All That Jazz Dance Studio’s Origin Story

20th anniversary celebration
All That Jazz 3rd Annual Recital in 2001

25 years.  As many of you know by now, this is the 25th anniversary season of All That Jazz.  What you might not know is why I opened All That Jazz in the fall of 1998.  I’d like to take this first installment of my monthly Final Thoughts blog to explain a little bit of the studio’s back story.

Growing up here in Newton and attending school at Claflin (now defunct), Peirce, Day and Newton North, I danced my whole childhood and always dreamt of opening my own dance studio one day.  My senior yearbook quote was from A Chorus Line; “All I ever needed was the music and the mirror and the chance to dance for you!”  I graduated from Bowdoin College in Maine in 1995 (yes, I am THAT old!) and decided to move back to Newton and begin the process of making my childhood dream a reality.

I relished the opportunity to build a dance community from the ground up in my vision, with my values.  I never competed in dance competitions as a child.  And, yet, nonetheless, the environment in my dance classes was not a supportive one.  There were many nights when I would come home from class in tears, but my love of dance and for the art form itself was so strong that I would force myself to persevere.

I knew from opening day that my studio would be different.  Our culture would be one of positivity and inclusivity.  I would make it my life’s mission to create a safe haven for this next generation of aspiring dancers.  All That Jazz would be an escape from the competition of everyday life and allow kids to leave their stress at the studio door.  It just doesn’t matter if a child is going to pursue dance as a career or in college or if they just want one hour a week to jam out to some fun, age appropriate music.  Either way, each and every child is supported and encouraged to accomplish their own personal dreams.

My own daughter, Gabby, graduated last spring and I have had the privilege to now witness first-hand her dance journey at All That Jazz from age 2 through high school senior.  She has decided to continue this journey at Colby College where she plans to major in education and perhaps minor in dance.  We are excited to see her first dance performance at Colby next month!  But, her story is just one of literally thousands over these past 25 years.  

Lucy Doyle was a proud member of the All That Jazz class of 2018 and Georgetown University class of 2022.  This is an excerpt from a blog post she recently wrote for us:

“Now, at the end of my junior year, I feel like I’ve securely reached a level of comfort in my communities on campus. The journey to finding those communities, however, has made me doubly grateful for All That Jazz.  Having been there since I was five, I didn’t realize all the support, learning opportunities, and leadership lessons that Miss Deb and the other teachers gave their students alongside the dancing. Being a part of ATJ taught me what it’s like to be a part of a community that cares about your entire being, and I know I’ll continue to seek out supportive communities and mentors as I move to the next stage of my life, after graduation.”

My staff and I are honored that you have chosen our dance studio and community for your own child’s dance journey this year.  We don’t take this responsibility lightly and we are so looking forward to a very special and wonderful school year- one filled with celebrations, joy and, of course, so many opportunities to Smile and Have Fun!

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