Gail Tassarotti Follows Her Terpsichorean Muse
by Loreanna Thomas
Albany Dance & Fitness (ADF) offers dance and fitness classes for teens and adults in Albany. Owner and instructor Gail Tassarotti has taught ballet for more than 25 years. She is certified as a group fitness instructor through the National Trainers Exercise Association and also holds instructor certifications in both Balletone and Pilates Mat.
Classes include ballet, jazz, gentle ballet, contemporary, belly dance, musical theatre and hip hop. They also offer group fitness classes such as Balletone, barre, Bokwa, circuit training, dance fitness, insanity, PiYo, Pilates and Zumba from 14 instructors. Private instruction is available in all formats, as are special workshops with guest teachers.
Tassarotti notes, “Most dance studios focus on children’s classes. The atmosphere at Albany Dance & Fitness is different. Our studio gives adults a place to dance without being grouped in with children. Many gyms offer the fitness classes that we have, but we limit our class size so that students get individual attention. We have classes for all ability levels; experienced dancers, those just starting out, seniors and people who haven’t worked out or danced in years.”
“After retiring from a 30-plus year career with New York State, I opened the studio in July 2011.” says Tassarotti. “I taught dance and fitness classes part-time while working for the state and had always dreamed of owning my own studio.” She says that getting the word out about all the wonderful classes that she offers is one of her biggest tasks. “We are determined to keep class sizes low, but for many of our classes, students end up with a private lesson. It’s more fun with others in the class.”
“My parents have always been very supportive of my love of dance,” recalls Tassarotti. “They paid for lessons four or five times a week, drove me to classes and rehearsals and attended my dance performances. I also remember my dad helping backstage at one Nutcracker performance and my mom knitted legwarmers for me. I started dancing when I was 7 years old and performed with several local ballet companies. I started teaching ballet while I was in high school and knew then that I wanted to open my own dance school.”
Next, Tassarotti was a dance major at Brockport State College, but only for one semester. “I wasn’t happy with the program and decided that I should focus on the business side of running a school,” she shares. “I attended Dutchess Community College and then SUNY at Albany and earned a BS in accounting. I continued to take dance classes, attended dance teacher conferences and then learned about a ballet fitness class, Balletone. I became certified as a Balletone instructor in 2006, and that was when I was introduced to the fitness industry. I then got my group fitness instructor certification and also was certified in Pilates mat.”
Tassarotti is a board member of the Capital Region Dance Alliance, Inc., an organization that aims to raise the profile of dance, nurture artistic excellence and involve the public in the art of dance. “I’m the treasurer, assist with membership, update the website and organize the annual dance festival. I was also on the board of directors of the Campus Children’s Center for over 20 years. I resigned in 2014 so that I could spend more time on my business,” she says.
As for the future, Tassarotti says, “Our goal is to offer special workshops at least once a month. We have three events over the next couple of months that are geared to the experienced dancer, but plan to offer other workshops in the future.” In the past she has held women’s self-defense, yoga and MELT workshops, open to any level, and fitness instructor workshops such as Balletone and PiYo.
“I plan to continue to expand the class offerings and workshops and fill the classes, says Tassarotti. “Sometimes I think about opening another location, but quickly decide against it. I want to preserve the welcoming, family atmosphere that we have at the studio and I want to be immersed in it.”
Albany Dance & Fitness is located at 1197 Central Ave., in Albany. For more information, call 518-573-3631 or visit AlbanyDanceFitness.com.