BATAVIA – Five-year-old Claudia Brusky of North Aurora on Sunday couldn't wait to practice her dance moves at the newly expanded Batavia Academy of Dance.
"We love it here," said her mother, Becky Brusky, as she watched Claudia doing cartwheels in the school's new second studio. "It's a home away from home."
Claudia is a student at the Batavia Academy of Dance, which on Sunday held an open and ribbon cutting for its expanded school at 8 1/2 E. Wilson St. in downtown Batavia. Owner and artistic director Anne Gugliuzza, a Batavia resident, said she is even amazed at how fast her business has grown since it opened in April 2009.
"I dream big, and I do believe dreams come true," Gugliuzza said.
The expansion also includes a retail shop, The Magical World of Dance, which sells activewear for both dancers and non-dancers. Batavia High School senior Ashley Godfrey, 17, a former Batavia Academy of Dance student, was looking at a few outfits on display in the new retail shop.
Godfrey said she is considering enrolling in the academy again.
"I miss it," she said. "The teachers are very nice and knowledgeable. They teach you all the great moves."
Her mother, Lisa Godfrey, was impressed as she walked around the expanded school.
"It was needed," she said. "The business was growing. I think it turned out beautifully."
The dance school had opened on the building's second floor. Gugliuzza was able to expand within the building after Instrument Exchange recently moved from the building's first floor to North River Street.
During Sunday's ribbon-cutting ceremony, Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke made note of the contributions Batavia Academy of Dance has made since opening in 2009.
"You really have had a lasting impact on Batavia from a cultural and social nature," Schielke told Gugliuzza.