By Jennifer Vazquez
Those who know dancers, are familiar with the passion that drives these artists to their chosen art form. A passion that is cultivated through the mere pleasure of dancing not through the number of competitions won. This motto rings true, especially in recent years, to Susan Marrazzo, owner, choreographer and teacher of Dancesation Studios LLC located in Nutley.
Even though Marrazzo, known as “Miss Susan” by her students, finds the atmosphere of competitive dance negative and unappealing to her, she still manages to have a stellar reputation within the dance community — so much so that her dancers have been invited to perform many times in the public spotlight.
The latest of these events, where her dancers dance for the sheer love of it, took place this summer in Florida, when her students participated in Dance The World at The Walt Disney World Resort.
Dance the World is a dance showcase that takes place at The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando.
According to their website, “performers from around the world” participate in a fourday event where they “will rehearse at Disney’s Fantasia Garden, with Disney and Dance The World choreographers.” According to Marrazzo, there were about 500 dancers from all over the country participating.
The ultimate event for the dancers participating in Dance The World is when they present the dance in a parade for a special performance at Disney’s Magic Kingdom.
“It was a great camaraderie for the girls,” Marrazzo said. “The best part was their dads, when seeing them come down Main Street, were crying.”
“It is a great experience for the kids because there is no competition at all,” Marrazzo said. “It is just about performing. My (dancers) were asked to perform in the parade…(the dancers) learned the routine ahead of time, so when we got there we rehearsed with all these other girls and boys from around the country and they got to perform in the big parade.”
Though this was the third time Marrazzo and her partners performed in Disney, it was their first time they were invited to perform in the parade.
“The very first time we were invited by Disney was 12 years ago,” she explained. “Once you are first invited to go, you don’t have a problem being invited back. Years ago, we were invited through a competition that the girls were doing…(Disney) has to approve the dance studio and the type of dance that you will do.”
The Disney experience for many of Marrazzo’s dancers is unforgettable.
“I have been dancing in this studio with Miss Susan for about 14 years, and I have pleasant memories of all those performances and classes,” dancer Jillian Lanese, 16, said. “Dancing in Disney with so many others was one of best (memories)!”
Aside from the parade the dancers also took part in a stage performance where they danced their own routine in Disney’s Hollywood Studio. Marrazzo’s dancers range from 11-years-old to high school-aged.
One might ask: what changed Marrazzo’s mind from having her dancers compete (as they initially won a Dance The World invite through a competition) to not competing at all?
“I don‘t do competitions anymore,” she said. “I take my students and we perform at different places. I’m just not a fan of what competitions have become….
“We have a place down in Toms River where my dancers go perform once-a-year their Christmas show,” she said. “It’s nice because they get paid for it and they put that money in their fund so we can travel. They‘ve done the (Macy‘s) Thanksgiving Day Parade.”
Marrazzo explains that their invitation to these well-known events, such as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, was all arranged through word of mouth by people who have seen them perform.
With all these events and their annual recital, which takes place in May, behind them, Marrazzo has no immediate plans for another event. In fact, she says that her dancers are enjoying their time off until classes resume in the upcoming weeks.
Marrazzo has been dancing all her life — from professional dancing to choreography. Dancing is in her blood, so much so that Dancesation Studio LLC is entering its 29th year in business and has staggering 200 passionate students.