SARATOGA SPRINGS — After kicking off a successful inaugural half-season in January, Saratoga Springs-based C3 Hip-Hop Dance Co. is preparing to begin its first full season this September, offering kids a chance to connect and perform in the local community.
C3 was founded by Julie Labate, a Miami native who grew up dancing with a variety of teams in the local area.
After moving to Saratoga Springs, Labate started C3 with the hopes of establishing a program of her own. C3’s initial half-season began in January, with Labate saying the first months “went great.” She said there were 36 kids and three different teams participating in total.
“It was really neat watching everything come to life,” Labate said.
The teams performed in the local community several times throughout the year, including performances in the auditorium at the Saratoga Springs Public Library, at The Adirondack Trust Company Festival of Young Artists at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and at the Saratoga Race Course.
“I like to give them performance opportunities, because I think it brings out that next-level feeling, that out of body, larger than life, on-stage feeling,” Labate said.
C3 also held a year-end recital at The Night Owl, which Labate described as “a big outdoor celebration.”
“The kids performed, but the parents stuck around after,” said Labate. “I wanted it to be the community coming together to celebrate an awesome first season, as opposed to just having them up on stage, watching them, and departing.”
Labate said the company is looking forward to beginning its first full season this September. C3 will host tryouts on Sept. 10, with the season set to begin on Sept. 17.
She noted the first half of the season will be focused on training and skill-building, while the second half of the season will be focused on performance routines.
“This full season, we have so much time to really dig in, and actually get the kids trained and have time for team bonding, have time for get-togethers,” said Labate. “It’s just an even greater opportunity for the connections that the kids are already making, to really dig into them.”
C3 is also expecting to grow this fall, with Labate saying she is expecting to “more than double in size.” She said they will offer two teams at both the peewee and junior level in addition to a “mini-team” for ages three and up, as well as the possibility of both an intermediate team and an advanced team, depending on the number of kids who try out.
“So, I have kids of the same age practicing on both Sundays and other kids of the same age on Mondays,” Labate said. “They have more flexibility with what works best for their family and their scheduling.”
Signups are available at c3hiphopdance.com. Labate emphasized that C3 will continue to perform around the local community, saying they are set to return to the Festival of Young Artists next summer, and noting that the intermediate team and the potential advanced team would plan to begin competition this season.
“Kids who want to do anything above the novice level need to attend a tryout,” said Labate. “When they try out, they get placed onto whatever skill level they’re ready for.”
Labate said it is meaningful to see the impact on the kids, noting many of them have become friends and “found their home” at C3.
“A lot of parents told me that a lot of these kids were still trying to find what activity worked for them. Then they found hip-hop, and it’s like they found their thing,” she said. “It’s a larger than life, surreal feeling to watch kids be that connected to it.”
And while she noted the company is expecting to grow significantly this season, Labate emphasized her goal of maintaining a personal connection with every kid.
“I just want it to be a sustainable homebase for people,” said Labate. “I think that the kids are starting to feel that, and I’m starting to feel that as well, because of the way that it’s impacting families.”