The Power of Dance- How Ocean Dance Force is transforming young lives.
Dance has the power to transform lives, instill confidence and ignite dreams. In the heart of downtown Manasquan, Ocean Dance Force (ODF) stands as a pillar of inspiration, empowering the next generation of dancers to reach new heights.
Founded in 1994 and under the dedicated ownership of its current proprietor since 2013, ODF has not only nurtured young talent but also provided invaluable opportunities for students to showcase their skills and pursue professional careers in dance. With a legacy rooted in the community and a commitment to fostering a welcoming and supportive environment, ODF has become a haven for dancers of all ages, igniting their ambition and empowering them with confidence for life.
The story of ODF begins with the current owner’s personal journey. Growing up in Brielle, Sheryl Guerrero, a 2001 graduate of Manasquan High School, experienced the transformative power of dance at ODF (formerly known as Diane Fay Dance Gallery). Mentored by the studio’s previous owners, Diane Fay and Dan Barris, she discovered her potential as a dancer. After moving back to Brielle in 2008 as a dance instructor, she realized that teaching was her true passion after witnessing the impact she had on her students. In 2013, she embraced the opportunity to continue the legacy of ODF, becoming the proud owner of the studio. This transition marked the beginning of a remarkable journey to inspire the next generation of dancers in the greater Manasquan community.
A Chance to Shine
“I felt a calling to give back to the community I grew up in and create a dance studio that goes beyond technical training, a place where young dancers can discover their true potential and feel empowered to chase their dreams,” explains Guerrero. “It’s not just about dance; it’s about giving every aspiring dancer a chance to shine.”
With a rich history spanning nearly three decades, ODF has evolved to offer a classes in a diverse range of dance styles, including ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, lyrical and pointe. From its baby classes to its performance company, what sets ODF apart is not only a commitment to technical excellence but also a focus on instilling important life skills and values in students. The dedicated team of instructors at ODF, many of whom have been a part of the studio for years, share a deep passion for the art of dance and the community they serve. This cohesive and experienced team aligns with the studio’s mission to empower dancers with confidence and ambition.
Like many businesses, ODF faced significant challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Uncertainty loomed, but with determination and the unwavering support of the community, the studio quickly adapted to virtual dance classes, becoming the first in the area to make this transition. The resilience demonstrated during this period solidified Guerrero’s commitment to delivering on ODF’s mission. With the support of her studio families and the dedication of her instructors, the studio persevered and emerged stronger than ever.
The impact of ODF reaches far beyond its studio walls. Guerrero and the studio’s commitment to excellence has led to numerous achievements and accolades for its dancers. ODF students have consistently garnered recognition at regional and national dance competitions.
Many of Sheryl’s students have gone on to pursue professional dance careers, joining prestigious dance schools and companies. This success is a testament to the exceptional training and guidance provided by the ODF faculty. “We strive to expose our students to diverse dance styles and perspectives,” says Guerrero. Collaborations with renowned choreographers, guest artists and master classes have broadened ODF dancers’ horizons and nurtured their artistic growth. “Being so close to NYC, we love to take advantage of talent that is within reach.” Each year the studio’s performance company dancers go into the city to take a master class and then see a performance, either on Broadway or at Lincoln Center. “This past year,” says Guerrero, “we had a master class with Connor McRory (a Swing for Funny Girl Broadway) and then saw a performance with Lea Michele in Funny Girl on Broadway! This was a once in a lifetime experience that I was so thrilled to be able to provide for our dance families.”
ODF has also made significant contributions to the dance community at large. The studio actively participates in community events, performing at the Candy Cane Hunt (organized by the Manasquan Chamber of Commerce) and other local festivals, parades and charitable functions. ODF believes in giving back and uses dance to inspire and uplift others. By sharing their artistry and passion with the wider community, ODF dancers become ambassadors for the transformative power of dance. “Through these opportunities, our students learn to embrace versatility and express themselves authentically,” says Guerrero.
As ODF looks to the future, its commitment to empowering the next generation remains steadfast. The studio continues to evolve and adapt to meet the changing needs and aspirations of its dancers. Guerrero wants ODF to be a hub for dance education that also fosters a supportive and inclusive community and nurtures creativity, passion and personal growth.
As the studio continues to evolve and innovate, its legacy of empowerment and artistic growth will continue to inspire generations to come. Guerrero knows that ODF is not just a dance studio; it is a force that propels dancers toward their dreams and instills in them a belief that anything is possible through the power of dance.