Aug. 17, 2017 08:54AM EST
Dani Spieler with Maria Briggs in costume for Cats
When new Cats swing Dani Spieler was dancing at Central Park Dance Academy as a kid, her teacher Maria Bai got her to realize how important ballet technique was to her future.
<p><em>"I started out taking ballet, but after a year or two, it really wasn't for me. Then when I was 11, Maria could see that I had potential and strong inclinations toward a career in dance, so she said, 'You know, you really have to take ballet class. You need the technique. You need the foundation to become the dancer that I think you have the potential to become.' So I started taking ballet class again. And honestly, there's no way I could have been in </em>Cats<em> or </em>West Side Story<em> or any of the Broadway shows I've been in without that foundation."</em></p><p>Maria Bai is the artistic director of <a href="http://centralparkdance.com/" target="_blank">Central Park Dance Academy</a> in Scarsdale, New York.</p><p>See Spieler in <em><a href="http://www.catsthemusical.com/broadway/" target="_blank">Cats</a> </em>at the Neil Simon Theatre in New York City.</p>
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