“JLDC is still the same supportive family that it has always been.” – Jessica Passeggio, Class of 1995
Joanne Langione Dance Center’s recent 2023 graduate Emma Passeggio, has quite the connection to the dance center. It has been the place she has called a “second home” for 16 years, but she isn’t the only member of her family that has that same attachment to the dance center. Long before Emma became a student, her mother Jess was a JLDC alum. Both mom and daughter sat down to reflect on their incredible legacy and the combined 30 years they have spent learning how to dance at Joanne Langione Dance Center.
What did you find most rewarding about learning to dance at JLDC?
Jess: The challenge of learning new dances and new skills was my favorite part of dancing. I really enjoyed the challenge of bringing a choreographer’s vision to life on stage.
Emma: My favorite part of JLDC was being a part of the community: growing up alongside dance friends who inevitably became best friends; always watching the big kids as a young dancer; and eventually helping out with the smallest dancers as an older dancer. JLDC provided me with such a loving community to grow up in.
How does it feel to share a common JLDC experience?
Jess: I hope Emma’s time at JLDC allowed her to develop some of the same skills that I did at JLDC. Dance taught me to be brave, to not be afraid to fail, and to persevere. It also taught me the importance of art, especially dance, as a creative outlet. Dance always made me feel at home. If I was sad or frustrated, all I needed was to finish barre at ballet class and every problem would become something I could now manage. I could always feel the tension leaving my body with each plié. The ability to express emotions and communicate through movement is something that I will always value and I think Emma does too.
Emma: When I was little I used to think it was so cool that my mom went to JLDC. I loved that I could go to my grandparent’s house and see videos of my mom’s old dances at JLDC and her older JLDC jacket.
What did you learn from your time at JLDC?
Jess: I chose to enroll Emma at JLDC because dance was so important to me as a child and I hoped that Emma would find the same sense of self and belonging at JLDC.
Emma: I have learned essentially every life skill from JLDC (I have had a lot of time to think about this as I have written numerous English essays on it). Through JLDC I have learned responsibility, time management, perseverance, patience, independence, organizational skills, and so much more.
Most importantly, JLDC helped my confidence grow, teaching me to use dance to express myself and gain confidence until I could also express myself more comfortably in all facets of my life. I was the girl who wouldn’t talk during attendance, then the girl who cried on parent visiting week because there were people in the room watching, then the girl cried out of fear of improv, then the girl who cried at the idea of people watching her do her solo. If it weren’t for JLDC, I might still be the girl who wouldn’t talk. Overall JLDC has helped build my confidence as well as other qualities. Also providing me with the life skills necessary for me to move forward into college and beyond.
What are your favorite memories from JLDC?
Jess: There are SO many. . . I can’t pick a favorite.
Emma: I always struggle to pick a favorite JLDC memory. My most recent favorite memory is getting to do my SeniorSpeak with the kids I assist. I think my favorite memory with my mom is from when I was much younger, maybe in late elementary school. I used to really want to be able to get better at tap and do the steps that I saw the older kids doing. I would come home and spend time standing in the middle of the kitchen with my mom as she tried to help me get my pullbacks and wings.
“In my 16 years at JLDC, the environment has remained the same. I see all of the kids I assist growing up in the same encouraging and tightly knit community that I experienced.” – Emma Passeggio, Class of 2023
What’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger dancer or parent deciding to enroll their students in dance class?
Jess: Dance requires hard work and dedication but the skills you develop and the support of your dance family is well worth it.
Emma: My advice to younger dancers would be to be less worried about what your dancing looks like in the mirror and to others and more concentrated on how dancing makes you feel.
The Langione family truly leads by example when it comes to legacies inside JLDC.
With her daughter Jaime Langione Endreny as Executive Director, and two of her grandchildren as current students at JLDC, Founding Director, Joanne Langione knows exactly how special it is to experience the multigenerational magic at JLDC.
As Jess and Emma stated above, The Joanne Langione Dance Center is so much more than just a dance studio. It is a place filled with love, support, and community.
Congratulations to Emma as she embarks on her next chapter after JLDC.
A huge thank you to Jess for introducing the world of dance to her daughter and sharing her cherished moments from her time as a student at the place they now both call a second home and leave legacies inside JLDC.