SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Over the past two weeks, Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio – the Performing Arts Centre and Vertical Freedom have been working to find ways to keep students and clients active while also keeping the South Clinton Avenue business afloat. 

“As I am sure you all know by now, the governor has mandated that all businesses such as ours be closed until further notice due to the COVID-19 virus…We will continue to monitor the situation very closely, and will update all of you each week on the status of the dance studio,” stated the studio’s owner Jo-Ann Faulkner in a letter to TAPinto South Plainfield. 

Currently, Jo-Ann’s, which opened its doors in South Plainfield more than four decades ago, is using its nine-day spring break, from Monday, March 23 through Wednesday, April 1; the original dates for Spring Break would have been April 9 through April 18. “Our plan, as of now, is to make up for all lost classes as soon as we get back into the studio. Right now, we cannot give more information about makeups until we know a date that we will be able to return,” she stated. 

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The Vertical Freedom program, however, is still running, with select classes now being offered through an online platform. “While the dance studio works to figure out a plan, Vertical Freedom has gone online,” said Tara Faulkner-Catalina, the studio’s assistant director, noting that a select number of classes, including Pilates, Barre, Flexibility, Adult Ballet, and Yoga/Pilates Power Flow – are being conducted daily through Zoom. 

“We are still offering any of the classes that don’t require equipment and are modifying everything as much as we can,” said Faulkner-Catalina, adding, “If you don’t have a mat, you can just go on your carpet and do a Pilates class; for a barre class, you can use a chair; and for a flexibility class, you just need your body. If you don’t have small weights you can use a 16-ounce bottle of water, they are one pound each.”

Anyone looking to sign up for a Vertical Freedom class can reach out directly to Faulkner-Catalina at (908) 670-4374 or sign up online through ‘Vertical Freedom’ and ‘South Plainfield) or the MindBody app. A variety of packages are available as are drop in classes with a new client offer of three classes for $40. Additionally, students of Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio will receive a 20-percent discount on any Vertical Freedom package. 

“We are doing what we can and these online classes will help us continue to pay the rent and keep the dance studio alive,” said Faulkner-Catalina. 

“Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio has been in existence for 42 years, and I am determined to not let the coronavirus be the thing that permanently closes the door, but I need everyone’s help and support during this very uncertain time,” added Faulkner, noting that the studio’s rent still needs to be paid in order for its doors to reopen down the road. Anyone with an account past due through March can send checks to the studio (4475 South Clinton Avenue, South Plainfield, NJ 07080) or call Faulkner directly at (908) 756-0656 to pay by credit card. All late fees will be waived. 

“As the studio needs your support, I, too, will support all of you as best as I can so that every child can come back to dance classes, no matter the family financial state,” she said. “Let’s all try to work together so that we can come out of this stronger, closer, and more supportive of one another!

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