SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio – The Performing Arts Centre, a staple in the South Plainfield community, is currently accepting registrations for 2018-2019; in-person registration will take place this week from 6 to 9 p.m. Registration will continue through September. 

Fall classes for the studio’s 41st year begin Sept. 10 and are held Monday through Friday evenings (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.) and on Saturdays (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) The year culminates in June when students take the stage to showcase their talents in their annual spring performance. 

“We held our 40th showcase last June and are moving on to our 41st year,” said the studio’s owner Jo-Ann Faulkner. “The highlight of the show, especially for me, was having over 50 alumni come together to perform in the production’s finale. It was an exceptional experience for everyone involved.” 

Sign Up for E-News

Each year, the South Clinton Avenue studio welcomes close to 400 students of all ages, including children and grandchildren of former students. Classes in every form of dance from beginner through advanced for children age 3 through adult are offered, including but not limited to ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern, and hip hop as well as musical theatre classes and private piano and vocal lessons. Over the years, the studio has expanded to include many new programs, including the popular Vertical Freedom fitness programs. 

“We are more than just dance; we are a full-performing arts studio,” said Faulkner, adding that at her studio, all students are evaluated to ensure that they are placed in the proper level class. “It is really important to make sure each student is in the right class for their age and level. It is also so important to us that students are placed to do their best. You’re going to get better students, classes, and make a better a better dancer.” 

Additionally, at Jo-Ann’s, the focus is more on the technique and art form of dance rather than the competitive aspect of it. Programs, she said, are designed for students to discover and develop their unique talents while also helping to build on important life skills. 

“Dance is a wonderful self-esteem booster and the things learned in a dance class – discipline, the ability to perform on stage and learning how to feel and move to music in a certain ways – stay with you forever,” said Faulkner. 

Jo-Ann’s is also the only area studio to offer Vertical Freedom. Throughout the week, Pole, Flexibility, Vertical Conditioning, and Pole Choreography classes along with Pound, a 45-minute full body workout class that incorporates slightly weighted drumsticks called ‘Ripstix’ into the workout, are held. Two signature classes Pole-Ates (a Pilates mat class using the pole as a stabilizer) and Vertical Barre (based on Pilates and ballet) – are offered exclusively at Jo-Ann’s. 

“Vertical Freedom is truly an art form and an outlet that allows you to express yourself; it’s graceful, athletic, artistic. It’s expression and emotion,” said Faulkner. 

Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio – The Performing Arts Center is located at 4475 South Clinton Avenue. Registration will be held throughout September with in-person registration running through Thursday, Aug. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. 

For more information, stop by during in-person registration days, visit Joannsdancestudionj.com or call (908) 561-5094. For more information on Vertical Freedom classes, visit www.veritcalfreedom.com. You can also follow the studio Facebook  (https://www.facebook.com/pg/Jo-Anns-Dance-Studio-The-Performing-Arts-Centre-146403545377259) and Instagram (@joannsdance#Joannsdancestudio).

About Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio – The Performing Arts Center 

The daughter of marathon dancers, Faulkner took her first dance class when she was just three years old. At age six, she moved from Newark to South Plainfield and, as she got older, found herself taking classes five days a week. To offset the cost, Faulkner began assisting her teachers and after high school studied with some of the master dance instructors in New York. 

When it was time for her own daughter to take lessons, Faulkner said she wasn’t happy with the dance schools available and decided to start teaching herself. In 1977, she began renting space at the Italian American Club and taught 30 to 40 kids basic ballet, tap and jazz twice a week. As enrollment grew, Faulkner sought larger venues throughout South Plainfield before settling into her current studio at 4475 South Clinton Avenue almost 30 years ago.

Faulkner remains a constant presence at the studio. She is on site six days a week and personally oversees all business aspects. Her daughter, Tara Faulkner-Catalina, serves as assistant director as well as artistic director, and her son, Kenneth Faulkner-Alexander, teaches all vocal and music lessons. Together, the Faulkner family works alongside a team of seven talented teachers, several who personally attended the studio themselves, including Faulkner’s grandson, Alexander Catalina, 21. 

“I have generations coming back to me and it’s a great feeling to know I must be doing something right all these years,” Faulkner said, adding, “No mother or grandmother is going to bring their child to a place where they themselves did not have happy memories.” 

TAPinto South Plainfield is South Plainfield’s only free daily paper. Sign up to get all the news as it happens at www.TAPinto.net/enews and follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SouthPlainfieldTAP/ and on Twitter at @SoplainfieldTAP.