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Youth dancers design routines, teach others
Destiny Herrera, right, moves to the music in her 80s garb. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL

Tori Vasquez ushered her cousins out onto the dance floor, looked away from the crowd, and waited.

And when the music started she danced – taking Lexi, Julia and Caitlin Cilley through the 80s-themed number that they had been rehearsing for almost a week in preparation for the annual Dance Stars competition at Chez Shari Friday night.

Just getting the opportunity to perform for a packed house full of the friends and family members of her fellow Dance Stars classmates was reason enough for Vasquez to be smiling, but getting to do so with her three young cousins launched her into orbit.

“It’s a lot of fun getting to work with your family members. I think that we all had fun practicing and you could tell they had fun tonight,” said Vasquez. “I’ve always liking being out in front of people and performing, but this was something a little bit different. It was good.”

Friday marked the third time that Dance Stars owner Harmony Rebeiro has put together the friendly competition which pulls family members and friends of the dancers out onto the parquet floor. Some dancers opt for their younger siblings while others convince a parent to join them.

Everything from the costumes to the music to the dance numbers are conceived by the participants themselves and then taught to whomever it might be that they’re bringing along for the ridge.

Every single seat at the event was spoken for, and Rebeiro – who was once again thrilled the turnout – says she’ll have to start looking for new digs next year to accomodate the growing crowd.

All of the money raised Friday night will be used to outfit the studio with a new tap floor.

“The kids come up with the routines and everything on their own, and it’s something that they really enjoy doing and have a lot of fun with,” said Rebeiro. “Our competitions start up in February, so this is kind of a nice event to help break the ice with the parents in more of a laid back setting.”

Rebeiro is also hosting a grand opening party at her Dance Stars studio, located at 167 Commerce Street in Lodi – Suite 101 – on Saturday, Jan. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, visit