Leaders in the World of Dance – JLDC Alumni Spotlight: Marina Vachon

JLDC is where I learned to love dance and thinking of the years I spent there helps me continue to push towards accomplishing all of my dreams and goals.” – Marina Vachon

Nearing five decades of dance education in Newton, the students at Joanne Langione Dance Center consistently curate a life-long love of dance, whether they choose to dance professionally as JLDC alumni, or simply for the joy of it.

Many JLDC alumni pursue careers in dance, teaching and choreography upon graduation. From dancing at prestigious colleges around the country, appearing with professional dance companies, national tours, TV and film appearances, even Broadway, to creating and founding their own dance programs or projects, we are proud to say they started here.

From the mentorship with faculty, life-long bonds with classmates and cherished memories from studio to stage, there is a reason why so many alumni call JLDC their home away from home. So when JLDC alumni Marina Vachon stopped in over the summer to say hi, we ended up dancing together of course! And she filled us on her experience pursuing a dance career in LA!

What are you currently doing and how has JLDC prepared you? 

Vachon: I am dancing and working in Los Angeles as a professional dancer. Recently I have been training with a dancer named Cameron Lee, who has worked with artists like Brittany Spears, Paula Abdul and JLO. He is currently my mentor and will help me on tips for future auditions, headshots, and the quality of my dancing. Recently I worked as a dancer for Shania Twain’s new music video that will be released in the new year, as well as some smaller projects for film and social media. JLDC has taken a huge part in preparing me for my current work situation. The studio always taught me to never give up on my goals. It takes a lot of hard work to make dancing professionally in LA happen, and you constantly have to remind yourself why you love dancing so much. JLDC is where I learned to love dance and thinking of the years I spent there helps me continue to push towards accomplishing all of my dreams and goals.

What skills or advice did you take with you into your next chapter as a JLDC alumni? 

Vachon: One piece of advice and skill that I took into my dance career after JLDC would be to remember how important technique is. Foundation training is SO important, and I constantly am pushing myself to get into ballet and hip hop foundation classes.

What is your favorite memory from your time at JLDC? 

Vachon: Looking back, one of my favorite memories at JLDC would probably be my last recital that I got to perform in. After that show, getting all the love and support from my dance family made me realize that I could pursue a career in dance and that I wanted to do it for as long as possible. Now that I am not performing on stage as often, I never will take for granted how amazing recital weekends always were at JLDC, and all the accomplishment and love that I would feel at the end of those weekends.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be? 

Vachon: If I could have told my younger self one thing during my time at JLDC it would be to trust the process and that being consistent matters. Hard work matters in the end and if you never give up on top of that hard work you will most likely find success. I would also remind myself that I started dancing because it was fun and to never lose the joy that it brings you!

JLDC Alumni Spotlight - Marina Vashon

What is one piece of advice as a current JLDC alumni you wish to share with current students? 

Vachon: One piece of advice I have for all the current JLDC students is to always remember how much you love what you are doing. Passion for something like dance can help your career so much more than you think. Enjoy every minute at JLDC because it goes by so fast, but know that it will always be that safe and warm space to come home to.

Vachon is returning to JLDC this month to teach at Un.Convention Winter, our master class dance intensive that brings all the best part of a large dance convention to our home studio. 

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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.