valpo and is dancing with the Vikettes. She is also dances with the dance company.
Melina has a dance background and always wanted to open her own studio; she also wanted to have a place that her daughters Kali and Maria could be involved in dance.
Melina said, “I personally really enjoy being able to see the children express themselves and dance with smiles on their faces and to see them get excited about a skill they have learned and say, ‘I’ve got it!’ When they do that, it gives them a sense of accomplishment and helps them with their self-confidence.”
Student Appreciation Day at the United Dance Arts and Fred Astaire Studio was held Saturday for one special day for future dancers to enroll in summer and fall classes, meet the instructors, tour the facility, enjoy food, drinks and dance demonstrations.
Demonstrating a Ballroom Dance called the Rumba were instructors Angelique Alvarado and Marcel Gonzales.
Gonzales said, “What I love about teaching dance is watching someone learn a skill that they didn’t think they could do. Dancing can empower people and I love to be able to bring that out in someone.”
Students and sisters Lexi Rhew, 7, a second grader from Flint Lake Elementary and Alyssa Rhew, 5, who will be in kindergarten this fall were at Student Appreciation Day dressed in their “‘Castle On a Cloud” costumes.
Lexi loves to dance and said, “Dancing is fun. I love to be able to do recitals and perform in front of a lot of people.”
Alyssa added, “I love dancing in front of mom and dad.”
At the United Dance Arts and Fred Astaire Studio, the dancers do more than just take lessons; they perform and compete. This past Memorial Day, weekend dancers competed at a competition in Chicago called Show Stoppers in the Mini Division, age 5-8, Junior Division, age 9-12, the Teen Division, age 13-15 and the Senior Division, age 15-18. All divisions took first place trophies for their performances.
Showing off her dancing feet was Rachel Wexelberg. Wexelberg is 14 and a student at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. Wexelberg placed first in her Lyrical Solo called “Hurt” at the Show Stoppers Competition.
She said, “I have been taking lessons here since they opened six years ago and Lyrical is my favorite type of dance to do. It is a mix between ballet and jazz and I love how you can express yourself and show different emotions you are feeling with dance.”
At the United Dance Arts and Fred Astaire Studio, people of all ages can learn to dance. All genres of dance are being taught from ballet to adult classes in Ballroom.
Melina Yallourakis said, “Ballroom is very popular with our adult students. Couples especially love to take classes in Ballroom.”
If you would like to sign up for a class call:
United Dance Arts and Fred Astaire Studio:
2759 W Morthland Dr
Valparaiso, IN 46385
(219) - 242 - 8643
(219) - 242 - 8317
(219) - 508 - 5177