For the 25-year-old dancer and Laurelton resident, who grew up in the performing arts arena studying not only dance, but also drama, it was a proud moment.
“It feels good, but this is just a step for me,” she said.
The studio is housed in the Robert Ross Johnson Family Life Center, but in two years, Burrell plans to get her own space.
The studio is a place where children can get together and form a community. After consulting for various dance groups around New York, Burrell felt it was time to bring it all under one roof where she could build young talent.
“When I was growing up taking dance classes it was very, very competitive and if you weren't already at the top, you just were shut out,” she said. “This is a place where you can strive for excellence whether you or someone else thinks you have it or not. It's a place where you can be taught and there is no ending point for you.”
Through ballet, modern, jazz and hip-hop, Burrell plans to build stars out of the children who attend her studio. “Those are the dances where you can really perform and get emotion out of it,” she said.
Burrell is trained in ballet, jazz, African dance, hip-hop and tap. At the University of Albany, she started her own dance group which went on to win competitions.
She wants the studio to be filled with passionate people, whether budding dancers or teachers.
“I want you to have fun and make friends and get creative but I don't want that to be the ending result,” she said. “The end result is 'no you don't just have to be a backup dancer or dance in recitals,' you can end up dancing professionally, even doing your own shows.”
Burrell plans to start with the shows at her studio. Every December and June, the children will star in their choreographed shows at the end of each season. She also plans to form core groups that do high-profile performances in the future.
For Burrell, being in performing arts didn't quell some of her insecurities. She was never really sure if she was good enough, and now she wants kids to know that when they come to the studio, they're on a path to excellence.
“But you have to find it in yourself because that's the only way it'll shine through,” she said. “I had to really find that for myself.”
Registration for summer programs at Dream Discovery Studios is underway. They are hosting the first free event on Saturday May 28, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The studio will provide free fitness and arts workshops to those who register early enough to get a spot. For more information visit their website.