ROCHELLE – After starting Studio C Dance on her own last fall, Cecillia Stover expected to have 20 dancers.
Its first season ended in May with over 100 dancers on stage in a recital.
A ribbon cutting for Studio C Dance was held earlier this month by the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce. The company, located at 101 Eighth Ave. (Teen Town), offers dance lessons for ages 3-18 in a variety of styles and has competitive and recreational environments for anyone who wants to participate.
Stover has danced his entire life and has spent the past seven years teaching for other studios. Once she started teaching dance, she realized it was her passion, rather than dancing herself.
“My mom probably got me into dancing just for something to do when I was about three. But it ended up being my passion,” Stover said. “When I was 16 I went and stayed in New York on my own and trained with Joffrey and then went to school at Columbia for dance. There’s a huge group of people in Rochelle who love dance like me. They deserve someone who’s passionate about it teaching them and a program that’s actually going to serve them, whether they just want to do it for fun or do something after high school.”
Stover said Rochelle doesn’t have a lot of space for dance studios, but the Teen Town space is the perfect size and needs amenities like a mirror and a floor. The Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District has been “wonderful and accommodating” and Stover said she was grateful to be able to find the space.
Studio C’s recreational program is for students who just want to do recitals, which take place in December and May. The company’s competitive program competes throughout the spring, then transitions to national championships.
Stover said Studio C tries to perform at local events whenever they get the chance. He performed at Tuesday night’s National Night Out event at Atwood Park.
Studio C and dance can help kids learn socialization, how to show feelings when dancing, how to work in groups, basic motor skills when they’re little, and confidence, Stover said.
“We have something for everyone,” Stover said. “Whether you’re a boy or a girl or want to do somersaults or dance or just keep in shape. You can find anything here. I think we always need more things for young people to do. This is how they stay active and stay out of trouble. Even when things were closed, dancing gave them something to do instead of sitting around or being quarantined at home. It’s just important that they have something. They come and it’s not just about dancing.
Stover thanked her family for helping her complete Studio C.
“I couldn’t do it without them,” Stover said. “I sailed my whole freshman year with a newborn and literally had my daughter days before a recital. They made sure I didn’t miss a thing. Not only do they encourage me, but they give it all back it possible.
The Chamber’s Executive Director, Tricia Herrera, welcomed Stover and Studio C to the Chamber on Tuesday. She said the chamber has recently seen “a good streak” of young entrepreneurs like Stover opening businesses in town.
“When I sat down with Cecillia and we talked about the chamber and what she does, she was ready and knew what we could do and what the community needed,” Herrera said. “I had the chance to see her dance for many years and she is a very well-known local dancer. We are thrilled that she teaches all of her students and continues to be a part of our community.
Mayor John Bearrows welcomed Stover on behalf of the City of Rochelle.
“When you open a business here, you may not have a partner in reality, but you have partners in the chamber and the city,” Bearrows said. “I met Cecillia when she was three years old. His great-grandfather was one of my best friends. He would be extremely proud. We are proud to count you among the city and the chamber. You have all of us to contact. Whatever your needs, we are here for you.
Tuesday also served as sign-up day for Studio C. Stover said she was overwhelmed with turnout, much like she was at the end of her studio’s first season.
“Because we’re growing, which is wonderful,” Stover said. “I can’t wait to see what we can do. Everyone can dance. It’s for everyone. This is only our second year and we already have over 100 dancers registered. I’m excited for season two. I thought there would be about 20 people here tonight. I guess I should stop underestimating everything.”