The new owner of Andrea’s Dance Studio has had a long-time relationship with the 52-year-old Bronx business.
Nicole DiSilvio took her first dance class at two years old from studio founder Andrea Verdeschi and has been with the studio ever since — for a total of 28 years — as a student, teacher, and choreographer.
“This is like a second home to me,” DiSilvio said about the studio.
While she always loved performing as a dancer, DiSilvio said her true passion has always been teaching. She started assisting with classes at the studio when she was 10 years old, and started teaching her own classes at age 15.
In addition to teaching at the studio, she also taught dance classes at P.S. 83 and 105 for the past 10 years, and has taught at Hostos Community College as well.
What she loves about teaching is seeing her students grow as dancers and succeed in their performances.
“I love watching my students on stage, it’s such a different feeling,” said DiSilvio.
In addition to teaching, DiSilvio said she’s always wanted to own her own dance studio, and was honored when Miss Andrea, who recently cut back on her work load, asked Nicole to purchase the business.
“It’s my dream come true,” she said.
The studio on Morris Park Avenue has three dance rooms, about 10 teachers, and between 250 and 300 students, said DiSilvio. They hold classes Monday through Friday, for ages two through adult, from beginner to the competition level. The wide variety of dance styles offered include ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and acrobatics.
“We’re a well-rounded, all-around studio,” said DiSilvio.
She said the studio will be adding new class styles including contemporary and musical theater, and will start holding master classes with guest teachers in various genres of dance.
Although DiSilvio said she wants to modernize some things and bring a younger feel to the studio, it’s important to her to retain its homey feeling for her dancers.
“I want to keep it that family-oriented place, where kids can come at age 2 and grow up here,” she said.
The key to creating that environment is to encourage the students instead of pressuring them to perform, she said.
“I want the kids to learn good technique, but I want it done in a fun atmosphere,” said DiSilvio.
A good dance class gives kids more skills than just how to move, said DiSilvio. Younger students especially gain focus, learn how to take turns, experience working as a group, and feel what it means to be dedicated to something.
“We do teach them more than dance,” she said.
Classes at the studio start September 8, and registration is currently taking place. More information can be found at www.andreasdancestudio.com.