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Stars fill the stage at N. Laurel family-run studio

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On June 6 and 7, tots in tiny tutus and pony tails will dance on the Laurel High School stage in concert with more than 200 other sublimely costumed "Pop Stars" from Stars Studio in North Laurel.

The annual recital will culminate the past year's dance study at the lively mom-and-pop studio, showcasing performance artists ranging from age 3 to young adulthood as they perform ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, pointe, poms, hip-hop and "boys only" hip-hop tap combinations.

"Every recital has a theme," said Stars owner and director Jolene Mollerick, of Laurel. "This year's theme [Pop Stars] will revolve around a giant iPod and iPod characters."

Stars Studio opened in 2008 in Ashbury Courts after Laurel resident Veronica Mack closed La Maison de la Danse on Route 198. Jolene and Glen Mollerick's three daughters — Hannah, Sarah and Alanah — had all studied with Mack and Dawn Macy-Boyette at La Maison.

Glen Mollerick is the pop in "mom and pop" and owns the title of "Mr. Fix It" and prop maker. He said the family business grew from Hannah's lifelong passion for dance.

"Hannah started ballet and tap at La Maison at age 3, and then Sarah and Alanah danced there as well," he said.

According to Glen Mollerick, he and Jolene purchased La Maison's client base when Mack retired as proprietor. Mack and Macey-Boyette stayed on as instructors.

Jolene said the Mollericks expanded on the La Maison template by moving to a spacious facility and adding two studios.

Parents and grandparents can watch their kids dance through one-way mirrors from Stars' bistro-style waiting area equipped with a flat-screen TV and wireless Internet. Three dance studios, a small kitchen and a retail store complement the Stars suite; with prolific plaques and trophies displayed throughout.

"Serving the community is very important to me," Jolene Mollerick said. "I love to show prospective clients where all my happy parents wait. And it's true, we really are an extended family."

About 70 percent of Stars dance students live in Laurel; others commute from Baltimore, Columbia, Elkridge, Glen Burnie, Millersville, Odenton and Great Falls, Va.

According to Glen Mollerick, enrollment has grown from about 160 to 240 since the Stars Studio opened, and referrals often travel by word-of-mouth.

"A lot of the people who come here are neighbors," he said.  "They carpool to dance class and bring their kids here for parties."

Stars frequently sponsors bingo nights and other family activities as fundraisers, and the space is available for party rentals.

Today, all three Mollerick girls teach along with "Miss Ronnie" and "Miss Dawn" from La Maison, Kaila Carter, Nicole Schaffner and Alexis Sample.

Graduating seniors and instructors Evan Kittrell and Amanda Clevinger are also contributing to this year's recital before heading out-of-state to Kent State University and New York University, respectively.

Jolene Mollerick said she hires Stars' instructors from within, and that construction will begin this summer on Studio 4, which will require knocking out a wall and expanding into the suite next door.

"All of our instructors have danced with La Maison and/or Stars," she said. "I have a lot of new talent and incoming instructors preparing for the expansion … and nine teaching assistants and apprentices, all who study dance with Stars Studio."

Glen Mollerick worked as a runway and print model and actor before opening Stars Studio and appeared on "The Ed Show," "Law & Order," "Oz" and "The Wire" as well as in the films "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Anger Management."

He will be teaching a new class for adults on strength and conditioning when the expansion is complete; his daughter Hannah is helping with the curriculum.

Hannah Mollerick, Stars' co-director and competition team choreographer, graduated last December from Towson State College with a BFA in dance performance and education.

"Dance can be a beautiful art, depending on the intent," Mollerick said. "When I choreograph a dance for a competition, I deem it a sport because it is competitive and athletic. However, the majority of the time, dance is interpreted in some way, also making it an art."

In mid-July, 30 Stars Studio competition team dancers will perform at the On Point National Dance Competition in Cape May, N.J. Last summer, the team competed at the Dance Educators of America Nationals in Las Vegas.

Sarah Mollerick directs the current 28 dancers in the Stars Studio performing company who perform locally at venues like Harmony Hall in Columbia and Park View at Laurel Assisted Living.

The Mollericks' youngest daughter, high school junior Alanah, is a teaching assistant and stretch class instructor.

All of the 240 Stars Studio dance students will be performing at the annual recital, which easily filled the 750–800 seat auditorium in years past and is expected to sell out.

Early, advance purchase of tickets is highly recommended.

The Stars Studio "Pop Stars" will perform at Laurel High School, 8000 Cherry Lane, June 6 and 7, at 7 p.m., with a matinee performance on Saturday, June 7 at 11 a.m. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door or at Stars Studio, 10095 Washington Blvd.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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