Dancing in the Sky
by Cate Murway
The Clock strikes FUN! Look for the signature trademark, a four-sided lighted clock tower. Up until now, the Carol Willson Studio One in the Grundy Commons Industrial Complex on the corner of Canal and Jefferson Streets has been one heck of a best-kept secret! The studio is located on Floor "3N" in the “Cornerstone of our heritage..... Stepping stone for our future.” www.grundycommons.com
Meet the unstoppable, unconventional, straightforward and enthusiastic talent! Carol Aurelia [Wilcox] Willson Wagner, Winter Park High School ’67 [a notable performing arts program], Orange County, FL/ BFA Southern Methodist University, TX, School of the Arts ’71, runs one of the largest Dance studios in Bucks County. The 6000 sq. ft. facility offers two large dance studios with newly installed hardwood floors, lounge and dressing areas. She started out in Bristol Borough in 1988 in the American Hose, Hook & Ladder Company Firehouse on Pond Street before moving to Mill Street into the old J.G. McCrory's building. She and her dedicated students and faculty are ecstatic about their “home” in the Grundy Commons. Carol effused, “We like this place the best; the ambiance lends itself to new creations. We love this space, 2 big rooms and nice high ceilings for the trampolines! Space with no boundaries or borders because the rooms are so big… the best!”
Originally the National Tea Packing Company used the area to warehouse tea and many of the dance students said their grandparents were employed there in their youth. The old trusty classic industrial Toledo scale remains as part of the history. Carol’s husband, “man of many talents” Chris H. Wagner, Neshaminy’79, a member of the NetVersant strong technology team, expertly converted and finished the studio from the large open space. Grundy Commons President Frederic H. Baumgarten was very receptive to the alterations for the studio. Per Carol, “Fred was great with all the changes. He said one of his favorite moments is seeing the kids come in for classes with all their energy. It makes him smile!”
Carol’s daughter, maternity R.N. Krista Caroline Baradziej [husband, Tom] is a highly accomplished dancer. Her most recent grand performance was when she presented Carol with a cherished grandson, 8-month-old Mark.
Carol Willson’s Studio One has been setting the standard, continuously aspiring to train young people with a gift and desire to dance, nurturing and refining them into talented and inspirational performers for 20 years. She and her instructors help young people achieve their dreams, creating dancers who will re-ignite the passion for dance and they expertly develop the talent and technique of the young dancers and choreographers.
So……. going up?
Studio One embodies schooling, class, a style, savoir-faire, and a performing tradition of unrivalled richness. There are competitive programs for the more serious dancers looking to become professionals, as well as full recreational programs for dancers who take dance for fun, relaxation or to possibly learn skills for cheerleading or dance teams. One will be mesmerized by the extraordinary way the gripping art of dance is presented. With the sets and the backgrounds, it isn’t just dance, it’s a production!
Carol studied under the late legendary dance instructor Edith Royal for 15 years. Her
original teacher was Era Vassilieva Wohner whose mother was in the Bolshoi [Russian for "large" or "grand"] Ballet. She received “such a very good training from the very 1st day”!
Caroline Vernon [Mitchell], who was orphaned at a very young age, was raised by an Aunt and Uncle in Moorestown, NJ. She met Colonel Leslie Raymond Wilcox in Michigan State College and they married and adopted Carol, [Gaelic- meaning champion] who was born in Fort Leavenworth, KS. A self-proclaimed “Army brat”, she and her older brother, Thomas Leslie Wilcox, a NC inhalation therapist who still travels the entire US, were constantly moving about. Carol was becoming a tomboy and her parents suggested dance! Throughout high school, she centered her life on dance. It was nothing but school and then dance from 3:00-10:00 p.m.
Carol shares her solid technique, disciplined training and professional standards in an exciting manner as she and her enthusiastic instructors encourage new stylistic dimensions and movement in the bodies of the students in the studio. The students, some are even children of her former students, learn early in their training to view their bodies as their instruments, being educated in body awareness, body-mind integration, placement and alignment and accentuation of natural movement. Here true love prevails! Her students are capable of playing the floor like a drum, exhibiting passion in everything they do, dedicating themselves fully to do their absolute very best in their superior list of performances. They absorb additional performing experiences through collaborative productions, concerts, community involvement and special events. Her whole topnotch faculty is the students she taught and mentored with her profound choreographic example. Filled with natural resourcefulness and enthusiasm, she showed them limitlessness in choreography; nothing is impossible! Carol firmly states, “Anything is possible if you can think it!”
Her prestigious dance instructor and choreographer team includes, Avallon Dance Company Director, Andrea Lynn Slavin, VJM ‘95/DeSales University ’99; Mary Cait Shaw, Truman ‘02/Dance Masters of America; Michelle Galione, CEC ‘00/PSU; Kim McManamon, CEC ‘96/ Allentown College of St. Francis de Sales [three generations are involved: Kim’s dad, tap dancer, “Pop-Pop” Jack Fekete and Kim’s children, Ashley and Mackenzie]; Elizabeth Marie Eavers, Pennsbury ‘04/BCCC and Rachel Grisi, an accomplished ballet and ballroom dancer and a former Graham ensemble dancer, who is the founder of The Nest.
The 9th Annual Nest is a two-week program that brings NY dancers and choreographers to Bucks County to work with the area students. Per Rachel, it’s "a nice, peaceful, creative environment, where the dancers are relaxed and working hard.”
The Avallon Dance Company is open, by audition only [in September] for its 20th season, to students 13 and older who are serious about their art. The selected group choreograph themselves and are responsible for lighting, casting and artistic construction Their school grades are monitored and the chosen dancers must be studying at least 3 styles of dance, one of which ballet is a requirement.
A determined and high-spirited advanced dancer, Andrea considers herself a bit eclectic “modern dancer” with athletic movements. She started studying ballet, tap and jazz with Carol in the 7th grade. “Overall, Carol runs a very professionally and technically run studio with very talented and well educated teachers. We have an amazing space here and we’re very, very lucky!”
"There is so much competition and rivalry in the dance world, but Miss Carol taught us (the dancers in Avallon) to come together and have faith in the ambitions of the company. She fostered camaraderie, and taught us to find a balance between technical discipline and boundless creativity. She put a great amount of trust in us and expected us to rise to a level of excellence as we contributed our own choreography and artistry in our annual shows. Artistic priorities such as honesty, performance etiquette, and accountability were always at the top of her list. I feel grateful to have been a part of the studio because I have carried these values into my adulthood. I am in awe of her dedication to her students!" [Former dance student from kindergarten age] Christina Maria Gesualdi, VJM ‘03/BFA University of the Arts. Christina is participating in a work/study internship in Berlin, Germany this July.
The sophisticated movement of a human body is beautiful to watch on stage and there is nothing like the lean muscle definition of a professional dancer. The emotional weight of the rhythmic pulse can knock one out because it is so unexpected–so visceral.
More young people, both girls and boys, should be exposed to this highly athletic and emotional art form. Come in and experience the reflections of the visions, hopes and passions of these talented artists who unselfishly share their gifts.
Now offering “Creative Movement” for 3 year olds starting in September! Registrations for the 2008 Summer Workshops [July 7 thru July 24] began last weekend but fortunately, there are still some opportunities available! Office manager, Michele Fekete, will cheerfully answer any questions.
"Then come the lights shining on you from above. You are a performer. You forget all you learned, the process of technique, the fear, the pain, you even forget who you are and you become one with the music, the lights, indeed one with the dance.” Shirley Maclaine, American Academy Award-winning film and theater actress
Carol Willson Studio One
ballet, pointe, tap, jazz/hip-hop, modern, lyrical
acrobatics, tumbling, creative dance, musical theater, aerobics
925 Canal Street 3
Bristol, PA 19007
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