Dancer and choreographer Shoulin Young has traveled the world, working and performing with the likes of Brittany Spears, Chris Brown, Jason Darulo and Justin Beiber. Monday, he was in Batavia, conducting classes with students at Kristen's Performing Arts Center on East Main Street.
"I love what she (Kristen) has going on here, especially for a small town like Batavia," said Young, who is originally from Rochester, but now lives in Tampa, Fla. "Any chance I get to come here and work with these kids, I love to do it. The kids always have great energy. I love every second of it."
Owner Kristen Drilling opened the studio 10 months ago and offers a wide range of classes in performing arts, including all styles of dance, theater, music and pageant training. Each summer, she tries to bring in an accomplished and well-known instructor to conduct classes for a day.
Students from the studio have won competitions in Niagara Falls and Rochester, which has drawn attention from choreographers such as Young, she said.
"They see a lot of talent through our girls," Drilling said. "They see we're from a small town, so when we have really talented girls go out and win first place over all these big cities, we get a lot of choreographers in our studio to see what our girls have."
Young said he sees the talent, but more importantly, he sees an enthusiasm for hip-hop that a lot of people might not expect from a small town.
"When you think of Batavia or smaller towns in Upstate New York, you don’t really think hip-hop, but the hip-hop talent specifically here is very, very impressive," Young said. "There are lots of kids who are very hungry for it and dance in general is something that younger kids really want and the style of hip-hop is just a music that they all love. I’m very impressed with the dancers I see here."