Long Island City resident Maria Sciorillo has loved to sing, dance and act since childhood.
The Pennsylvania native and former Miss Philadelphia trained in the performing arts and recalls developing an early passion for it. But she noticed her current Queens neighborhood lacked a space where children could develop that same love for performing and decided to open Forever Young School for The Performing Arts, a new boutique studio where kids could learn the craft in a “loving environment.”
According to Sciorillo, the name Forever Young references the “special and happiest” times when she remembers falling in love with performing arts. The studio at 10-63 Jackson Ave. trains children ages 3 to 10 in ballet, jazz tap, musical theater and singing, all of which Sciorillo herself professionally trained in.
As a former preschool teacher, Sciorillo utilizes positive reinforcement and encouragement to teach her students the proper technique. She teaches “semi-private” classes of six to eight children, which allows her to give them individualized attention.
Forever Young offers 45-minute, single Saturday classes for students ages 2 1/2 to 3 years old or one-hour combo classes twice a week for students 3 and up.
“Going two times a week builds muscle memory and builds a strong foundation,” said Sciorillo.
Classes are broken up into a fall semester (Sept. 10 through Feb. 1) and spring semester (Feb. 4 through June 27). Saturday single classes begin on Oct. 5 and end on Jan. 25. At the end of the year, students will get the opportunity to perform at the end-of-the-year recital during the last weekend in June.
When she first started Forever Young, her goal was to make the children “super happy” while they learned. She showed her younger students songs from “Frozen” and shared numbers from 42nd Street with her tap class to give them a taste of real Broadway performances.
“It made my day to see the kids belting songs from 42nd Street; it made it all worth it,” Sciorillo said. “I saw little girls fall in love with it like I fell in love with it.”
Sciorillo screens performances like Tony Award showcases on a professional projector to give students a chance to “see the magic of it” rather than just hear the music.
“The kids just light up and get to understand what it [the performing arts] is,” she said.
In addition to dance and vocal lessons, Forever Young also offers birthday parties for students. The celebrant and their guests can engage in 30 minutes of a dance style of their choice followed by a party complete with pizza, cake and birthday presents.