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At 43 years old, Gayle Amico went for dreams — and it has paid off in a big way.
In 2016, the West Islip mom — who began dancing at 2 years old — opened up her own studio in West Babylon called Stepping Out Performing Arts Center.
Dancing has long been a passion for the East Meadow native. Growing up, she always wanted to be a professional tap dancer. But, after she had kids in her 20s, she decided to put her goal on hold.
Now she admits that things have worked out even better than she expected.
“It is much more satisfying to teach and work with kids,” she said.
As her children grew up, the stay-at-home mother began to have more free time on her hands. That’s when she started to get back into dance, teaching at studios in the nearby area.
After teaching for a few years, it just hit her.
“I just felt like I could do it differently or better, and I just went for it,” she said.
Gayle and her husband, Kirk, launched their performing arts center in the summer of 2016. At first, they were at a temporary location until their current space at 749 Sunrise Highway was being built.
“We’re at the perfect location,” said Gayle. “We are right on the border of West Babylon, North Babylon, and Babylon.”
Having that mixture of students is very important, says the owner.
“Part of what I love about this business is that I have students that didn’t know anybody before they came, and now they have 20 new friends,” said Gayle.
In addition to Gayle, the studio is helped run by her daughters and dancers Gabby, 22, and Keriana, 19.
“The first thing a dancer does when she has girls: at 3 they go to dancing school,” said Gayle, smiling.
The Stepping Out staff also includes a variety of professional dance instructors that teach classes ranging from ages 2 to 18.
Over the years, the studio has expanded to include new classes, such as adding musical theater classes.
“In these classes, the kids learn how to become a triple threat — where they can dance, sing and act,” said Gayle. “Not many dance studios on Long Island offer this.”
The Amicos felt it was important to incorporate theater classes because of a void on Long Island.
“Students can learn improv, how to walk into an audition, and how to present themselves,” said Gayle.
And, it doesn’t stop there — new classes are always on the horizon.
“We started offering baby yoga,” said Gayle. “From six weeks old you can start them out.”
The 46-year-old couldn’t be happier she decided to “go big or go home.”
“I love what I do every day,” she told GreaterBabylon, “and I am so excited to be heading into our fourth year at the studio.”
To learn more about Stepping Out and its classes, click here.
Top: Gayle Amico with her two daughters Gabby and Keriana at their West Babylon dance studio.