Cecilie Klaus always had a passion for music and dance since she was little. While studying dance in London, however, she picked up a hobby: roller skating. She ogled dancers who graced the rink floor with their skating technique and learned from them. Their inspiration led to Klaus coming back to her home of France and starting the Miss’ile Roller Skating Dance Company in 2005.
In 2013, she began a second company in NY and now teaches on Long Island and in the tri-state area.
“My parents were musicians and they put me in a music conservatory at the age of four,” said Klaus. “I had passion for music and then I felt like I needed to move. And for me, dancing was a way to live music.”
On Monday nights, Klaus can be found at Layla’s Dance and Drum in Valley Stream from 6:30-8 p.m. teaching students her moves on skates. The class is open and all participants must do is bring their own skates or use the free rental ones.
“I think we came across each other on social media,” said Klaus referring to studio owner, Anayo Michel and herself. “Layla’s Dance and Drum has a big variety of different styles of dance.”
There are about ten children ranging from about six to 11-years-old who participate in the class while their parents observe. They begin with warm ups that have them tapping their skates similar to the sound of tap shoes clicking. They then follow Klaus by twisting on their skates elegantly and closing with slides left to right.
“The kids are multi-trained,” said Klaus. “It allows me to also have them do acrobatics on skates, just like the same way we do it in a company. I would like to have a children company, but I didn’t have any requests yet for that.”
After the warmup, Klaus teaches the kids a new sequence of steps, otherwise known as a combo. She does it slowly, does it all out with them and then they do it on their own. Usually they would be preparing for their end of the year recital dance, but due to COVID, there is no showcase in sight.
“During the summer, we [her rollerskating company] were outdoors as much as possible wearing masks,” Klaus said. “But these days, for the kids, it’s too cold outside. So we are indoors and we keep the windows open whenever we can and have air purifiers. The kids wear masks all the time besides when we have a quick break.”
Michel’s daughter, Layla Michel, is 11-years-old and takes an array of classes like ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and acro. When she grows up, she dreams of being a dancer and actress.
“I like dancing because I get to be free with my movements and emotions,” said Michel. “We learn a lot of different moves and tricks from the class.”
After practicing the combo, Michel along with other students practice front walkovers and cartwheels while having skates on. The kids were laughing and smiling as this seemed like their favorite part of the class.
Klaus also teaches acrobatics classes at the studio on Tuesdays at 4:30 p.m. Besides Layla’s Dance and Drum, Klaus teaches adults in Brooklyn on Wednesdays.
If you or your child is interested in showing off some new dance moves at the skating rink and wants lessons, reach out to Klaus here.