One-two-three-four. Shake! Five-six-seven-eight. "From here, your left toe comes forward," said Angel Gelb, 19, pointing her toe while demonstrating a pompom routine to a mostly female class of about 30 Saturday afternoon.
The group of third- through sixth-graders decked out in black, red and white followed Gelb’s moves with their feet, hands and hips.
Begun 15 years ago in a Scottsdale apartment with 24 dancers, the Arizona Angels Studio has grown into a dance studio and community of about 300 students with a new 4,200-square-foot building scheduled to open in September at 11111 N. Scottsdale Road.
"When you’re driven by that need to survive and to provide for my kids, there’s no stronger motivation," said 48-year-old Scottsdale resident Amy Leroy-Gelb, president and founder of the studio.
The idea for the business, named after her daughter, grew out of Leroy-Gelb’s dancing background. She was a single mother raising two children when she started Arizona Angels and had been an Arizona State University cheerleader and lead choreographer at cheerleading camps in the summers during college.
The studio has about 20 teams who perform hip-hop, pompom, jazz and high-kick routines at Phoenix Suns halftime shows, the Fiesta Bowl and other events around the country. Earlier this year, some of them performed at President Bush’s inaugural parade.
Most of the teams compete and have garnered numerous awards in state and national competitions for the studio.
The dancers first practiced their moves without music as they stood behind Angel Gelb, an ASU student who was on the Chaparral High pompom line.
One of the studio’s dancers is Scottsdale resident Ashley Cole, 9. Ashley, with Arizona Angels since she was 3, is now on three teams.
"I like the technique, and it’s hard and challenging," she said.