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LUCKY 13 for Hudson Valley Academy of Performing Arts

Updated: Aug 7, 2019

Director and Founder Debra Hughes saw the For Sale sign and walked into the old Catholic Church on Route 82 in Taghkanic and had her “Aha” moment. When she saw the open floor space of the Congregation, Debra immediately envisioned the home of her own dance academy. Now on August 13th, The Hudson Valley Academy of Performing Arts will celebrate its 13th year of providing training in the performing arts of dance and theatre.

The Hudson Valley Academy is the largest dance school in Columbia County with students ranging from age 3 to adults who study in the art of creative dance, ballet, tap and modern dance to Hip Hop. Debra believes her students will receive an education of a classical art form that teaches patience, precision, and mastery that can even become meditative. “Of course you can dance,” says Debra who believes everyone can learn to dance and experience the joy of movement.

The Academy also welcomes community events such as The Lake Charlotte Historical Society presentation of Taghkanic Baskets by Mary Ann Proper Barto, and a fundraiser for George Weaver, whose house burned down, with an evening of students performing country line dancing and step dancing.

The Academy may best be know for its annual community production of The Nutcracker at the Taconic Hills Performing Arts Center with students performing along side professional dancers from companies like New York Theatre Ballet. Debra is most proud to announce that two students from the Academy, Lola Hughes and Ciara Dellea, auditioned and were accepted into the American Academy of Ballet Summer Intensive held at Sarah Lawrence College.

All of this World of Dance and Performance has been brought to our community by a woman who started to dance at age 7. Debra has a love of dance that has taken her from a scholarship to the San Francisco Ballet School to a BFA at Long Island University. She has choreographed productions for Foxwoods Casino and been awarded an Individual Artist Grant by Pinellas County Arts Council. She has danced with several ballet companies, appeared in films and theatrical productions and currently is on the faculty of Steps On Broadway, home to many of the most world-renowned teachers guiding dancers from American Ballet Theater, Kirov and Royal Ballets, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Martha Graham. “I love to re-connect with dancers and experience that passion, that commitment. It’s my church. Dance is your nobility.”

Class registration for the Fall Schedule can be found on the HVAPA website

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