Dance Centre was founded in 1993 by Leigh Kestin. Here is the story of how that came about, and how we became the school we are today.
Ms. Leigh’s first dance studio was in Israel. She first arrived there, after having danced professionally in New York city, not knowing anyone and not speaking the language. But in short order she became a celebrity: Ms. Leigh had become the ballet mistress of the Israel Ballet, and created a school in her home town – Ballet de Karkur – that became known as THE school for aspiring dancers in Israel. Many renowned professional dancers and choreographers in Israel today owe their careers to Ms. Leigh. And she did all of that while raising five children.
Twenty-nine years ago, Leigh returned to the United States, to Westhampton, and set out in search of her next act. She found an empty room, connected to a second-hand store in East Quogue, and Dance Centre was born.
She started out with just a handful students, teaching all of their classes. She soon joined up with miss Heidi, our Business Manager, and Dance Centre grew. Dance Centre staged its first-ever recital in 1995 – an annual event that is now highly anticipated by our Dance Center families and the surrounding community.
What has always made Ms. Leigh so special as a dance mistress is the depth of feeling she has for each and every child, and for the school itself. She puts so much of herself into it all: every recital and every competition and every class have been touched by her in many ways. Her spirit runs through all of Dance Centre: everyone involved feels that same love and dedication for our students. They give your children so much of themselves.
Today Dance Center has hundreds of students and families. Imagine, over these many years, how many wonderful children have had their lives touched by this beautiful school that she created.
Ms. Leigh lives today on the East End of Long Island with her husband, Hesh. She has five children and ten grandchildren.