SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio – The Performing Arts Centre is currently accepting registrations for 2019-2020 and, this year, new and returning students will be welcomed into a newly restructured space.
The South Clinton Avenue facility features two dance rooms, a dance wear shop, and a new music studio for vocal and piano students. Additionally, the Vertical Freedom program has now been relocated to a larger space within the same building.
“We have been working hard all summer to renovate to provide our students with a new, innovative space,” said Jo-Ann Faulkner, owner of the studio since its inception 42 years ago.
When she first began teaching, Faulkner held classes out of a rented space at the Italian American Club. Back then, lessons in line dancing and the Hustle, along with traditional dance methods such as ballet and tap, were offered. Today, Jo-Ann’s offers a wide selection of dance disciplines, music lessons, and fitness classes for both adults and children.
Each year, the studio welcomes between 300 and 350 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. Additionally, Jo-Ann’s offers over a dozen Vertical Freedom fitness programs as well as private piano and vocal training.
“We are more than just dance; we are a full-performing arts studio,” said Faulkner. “Our focus is on proper technique in all the performing arts and not on competition.”
While class offerings and studio locations may have changed over the years, one thing that has remained constant at Jo-Ann’s is Faulkner’s commitment to ensuring that students learn the proper technique in all of the performing arts classes offered.
“Our programs are designed for students to discover and develop their unique talents while also helping to build on important life skills,” Faulkner said, adding, “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.”
Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio – The Performing Arts Center is run by Faulkner, along with her daughter, Tara Faulkner-Catalina, who serves as both assistant director and artistic director, and her son, Kenneth Faulkner-Alexander, who teaches the vocal and music lessons. Together, they works alongside a team of seven teachers, several who personally attended the studio themselves, including Faulkner’s grandson, Alexander Catalina.
“I never envisioned it would continue for 42 years...and, at times, I look back on it and it really is unbelievable,” Faulkner said, adding, “Dance has always been a labor of love for me. I have never lost my passion for it and I consider it a privilege to have been able to do this for a living all these years. I am blessed to be someone who absolutely loves her work.”
Jo-Ann’s will kick off its 42nd year on Sept. 9; classes are held Monday through Friday (5:30 to 9:30 p.m.) and on Saturdays (10 a.m. to noon). The year culminates in June when students take the stage at Raritan Valley Community College to showcase their talents in their annual spring performance.
Jo-Ann’s Dance Studio – The Performing Arts Center is located at 4475 South Clinton Avenue. For more information, 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).
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