As I sit to write this blog “My Journey to AIM,” all of my years as a kid rush back to mind, what great memories! I was just 10 years old when I met Siobhan, she was 9- we became “besties” at first sight. We danced at North East Dance Academy together for our whole childhood. During those years we started the studios first dance competition team, which led to fun dance sleepovers! The most memorable moment was when we performed in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade together (Pictured below).  We stayed in NYC for a week with no chaperone, some of the best memories a friend could ask for. I’m so grateful for our memories. 

In 2002 I graduated with my BFA from The University of The Arts in Philadelphia. While attending college, I would frequently go into NYC on the weekends for auditions.  I booked my first job touring England with Recording Artists, Shannon and Wendy Phillips.  I was off… my professors allowed me to take the job and get credit for it! I was so grateful and excited!! My college Journey was so inspirational, I learned so much from my peers who were in companies and performing as well as my professors. I cannot tell you how blessed I feel to have learned from the best!

After I graduated in 2002, I continued to audition and expand my education as a dancer and an actor.  While dancing with Recording artist, Rihanna and acting in John Legend’s “Everybody Knows” video, I also took such a strong liking to acting. I was continuing my education as an actor in Meisner technique with Matthew Corozine ‘MCS.’  Acting was so important to me as a performer and human being, as it has changed my life!

It was 2011, I can recall the day I was walking in NYC downtown on Spring street.  I was leaving an audition and I decided to go on Facebook and saw Siobhan. I decided to write her and reconnect! I was so elated! It had been so long, our  separate journeys had finally merged.  She had asked me if I was interested to teach at her new studio, something I never thought I would do. This turned into MY CAREER, WHAT I LOVE TO DO!! Teach dance, Inspire and touch hearts! To connect and be a part of what I call now, my second FAMILY! My heart ❤️ and soul! 

I’m so grateful and blessed to be such a big part of my family called AIM!  I cannot imagine my life without my “sisters,” all of the students I call my kids, and the parents are my close friends! I love connecting and I’m so happy I reconnected with my childhood best friend! I love you Siobhan!

I cannot wait to see how much more we grow as a family and I cannot say enough how proud I am of all of our students! I’m so excited to see where our “Yellow brick road”

 takes us through this journey called LIFE!

~Athena Castiglione