Ballroom duo opening studio

Photo provided
Dance partners Natalia O'Connor and Florin Vlad are opening Dance Fire Studio in the Shop Rite Plaza in late October.Photo provided Dance partners Natalia O'Connor and Florin Vlad are opening Dance Fire Studio in the Shop Rite Plaza in late October.

By Kristin Schultz

Gazette Reporter

There’s a new business waltzing in the ShopRite Plaza in Niskayuna this month. Champion ballroom dancers Florin Vlad and Natalia O’Connor are opening Dance Fire Studio & Fitness, a ballroom dance studio where they will offer dance and fitness classes.

“The name represents the fire and the passion we have for dancing and the studio,” O’Connor said.

The studio will feature a 4,400 square-foot floating dance floor, the largest in the Capital Region, according to O’Connor and Vlad.

The pair will offer monthly memberships as well as drop-in options. No partner? No problem. Individuals are encouraged to sign up as well as those getting married and need to brush up on their moves before the big day.

“It’s great if you’re getting ready for a wedding,” O’Connor said. “Couples can work on their first dance or fathers and daughters can work on their dance.”

O’Connor started dancing when she was 8-years old and living in Philadelphia. Vlad first took to the dance floor at age 10 in his home country of Romania. The pair have been dancing together since their mid-teens.

O’Connor is a former ballroom dance national champion, world semi-finalist and World Cup finalist. She has taught dance in the area as well.

Vlad will manage the studio and he, too, has many awards to his name. He is currently the fifth-highest-ranked ballroom dancer in the country. He will manage the studio when it opens.

25 styles

Members and drop-in participants can learn any of 25 styles of dance in a group setting and the studio will also offer private lessons as well as rehearsal time.

Beyond the cha-cha and fox trot, Dance Fire Studio & Fitness will offer group fitness classes like Pilates and Zumba. The studio will also host Friday night socials from 7 to 10 p.m., at which members and drop-ins can enjoy three hours of socializing, dance and snacks.

The studio professionals will also be available to travel and provide event entertainment and corporate team-building.

The space will feature a lobby and studio as well as changing rooms.

“Everyone can learn how to dance,” O’Connor said. “We offer an open and warm atmosphere, and you choose what you want to learn. You don’t need a partner and it’s great for physical exercise.”

O’Connor and Vlad hope to host a grand opening masquerade ball.

For more information, see the studio’s website at