My daughter Isabel has been fortunate to have been dancing at Happy Feet since she was 5 years old. From the first day we entered the studio and were welcomed by Cece I felt a magical energy. After 11 years that magic is still there.
The school is Cece’s life’s work. She cares so much about each and every student in each and every class. I can’t remember a single lesson where she did not stop in to check on how things were progressing. Without fail she manages to memorize every step to each number during recital season. Rarely have I witnessed such passion and dedication.
Cece and her talented staff create a positive environment to teach all the critical elements of dance. Every lesson is taught with a warm smile and each child is encouraged to do their best for themselves, as well as their partners. This process instills in each student, not only a love of dance, but also a sense of discipline and teamwork that will serve them throughout their lives. My daughter leaves every class tired, but smiling, and invariably dancing all the way home.
The students who graduate each year are a testament to the success of the Happy Feet program. At every recital, I marvel at the incredible talent of the older students performing as well as their composure. Over the years I have come to know many of these students as they assist in classes, they are well mannered, self confident, and hard working young people. No doubt Happy Feet has played a large role in their development as dancers as well as individuals. I can’t think of better role models for my daughter.
Without hesitation I would recommend Happy Feet to any parent looking for a positive dance and life experience for their child. I am so very grateful for my daughter’s experience.
I have three daughters that dance at Happy Feet, and they absolutely LOVE it! Each of them has separately said that they want to dance there until they go to college and the love of dancing that they have learned has made them consider a career in dance! When they all grow up and move away, I guess I’ll have to take up dancing myself, because I can’t imagine a time when I’m not part of the Happy Feet family!
I truly can’t say enough about Happy Feet. Years ago when my daughters began taking dance classes there, I thought that they would learn and have fun, but our experience has been so much more than that. Happy Feet is more than a dance school, it is a community, and more importantly, it is a family. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that Cece has owned the dance studio for 34 years, or maybe it is that some of the moms who now bring their children for lessons are former students of Happy Feet themselves. But, what I really think makes Happy Feet so special is that everyone who works there is warm, caring and loving. Cece, Sheri, Sandy, Patty, Ilana, Jocelyn, and everyone that teaches there really, truly take the time to connect with each and every student. One of the things that I like the most is that the teachers actually teach, unlike many dance classes out there where the teachers don’t stop to make sure that the kids are learning the proper steps. At Happy Feet, they make certain that each child is in the appropriate class, not only based on age, but on skill level and ability. They seem to want to make sure that each child has a successful experience and make the effort to make that happen. The amount of thoughtfulness that goes into the music, the dance routines, and the costumes is unbelievable. It is easy to see why Happy Feet has been around for so long and why generations of families continue to dance there. I hope one day I’ll be watching my grandchildren dance at Happy Feet – it is truly a wonderful place!
Leslie Jacobs, Ph.D.
Mom of three Happy Feet Dancers!
It has been my good luck and privilege to work with Cece Bechelli as my choreographer in producing eight full-scale musicals from 1991 to the present. Her 31 years of experience teaching kids and adults at Happy Feet Dance School are evident as she takes large groups of 70 middle school students, ages twelve to fourteen, many of whom have no dance experience, and transforms them into confident, happy and competent performers. Cece astounds all who see the way she organizes and teaches them!
Her choreography is always original while furthering the plot and giving all of the actors a chance to shine. Somehow she almost instantly figures out ability levels and then gives them appropriate, interesting and challenging choreography that weaves into the whole. All this is done with kindness and encouragement. Although she expects her students to be focused in her rehearsals, everyone feels appreciated, and the happiness and excitement is palpable. She models the kind of behavior we want to engender in our kids, and her own talent and enthusiasm inspires all who work with her.
As Gershwin says, “The happiest men all got rhythm,” and with Cece Bechelli, there is no doubt that is true. How appropriate that “Happy Feet” is the name of her school!
Director/ Teacher/ Producer
I am thrilled to recommend Ms. Cece Bechelli as a dance teacher for students of all ages.
My daughter Lucy, age 20 and now a student at Stanford University, was Cece’s student for ten years leading up to her high school graduation. I personally have taken Cece’s adult tap classes for the past ten years. I am a local choreographer and have an extensive background in tap, jazz, folk dance, and ballet. Ms. Bechelli is one of the finest teachers, for children or adults, I have encountered. First, she is an extremely accomplished and prolific choreographer. She can create a seemingly endless output of rhythmic variations in her steps that are subtle and complex. The combinations always turn out to be musical, entertaining and distinctive. Second, and more important, is Ms. Bechelli’s skill as a teacher. As a result of her long experience, she can immediately assess the skill levels in a class, how much she can expect of them, and how to challenge them creatively. I have often watched her teach children and adolescents and been amazed. She gets kids to focus, can break down the movements effectively, and can impart a remarkable amount of learning in a short time.
Her dance school is large and very popular, built through her hard work and talent. She is highly regarded by the children and their parents, and the community at large. All the kids at the studio want the privilege of being in her class. Cece Bechelli is an accomplished artist and educator.
June Cooperman MD
With great pleasure, I recommend my colleague Cece Bechelli as an exemplary teacher and performer. Cece was one of the most popular teachers at CazDance, my dance camp in the Northern California redwoods. She taught tap to teens and adults and also gave workshops in Irish dance.
She works well with all age groups and creatively handles wide ranges of abilities effortlessly. She comes to class prepared and ready to teach and her choreography is fun and challenging. Cece’s enthusiasm and love for dance are contagious and a great asset to the CazDance program!
Artistic Director, Musical Theater of the Redwoods