A Love Letter From JoJo

“I am filled with pride everyday as I observe a team of teachers in class, in the student corridor or in performance. How lucky I am to be surrounded by talent, love and devotion, and such fine people.” – Joanne Langione

 

In celebration of the Month of Love, Founding Director, Joanne Langione, reflects on one of the biggest loves of her life, The Joanne Langione Dance Center. What started as a simple idea born out of her love for dance, Joanne Langione has transformed that simple idea into a happy, thriving dance school 48 years later. 

What’s her secret? As cheesy as it may sound, the secret has always been, and will always be love. Love for her students . . . love for the faculty of exceptionally hard working and inspiring teachers . . . and love for the Newton community. 

 

Think of this blog post as your personal Valentine from Joanne Langione. 

 

When I think of Valentine’s Day, I’m reminded that love happens in all different facets and stages of life and that today and for the past 48 years, the love I feel beyond familial love has and will always belong to this school, to JLDC. 

How little I knew as a 23-year-old all those years ago about running a school and even less about running a school that was expected to operate as a business. The lessons I’ve learned from parents, teachers and the community have been invaluable and so very much appreciated. The lessons I’ve learned from students are in my heart. I’ll take them with me. 

Of all the love notes the school receives I’m always drawn to this one sent more than 25 years after this student’s graduation. It makes me reflect in today’s terms how well this JLDC method still works for serving children through dance. 

“For you provided me with great quality care, kindness, excellence, love and support, intelligent, humorous guidance, protection, solid and honest schooling in dance and performance.” the note reads. 

Qualities to which the school ascribes today are borne not out of some artificial credo but by hiring practices and the expectation that love for the subject and the student will get the job done. 

Mad love for JLDC to me has always meant teaching and writing pedagogy so that still today teachers are taught to operate as teammates mentored by a school director who’s charged with teaching, guiding, and inspiring each of them to be their best and to bring out the best in each student. 

I am filled with pride everyday as I observe a team of teachers in class, in the student corridor or in performance. How lucky I am to be surrounded by talent, love and devotion, and such fine people. I wonder and think, happiness and love; they must be contagious.

As to affairs of the heart: the friendships formed at this school are so often loving and lifelong borne as they are out of a deep need each of us must have to belong. Dance friends are the best friends’ students tell us because we root for each other, help each other and laugh with each other.  When a senior dancer graduates knowing it’s the end of their time at JLDC, they reflect that classmates have become like siblings, teachers like mothers and the entire dance community like family. I love that. 

 

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In the 48 years The Joanne Langione Dance Center has been teaching dance to children, the focus on nurturing and loving each and every student who walks through the door has always been at the forefront of everything. By building a dance school built on love, Joanne Langione has been able to share that infectious feeling through her incredible faculty, as well as students. 

Thank you to Joanne Langione for sharing this moment of reflection and gratitude for one of the biggest loves of her life, The Joanne Langione Dance Center.

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Shawn Mahoney

Shawn Mahoney began his ballet, tap, and jazz training at the Joanne Langione Dance Center and his early performing career with Jose Mateo’s Ballet Theatre in Boston, MA. As an apprentice, Shawn danced for American Ballet Theatre before joining Boston Ballet. At Boston Ballet, Shawn performed in Petipa, Balanchine, Kylian, Forsythe, Bejart and others. Shawn performed as a chosen member of “Tharp!”, a national and international touring company directed by Twyla Tharp. Ms. Tharp invited Shawn to be part of the creative and choreographic process for her Broadway hit “Movin’ Out” and performed in Tharp’s “Red, White, and Blues”. Shawn performed with the Suzanne Farrell/Balanchine Project, Sean Curran Company, Washington Ballet, and Bale Estado de Goias. As an educator, Shawn has taught internationally for Festa de Danca in Sao Paulo and Bermuda Civic Ballet. Currently, Shawn is on faculty at Emerson College, instructing dance classes to actors and musical theatre students and is a teacher and lecturer at Days in the Arts. Shawn founded Mahoney Agency, representing dancers for national engagements for the Nutcracker Ballet. Shawn is a sought out mentor for emerging artists and choreographers in ballet and contemporary dance.