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When Everyone Else Stops, We "Dance On..."

by Lisa Hermann

A sweet story about the early days of Dance On:

A dance studio is not just a place people go to for dancing; it also serves as an escape from the outside world. Dance On, however, is unique compared to other studios. Dance On is like a family. Once you begin taking classes; you have become a Dance On family member. Over the years of taking dance, teaching dance, and being part of this family, the Dance On studio has become like a second home to me. Dance On has a distinct presence in Hudson. Once located directly above a local store, Toohey’s, Dance On has its doors open to the whole community welcoming anyone with a passion for dance. The hustle and bustle of the busy part of town cannot overcome the overbearing sound of dancing feet.

Once those two old-fashioned rusty red doors open, the scent of sweat and hairspray fills your airways. After adjusting to the horrible stench and looking around the entrance area, a wooden shoe rack is practically impossible to miss. This shoe rack is full of shoes, mainly flip flops, of every size and every color. The sign located above the shoe rack reads “Please Take Off Your Street Shoes” in bright bold lettering. Directly below the shoe rack is the lost and found cardboard box filled with belongings left behind. I have many times looked through this box for an article of clothing I left behind. Past the heavy doors and shoe rack is a rickety old stairway, lined with handlebars on either side that help guide you up the stairs. Trust me, this building is so old that you need to use the handlebars, or you will fall trying to walk upstairs. Walking up the stairs the voices of girls (and boys) fills the area. The loud echoing greeting from Miss Lori and Miss Erin is very welcoming and makes you feel comfortable. Taking a left at the top of the stairs leads you into the waiting room which also serves as a kitchen. The walls are painted white, with shadows of dancers in black. There are rows of wooden cubbies painted white to match the walls for dance shoes and other belongings not in use. Many of these cubbies have stickers that the kids receive at the end of their dance classes. Although the room serves as a kitchen, the appliances are not up to date and are rarely used. The refrigerator is smaller than most, but it is the perfect size to keep drinks cool. Every drink is labeled with initials on the top so that we do not spread germs! The room is filled with circular tables and cushioned chairs seated at the tables. The room is occupied by dancers, and sometimes parents waiting to pick up their kids. Not only are you a part of the Dance On family, but your parents become part of the family as well. Dance on does not leave anyone out!

The taste of passion and life is present throughout the studio.  Upon entering the dance studio itself, you are greeted once again by the overbearing aroma of sweaty bodies. You can see the desire on every face of each dancer, and you can feel the devotion in the air. The floor changes from a dirty, lint filled rug, to a glistening wooden floor, and immediately you know you are in a dance studio. In the center of the dance floor there are different color shapes painted on the floor. The front line of shapes would all be the same like triangles, and then the next lines have different shapes. Every other shape is a different color alternating from blue to red. These shapes are patterned in such a way that no shape lies directly behind the other, so that when dancers are standing on the shapes, they can all be seen. We like to call this the “window” effect simply because everyone can be seen through their own type of window in between the people in front of them. The older students do not use these shapes, but many of the younger classes depend on these for learning dances. The wall in front of these shapes is lined with a mirror that is the length and width of the room. Most of the time, this mirror is covered in tiny handprints from little kids. The other walls have the same design as the waiting room, white walls and silhouettes of dancers over it in black paint. About two thirds down these walls are ballet bars that line the walls horizontally. Ballet bars are cylinder shaped wooden bars that are used for ballet stretches. It is funny to watch little kids trying to reach the bars if they are too small for them. The stereo is in the front corner of the room, and it sits on a shelf that is very old. Many times the stereo has almost fallen off if someone bumps into it. Dance On may not be as well kept as other studios, but it is a family that no other studio could compare with. Dance On is where many of my memories began, and also where many of them ended. I spent almost everyday in that building. It became a second home to me. For anyone looking for a dance studio to create life long friends, Dance On is the place for you.

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