Rachel Novelli, owner of the Grand Island Dance Center, noticed that since she moved her business from the Sandy Beach area to the Grand Island Plaza people are walking in off the street to see what's going on.
Visibility has its business advantages. The Grand Island Dance Center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce Monday at its new location, 2407 GI Blvd. The business is now in its eighth year.
"The main difference is it's sooo much bigger here," Novelli said. The two renovated studios, studios A and B, are large open rooms with ballet barres, sound systems and mirrors all around. There is also plenty of parking for all students and parents. "We can run classes simultaneously. And it's really nice because a lot of siblings take class, so while the 3-year-old's in here, the 5-year-old's in there taking class at the same time. They can take all their classes for the week in 45 minutes and parents are coming just once a week."
"When you get over eight kids in a class, you need some room to move," Novelli added.
Novelli, an Islander, teaches students from age three and up. She and her mother, Kathy Abbondanza, have many more years of dance teaching experience than just the 8 years on the Island. Abbondanza, or Miss Kathy as her students call her, recently celebrated more than 50 years of teaching dance to the community. The mother and daughter team has co-owned and operated the Lewiston Dance Center for 19 years.
"Dance is such a great form of expression for young people, it gives them a place to go to every week where they work with a group towards a common goal. It is a great feeling to be a part of a dance class," Novelli said.
Grand Island Dance offers beginner to advanced classes in the tap, jazz, ballet, modern, contemporary/lyrical, pointe, hip-hop, acro and break dancing. The studio's newest offerings for students are all boys hip-hop classes and Zumbatomic (with certified instructor Kayla Fyfe), a Zumba class for kids.
Islanders can see the new location and meet instructors at an open house Friday, Aug. 12, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 13, from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.
"This will be our third move on the Island," said Fyfe, new co-manager of the GI studio. "The community has been so welcoming to us since we first opened. We love it here and we have the most wonderful group of students to work with. All of our hard work is paying off."