Monday, June 05, 2023

Teaneck—Rochelle Yaros has danced for as long as she can remember. Last year, she started Rikkud Dance, a private dance program in Teaneck, teaching dance to groups of little girls, aged three to nine, on Sunday mornings. She also runs a week-long Rikkud Dance Camp in the summertime, between camp and school, and offers private instruction and party dancing services for teens.

Dance has been a lifelong passion and priority for Yaros, who keeps it on the front burner. “I started at age 3 with beginner’s ballet and jazz, and I loved it,” she told JLNJ. Yaros also intensely studied hip-hop and tap. She worked as a dance teacher and choreographer for local dance studios as a teen, and advanced to head dance director for performances. Entering Stern College, Yaros identified a need for all-female dance classes, “to provide religious women with an opportunity to learn dance in an environment they would be comfortable in, and allow those who were more advanced to be challenged,” she said. Just after graduation, Yaros became an adjunct dance professor at Stern.

The classes were extremely popular and filled up quickly. “The women at Stern College were thrilled to have a physical education option that finally met the needs of those who were passionate about dancing,” Yaros said.

After earning a dual masters in general and special education, Yaros taught a range of learners in grades K to five at a public school in downtown Manhattan. “Although I enjoyed teaching general studies, I missed having dance in my life. I had always dreamed of having my own dance studio, so when I moved to Teaneck I began to think about how I could integrate my two passions of working with children and dancing.”

Yaros felt she could provide the community with a unique program wherein children would have fun with movement and body awareness. Rikkud Dance Camp, her first offering, was a week-long program for girls ages 4 to 9 to explore jazz, ballet and hip-hop dance techniques and dance combinations, while engaging in other active camp activities alongside their peers. “Last year was the first year of Rikkud Dance Camp and it was huge success; we will be holding sessions again this summer, at the end of the summer in the weeks in between camp and school,” Yaros said.

The classes all have between eight and 15 children. Small groups allow her to tailor her instruction to meet the needs of individual learners and dancers on a variety of levels, with no shortage of enthusiastic participants: “My daughter practices all week long and looks forward to her weekly class on Sunday. I see how much she is taking in and the positive impact Rochelle and the class are having on her,” said Rachel Feiner.

Yaros also runs kids’ birthday parties and brings excitement to bat mitzvah parties through “Party Dancing with Rochelle.” Janet and Neil Lauer hired Yaros for a recent bat mitzvah. “”Rochelle was a pleasure to work with. The ruach she brought to the party truly enhanced our simcha. We have recommended her to our friends and would use her again for our own future simchas,” they wrote in an email.

“I have been working as a dance motivator since college and love being able to bring my knowledge of music and dancing to provide families with a complete package of lively music and dance motivation to help the girls and adults become involved in the party through dancing and lots of energy,” Yaros said.

She combines dance with core strength training to teach others in private one-on-one training sessions. She also is open to bringing her program to other locations. “If there is interest in classes for adults that merge dance and core strength exercise, I’d love the opportunity to teach those,” she said. “I hope to continue to expand Rikkud and am always looking for new dance opportunities and venues,” she said.

For more information about Rikkud Dance Camp, Sunday dance classes, birthday parties, or Bat Mitzvah DJing and dance motivation, please contact Yaros at [email protected] You may also visit Rikkud.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/dancewithrochelle.

By Elizabeth Kratz

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