CHATHAM, NJ - After a very successful fall season, Constance Jesse, owner of Inner Grace Dance at 168 Main Street, is already planning for a great spring with classes beginning Jan. 27, 2014.

"We had two in-house performances for our parents to enjoy and our teachers went to a number of workshops and conferences to keep up with trends and get fresh ideas," Jesse said. "We look forward to an even better spring season and recital in June. We are also very excited to be bringing our first group to competition this spring."

Jesse's goal is to make it a fun experience without the stress for the young dancers and that is evident through the instruction and  intimate setting offered at Inner Grace Dance.

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"I want people to come in and feel the joy of dance and not feel the competitiveness. There is an ugly side of this business that people see on Dance Moms," Jesse said. "That is not what this studio is about. Our mission is, ‘Building self-esteem through dance.’ ”

Jesse’s instincts about teaching have been validated by a study that links the mental well-being of teenagers to the enjoyment they receive from taking dance classes.

“Shortly after we opened a scientific study was published that proved that girls who have taken dance classes twice a week had better attitudes about their bodies and physical self-perceptions,” Jesse said.

The study was conducted by Anna Duberg of Sweden at the Center for Health and Science. There were 112 girls, ages 13 to 18, in the control group. Half of them were randomly picked to take a 75-minute dance class twice a week for eight months. The study found that 91 percent rated the classes as a positive experience.

The study backs up the approach by Jesse at Inner Grace Dance, where goal is to make it a fun experience for the girls while building self-esteem.

Jesse taught dance in the area for 10 years before she opened Inner Grace in February of 2011 in the ballroom at the Fish & Game Club. Inner Grace moved to its current location at 168 Main Street in January and the intimate setting accommodated 120 students last spring.

Editor's note: Inner Grace Dance is an advertiser with TAP. For information on how you can advertise on TAP Chatham, contact Ed Barmakian at