STATE COLLEGE — Brianna Clemente has spent the past four years at Penn State, studying, making lifelong friends and enjoying THON, football weekends and other Happy Valley traditions…but she doesn’t is not your typical recent college graduate.
On April 29 – just a week before her official graduation ceremony – Brianna announced the opening of Lucky Star Dance Studio on Martin Street at State College. An official grand opening will be open to the public on June 13 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
“It’s been a whirlwind since I made the decision to stay in the area to start my dream of owning my own studio,” Clemente, known as “Miss Bri,” told her students. “All the late nights, hard work and added stress was worth it, and I’m just getting started.”
Clemente began dancing at age 3 in her hometown of Annandale, NJ, and at age 12 showed the maturity and ability to begin teaching classes for her younger peers.
In high school, she excelled as a competitive dancer and continued to develop as a teacher and choreographer. Her love for working with children led her to study for a career in pediatric occupational therapy, but during her sophomore year at Penn State things began to change direction.
“As a child and teenager, I always dreamed of pursuing my passion for dance and opening my own studio, but when I started college I let my practical thinking take over,” Clemente said. . “I always wanted to be involved in dance, of course, so I looked for teaching jobs at local studios and was lucky enough to be hired by Hot Styles Dance Company in Bellefonte.”
During his two and a half years at Hot Styles, Clemente taught a range of classes and choreographed and coached the studio’s competition teams, helping teams grow and helping dancers achieve their personal goals. As she watched students develop their skills and excel in competitions and classes, she realized she couldn’t deny her true calling and made the decision to make her way to owning her own studio. .
“Working with my academic advisor, I was able to personalize a major and focus the rest of my classes on things that will help me succeed as a business owner and teacher,” she said. “At the same time, I took advantage of the huge growth in online classes during the pandemic to pursue my own training in dance and choreography. I made my business plan and started looking for work. space, and things started to fall into place.
Lucky Star Dance Company – the same name Clemente chose for her dream studio as a child – is located at 1510 Martin Street. The studio’s name is proudly displayed along the building’s second-story windows. The space is currently undergoing minor renovations, such as new Marley flooring, ahead of its official opening on June 13.
“Staying in the area was a big factor in my decision,” Clemente said. “Coming here for school, I fell in love with Happy Valley and so did my family. I knew I wanted to stay if I could. Although there were wonderful studios here, I saw an opportunity to to bring a unique approach and new offers to the region.
According to Clemente, Lucky Star Dance Company will work with students to customize their dance experience based on their individual goals and availability. Classes will be available during the day, for example, for students in homeschooling or flexible learning environments. In addition to classes, the studio will offer competitive teams at varying levels of commitment to help more students participate.
“Competitive dancing can be an overwhelming activity for students and their families, especially when siblings are also involved in travel sports teams or other extracurricular activities,” Clemente said. “I want to give all students who love dance the opportunity to compete in a team competition at whatever level of commitment works best.”
The studio will also offer a track for students interested in pursuing dance in college or as a career, as well as classes for current students.
“As a recent student at Penn State, I know pursuing dance activities on campus can be challenging, so I’m excited to offer classes that are specifically designed and planned for student schedules,” said Clemente. . “Eventually, I also plan to offer a few dance-related fitness classes like yoga, pilates and barre.”
She said achieving this dream was both a passion and a personal drive and ambition, with lots of support, love and encouragement along the way.
“My family and friends have supported me 110%; I think some of them knew I would walk this path before I believed it myself. I am also grateful to my teachers, former teachers and mentors, and for the opportunity I had to teach at a local studio while a student at Penn State. These experiences and these people are all part of my Lucky Star Dance Company dream come true.