Dance academy

Dellarocco delivers on the big stage for Westbrook Dance Academy

By Chris Negrini/ • 07/29/2021 11:52 AM EST

Brooke Dellarocco has built a stellar resume with Westbrook Dance Academy over the years. Recently, Brooke won several accolades in individual and group performances at the Starpower Talent Nationals at Mohegan Sun.

Brooke has earned a lot of recognition as a performer and competitor, but Brooke has found she is most proud of the camaraderie she and her senior teammates fostered at Westbrook Dance Academy.

“As competitive dancers, we’re quite decorated, but I think one of the things I’m most proud of is that our senior team has this very close bond,” Brooke said. “It’s really hard to find in the arts because you go from show to show and meet all these different people. We’ve been together for years. It’s rare to have that.”

Brooke has proven herself as what performing arts actors call a triple threat, meaning she can dance, sing and act at an elite level. Brooke feels these skills allow her to put her best foot forward in her musical theater performances.

“To be honest, I feel like I’m stronger in a musical or a musical. I can use my dancing and singing strengths that I’ve used all my life,” says Brooke, who lives in Chester.” Then acting comes naturally to me. I like being able to use everything I’ve worked on. It’s a great feeling when it all comes together. »

At Nationals, Brooke and her senior teammates earned 5 stars for all three of their routines. The band’s musical theater performance of Beetlejuice won second place in the competition and qualified for the Battle of the Stars. This group won fifth place with their lyrical performance of Land of Confusion, and their open performance of All the Rowboats won sixth place. Brooke and her teammates have been working on these routines for a long time, and getting this kind of recognition for all their hard work under difficult circumstances has done Brooke good.

Each of these routine types displays a different type of skill than their performers. Brooke enjoys the variety of what she performs with Westbrook Dance Academy.

“With jazz, it’s a very interpretive style that’s centered on what the choreographer decides. You can really change it to be whatever you like. Lyrical is closer to a ballet. It’s definitely slower music and slower movements. Beetlejuice is our best known and most decorated routine. We have a bit of everything in it. We incorporated stuff from the Broadway performance. Our costumes were inspired by the film. We combined the ideas into one,” says Brooke. “Personally, I like jazz routines. It’s my forte. I love this style of music, but I’ll do anything. I feel like my worst routine is probably tap dancing, but I’m still going to dance hard during these.

Additionally, Brooke had a few solo performances which were recognized at the event. Brooke earned 5 stars in each of her solo performances and won a national championship with her vocal rendition of It Roars, placed third with the jazz solo I’m a Woman, and eighth with her lyrical solo Can You Hear. Me? Brooke also received the Discovery Spotlight Fellowship. Brooke enjoys working with her teammates, but she thinks solo performances really allow her to go wild on stage.

“I love being in my band. It’s a great experience and an opportunity to dance with people you grew up with,” says Brooke. “Dancing as a soloist challenges me more. challenge and get feedback from the audience and judges.

Brooke has worked on her performances with studio owner and choreographer Julie Reed-Russo, and has always found collaborating with Reed-Russo to be a rewarding experience. Brooke’s routines at nationals this year were no different.

“Can You Hear Me? is a lyrical routine, so it has slow music and slow movements. In a way, it’s like an interpretive dance. You use the downbeats a lot more. The choreography is between Julie’s hands for those, and we have more say in the song. She wants us to like what we dance to. She also lets us choose the costume, which she can modify, and the result is amazing,” says Brooke. “I’m a Woman is a jazz routine, so it’s a bit more upbeat. It’s a musical soundtrack in a cabaret style. I do this dance in heels, which makes it harder. We did it because we wanted to take it up a notch.

After the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has posed over the past year, Brooke feels so good to be on the big stage again. Westbrook Dance Academy had to close briefly for safety reasons, and it was a tough time for Brooke, who thrives in that space.

“While the studio was closed, everyone on the team didn’t know what to do. We spend our lives there. It was crazy having all this free time and having school online,” Brooke says. “We were always on Zoom calls and practicing. We were stretching and dancing in our living rooms. It was definitely a tough time. We all love to play. Thank God everything is reopening.

Brooke will have another chance to perform on the big stage again as Westbrook Dance Academy travels to The Meadowlands in New Jersey to compete in the 2021 World Dance Championships. Brooke is looking forward to ending this competitive season with a bang .

“We have something called Worlds, and it’s actually happening this week. You have to qualify for that, and it’s our last competition at the end of the season. We rehearsed for it,” Brooke says. “Before the Worlds, we refine all our routines. We make sure they are cleaner and better. We could modify the choreography to make it different. We might change it to a different stage. We want to change it up a bit for judges so it’s not so repetitive. It’s always changing.

The journey was long enough for Brooke at Westbrook Dance Academy. Brooke began to admire all of the older artists in the studio, and now she takes an active role in instructing some of the younger kids in the studio.

“When I was about five or six, I did a show with my dad and my sister. I was also in a production of Annie with Artful Living. I was dancing around the house all the time when I was I started at Rayna’s School of Dance in Chester, but grew from there,” says Brooke. “Then I started at Westbrook Dance Academy when I was about eight or nine. I watch Minis and Futures a lot. We help teach them. They model their performance after the seniors. I used to do that when I was younger, so having people watching and following me is crazy.

With Brooke having her entire senior year at Valley Regional ahead of her and another competitive season with Westbrook Dance Academy, she is considering her next steps. It was a joyous and difficult journey. Brooke’s advice through it all is to remember your roots.

“I hesitate between musical theatre, communication and journalism. My parents talked to me about being a news anchor. The camera is like a stage, so I can convert what I do well into something else. I really want to go to New York to seize the opportunities,” says Brooke. “Everyone has difficulty doing what they love. They lose interest or maybe affected by COVID. My advice is to remember why you started whatever your thing was in the first place. That’s what got me through. Just remember why you started, and that’s how you keep going. Anyone interested in the performing arts; do it. He will teach more than just being on stage dancing and singing. It will teach you skills for the real world.