Both Michelle Rosante and Tori Pisaneschi started their path of dance education at a young age. Michelle started dancing at six years old and later pursued a BFA in Dance at Adelphi. While taking classes at Adelphi, Michelle also taught classes at the East Hampton YMCA and Hampton Bays School of Dance. Michelle was an inspiration to all of her students, in particular 一 Tori Pisaneschi. Tori discovered her love for dance at three years old and also pursued a BFA in Dance with a business minor at Montclair State University. Both Michelle and Tori knew that dance was going to change their lives and they were prepared for the journey they were about to start.
The bond between the women grew while Tori was in college and Michelle was teaching. They spent time together sharing their love of music, nature and most importantly, dance. The two would occasionally go for walks and discuss their dreams of owning a dance studio and all the aspects involved. One day in June 2016, Michelle and Tori were deep into discussing their dream of owning their own dance studio, when they finally said, “What are we waiting for? Let’s do it!” From that day on, Michelle and Tori were no longer wishing for their dream to come true, they were working toward it.
There was much to consider: the intention, inspiration, name, mission, teachers, classes and the overall tone. Throughout the development of the studio, Michelle and Tori had to keep it a secret, even from those closest to them.
Finding a space for their dream studio was a mission in itself. They searched for the ideal dance space for their students and a location that was far enough away from other dance studios. After becoming discouraged in their search, Michelle suggested pairing up with SYS and starting their dance studio in one that was already established. The two women met with the SYS Program Coordinator Molly Tuzil in the spring of 2017 and fell in love with the space, program, and its staff. They were welcomed with open arms and enthusiasm. The SYS dance studio is fully equipped with a hardwood floor, adjustable ballet barres, a full-sized mirror and an elite sound system. It was an easy decision for the two of them.
After the location was established, the dream seemed that much closer. Michelle and Tori were working full speed- but they were only missing one thing, a name for their soon-to-be dance studio. The one aspect that was constantly mentioned in their meetings was, “We want students to WANT to come to dance,” and “We genuinely want our students to be as happy as we are when we dance.” They decided “Joy” was the perfect way to describe how they feel when they dance, thus leading to the name “Joy Dance Academy.” They didn’t hesitate once this name was established. It embodied all the intentions and inspirations that Michelle and Tori shared in all their meetings. They simply want to spread the joy that dancing brings and they want to guide students to find this joy in their own movement and in their lives outside of dance.
On June 11th, the day of the launch, the secret they had kept for a whole year was finally about to be announced. All the preparation was complete: schedules, dance syllabi, class information, policies, and mission statement were ready to be published. Michelle and Tori announced the opening of Joy Dance Academy to all their friends and family members. The website and all of their social media platforms were launched. The responses were just what they’d hoped for. Congratulations, warm wishes, positivity and excitement were just some of the blessings they received. They finally made their dream a reality.
Artistic Directors Michelle and Tori still share the same hopes and aspirations for their students and their dance studio; they want to welcome each individual into their space and help guide them to their joy in movement. They want to make an impact on each individual they come into contact with, whether it be parents and students, followers or friends. Tori and Michelle are striving to instill values of kindness, respect and self pride in everyone. They want to motivate others to express themselves through dance, provide a safe environment for expression and create a family of dancers that share the common love and joy for dance.
If you are interested in learning more about Joy Dance Academy and following their journey, be sure to like them on Facebook and follow their Instagram!