Why was this dance teacher signing books?


Tap to Pointe Dance Center in Malverne owner Sara DeGennaro held a book signing on Aug. 5 that included performances and signing of her new book, “Sofia’s First Ballet Class: Ballet is Fun!”.

DeGennaro welcomed the public into her studio to meet her and ask questions about the book, and to enjoy two performances by her Tap to Pointe dance students. The dancers performed a ballet production of “Gershwin” and a pointe production of “Swan Lake.” Both of these pieces were featured in Tap to Pointe’s June 2023 dance recital at the Olmsted Theatre at Adelphi University.

“Sofia’s First Ballet Class: Ballet is Fun!” shares the story of a little girl’s excitement as she prepares to take her first ballet class. “It also teaches readers the fundamentals of ballet such as correct posture, proper stretching practices, and basic first steps,” DeGennaro said.

In 1996, DeGennaro opened Tap to Pointe Dance Center in Malverne where she focused her attention full time. It did not take long for DeGennaro to realize that she not only had a passion for dance, but also a passion for teaching.

“I love teaching,” DeGennaro said. “As a teacher I feel I play a major role in inspiring children. And dance has such a powerful and positive impact. It is an incredible art and sport. Dance teaches you discipline, strength, hard work, grace and so much more. I am blessed to share my passion with other young dancers and to love what I do.”

Some of the students who performed at DeGennaro’s book signing have danced with her for over 14 years.

Senior Erin Dormer, who will be continuing her study of dance at Ballet Hartford this fall, said, “Tap to Pointe is a really safe environment and Miss Sara always pushes us to work really hard and do our best. I think Miss Sara’s book will help encourage more kids to join dance. I hope it encourages more students to join Tap to Pointe because it really is a great place to be.”

Alyanna Nadal, another of DeGennaro’s students, said, “Miss Sara is so welcoming at Tap to Pointe. She teaches us more than just dance. I have developed discipline, focus, and have learned the importance of being respectful. These are things we need to know for everyday life.”

DeGennaro’s student Lily Wischerth remembers being 3 years old and nervous about entering dance class. “Miss Sara took me by the hand, walked me into class, and told me we were going to have fun,” Wischerth said. “And we did! I have learned so much at Tap to Pointe. Through dance, Miss Sara has helped me develop confidence, poise, and taught me the importance of being prepared. Miss Sara’s book will introduce young girls to the art of dance and will help them realize a love of dance too.”

As DeGennaro spoke with the attendees at the book signing, she expressed genuine emotion as she spoke about her dance students who performed at the book signing event, most of whom she has taught since they were 3 and 4 years old.

“All of the dancers that you just saw perform, started out as that little girl,” DeGennaro said. “It’s really remarkable to stand in my shoes and watch them grow. It’s beautiful. I say all the time, ‘Who gets to do this?’ I am so, so blessed.”

— Contributed by Joanne Wischerth