Why Study Dance?

Many young girls dream of becoming ballerinas, but very few actually make it to the ranks of world class ballet companies. There are many examples of well known people who studied dance and were able to use those skills and training later in life. So what are some of the things that ballet training help with that will be useful in the future, and who are some of those famous people you might recognize?


Ballet dancers are easily spotted in a crowd because of the way they hold their heads and the way they move when they walk.  They seem to be gliding across the floor as they move through a room.


The structure of a ballet class always includes “floor exercises”. These combinations of steps are completed in the middle of the floor as a group, but each student is seen and corrected by the teacher. There is always a section of the class that has the students practicing the combinations individually. These “mini performances” help to develop confidence and stage presence.


Ballet dancers develop a keen sense of coordination and mental skills as each set of technical skills is done on the right side and the left side. While most dancers favor one side over the other, every dancer must learn all of the steps using both sides. The mental and physical result is increased coordination and symmetry.

People you may recognize

So how do these skills help in life? Just ask these celebrities who once dreamed of being a ballerina!

audrey-hepburnAudrey Hepburn studied ballet under one of the leading figures of Dutch ballet. She put those skills to use in the film Secret People.





amy-adamsAmy Adams apprenticed with a local ballet company before she made it big as a actress with some lovely dancing in Enchanted!





zoe-saldanaZoe Saldana studied at the ECOS Espacio de Danza Academy in the Dominican Republic before she embarked on a career in acting with the break out movie Center Stage.

Building Ballerinas One Step at a Time

Who is a ballerina?

A ballerina is someone who dances ballet. Gym Star Dance will open the world of ballet and dance to its students teaching them the language of movement. The body learns the most basic elements first – ballet steps are the words. The basic steps build on each other and become combinations – like sentences. The combinations become more complex and complicated – just as our sentences become more complex as we grow and learn.

Steps Become Choreography

At Gym Star Dance, our students begin with the same basic steps as all ballet dancers do – plies, tendus and releves. The dancers in this video are from Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle.  They are doing the same steps that we teach our students, but they have several more years of practice under their belts!

Choreography Becomes a Performance!

We will begin the year learning the steps which will quickly build to combinations that becomes choreography for our first performance! Our students will begin preparing for the winter production of “Polar Express” at the same time they are building their knowledge of ballet. They will be able to see how the steps they learn are directly used in the creation of choreography that makes a performance.

So join us at Gym Star Dance this September, and put December 10th on  your calendar for “Polar Express”!

Gym Star Dance Announces New Season and Winter Performance

Gym Star Dance logo2015

Gym Star Dance, a program of Gym Star Sports Center in Ferndale, WA, announces its first full season of ballet and hip hop programming highlighted by a winter performance of “Polar Express”.  Gym Star Dance classes for 2016-2017 include pre-ballet, ballet and hip hop for students ages 4 – 18 years old.  The first session of classes will culminate in a school wide performance of an original production of “Polar Express” at the Heiner Theater located on the Whatcom Community College campus December 10, 2016. Registration for classes is open now.  Classes begin Tuesday, September 6th! Contact Gym Star at 360-384-3861 or online at www.gymstarsports.com for more information.

“It has always been my dream…”

Hovanderbmann2014Gym Star Dance has been a lifelong dream for Carolyn Saletto who began her teaching career in the GymBus.  The GymBus transitioned into Gym Star Sports Center in 2005, and Gym Star Dance was added in 2016.  The dedicated dance studio includes a Marley dance floor, a wall of mirrors and ballet barres that are adjustable for even the smallest dancer.

“Gym Star Dance combines high quality dance instruction with the Gym Star Sports Center’s practice of supporting healthy, active children.  Our instructors have many years of experience in both training and performance and enjoy sharing their knowledge and love of dance with their students,” said Carolyn Saletto, Gym Star Sports Center owner.

Quality instruction and happy students!

Ballet Instructor Lee Van Wagnor Ballet instructors Lee Ann Wagoner and Laura McKinney are both classically trained with many performance credits between them. Lee began her studies in Nova Scotia, followed by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Real Academia De Ballet in Mexico and the Halifax Ballet Theatre.  She moved to Vancouver to dance with Arts Umbrella Dance Company.  Lee recently relocated to Ferndale and has been teaching ballet with Gym Star Dance since its inception.  

Ballet Instructor Laura McKinneyLaura’s ballet career began in Columbia, South Carolina, with Columbia City Ballet and Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet.  She studied intensively at the North Carolina School of the Arts and Boston Ballet before career and life took her around the world. Laura moved to Blaine with her husband and children two years ago and is thrilled to expose new students to the beauty and challenge of ballet.

Hip hop dance instructor James KimGym Star Dance also includes classes in hip hop taught by Washington native James Kim, James began break dancing as a young boy inspired by movies such as “You Got Served” and “Honey”.  James joined a hip hop dance team in high school that went on to win the state dance competition in 2010 and 2011 and won the national dance competition in 2010 and 2012.  As a new addition to Gym Star Dance, James has just two rules: have fun and stay positive!


Classes begin Tuesday, September 6th! Contact Gym Star at 360-384-3861 or online at www.gymstarsports.com for more information.