Newton dance school boasts long history and innovative approaches

Joanne Langione Dance Center is the oldest school of dance education for children in Newton, but it isn’t languishing in the past.

With a new dance lab to help students improve in small groups, a thriving hip-hop dance-focused program, and an “un-convention” that aims to be a more welcoming environment than a standard huge dance convention, JLDC is offering an even better experience to Newton dance students than ever before.

One strength of the center is that they offer both competitive and non-competitive options.

“Our school was started in a community, family-oriented way. We can prepare students for a career – if they want it,” said Jaime Langione Endreny, executive director and daughter of the founder. “If you want to be here five days a week, you can do that, and if you want to be here one day a week because all your friends are doing hip hop, you can do that too.”

Joanne Langione Dance Center. Courtesy Photo

There are, however, many former students who have gone on to have professional dance careers. Endreny is proud of having experienced faculty who offer classes in a variety of dance styles.

They’ve also recently promoted a faculty member to be Director of Student Development, recognizing a dance center needs someone specifically to work with families on supporting student success. At the same time, she’s also happy that there’s more than just technical abilities students are picking up.

“Dancing helps you learn so much about yourself and who you are, especially in the years of adolescence,” Endreny said. She added that when former students write back, they don’t mention how many spins they did or how many medals they won, but the friends they made.

The center is located in West Newton, and classes are offered for ages 3 to 18. There is also a play dance program for infants and toddlers and their parents, designed to encourage baby curiosity and movement.