Dance Is More than Learning Steps: Reflections from the Class of 2022

“Thank you JLDC for giving me a space to be myself, and allowing me to create bonds and memories to cherish forever.”

– Rebekah Jaffe, Class of 2022

The faculty at Joanne Langione Dance Center have always been committed to creating a family-like atmosphere amongst students. By celebrating the entire collective of dancers, generations of current students, faculty, and JLDC alumni cheer each other on long after their final moments on the stage.

The rare and precious community that is found at JLDC, makes saying goodbye that much more difficult.  After a decade of classes, recitals, competitions, and lifelong memories, graduating senior Rebekah Jaffe, shared her reflections on her time at JLDC. 


2012 was my first JLDC recital. Here I am 10 years later preparing for my last. To me, dance is more than the steps you learn, and the shoes you wear. It’s a community, and I have been so lucky to find that at JLDC.  

Membership in the dance community requires teamwork and constant encouragement. Here, among my teammates, our common love of dance makes me feel included, safe, and valued. We share a commitment to overcoming physical discomfort, emotional exhaustion, and the ups and downs of life on the stage. 

My earliest memories are from my time dancing at JLDC. At that young age, I quickly learned that a community foundation is key to success.  I learned to work with others and to support my fellow dancers before I even knew how to read or write. 

As our routines have become more complex and the competitions more high-stakes, we have learned to rely on each other in challenging moments. I remember being somewhat behind my teammates when we were learning to dance on pointe. When I finally received my invitation to pointe classes, I was thrilled but nervous. I was encouraged by my classmates who gave me advice and tips about how to get the best padding for my shoes and how to stretch before class. 

Outside of dance, my team has given me tools to be a successful member of many different communities. I’ve learned priceless lessons about collaboration, perseverance, and responsibility. Because of dance, I am a reliable and supportive force in any endeavor. 

 One thing I love about JLDC is their commitment to having one big family. Yes, everyone has their own class they dance with each week, but the faculty make a big effort to migrate everyone closer together. Whether that’s sharing dances in Studio 4 Dance Theater, having holiday parties, spirit weeks, or creating JLDC families, getting to know dancers of all ages is something I have really enjoyed. 

When I was little I looked up to the older girls so much hoping to one day be like them. Now that I am the older girl, I try to make the effort to connect with the younger dancers as much as I can.  

Especially going into High School, having dance as a constant in my life was something I was beyond grateful for. At the end of a tiring day, coming to JLDC was a reward. Not only to move my body and do what I love, but also to spend time with the people I felt closest to. 

As I enter my final performance days, I remember back to when I was little having so much time ahead of me at this incredible place we call home. Leaving JLDC is a bittersweet feeling. I know my classmates and I are moving onto amazing things, but we will always miss our long nights at the studio. 

No matter where we all end up, our love for dance and this studio will remain the same. Nothing can break the bond we have created, and the memories we have shared.

– Rebekah Jaffe, Class of 2022


Rebekah asked her fellow class of 2022 graduates to share their parting “senior sentiments”:


“Thank you JLDC for giving me a place to grow as not only a dancer, but a person.” – Elizabeth Crawford

“Thank you JLDC for not only giving me a place to feel and let out my emotions, but a supportive and loving community that will forever be there for me.” – Sydney DiLoreto

“JLDC has turned me into the person I am today and forever thankful to call JLDC my home away from home.” – Michelle Finkielsztein

“Just do you!”– Julia Freedman

“JLDC has provided me with a place where I can do the thing I love most with the people I love most.” – Emma Goldstone

“Without dance, life would be boring.” – Avery Golub

“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to shine.” – Annie Huckabone

“Thank you JLDC for giving me a home for the last 15 years.” – Talie Membrino

“Thank you dance for teaching me how to maintain grace and poise through every moment of my life.” – Riley Newman

“JLDC hasn’t been my home forever but it has turned into my forever home.” – Kyra Randazzo

“I am so grateful for the JLDC community and dance, which has kept me grounded through the best and worst of times.” – Victoria Rivard

“Thank you JLDC for years of love, friendship, and community. You’ll always be my second home.” – Isabelle Shub

“Thank you for always pushing me to learn and improve, and for giving me memories that will last a lifetime.” – Danielle Sinay

“I’m so grateful to have had dance my whole life to count on.” – Claudia Snider

“Thank you to everyone at JLDC for being my support system and best friends.” – Emma Thorp

“Dance, Breathe, Smile, Love it.” – Lizzie Weaver

“Dancing at JLDC means so much to me because the studio is where I grew up with all of my best friends, and where some of my favorite memories were made.” – Isabella Zeyben


Although their time as students at Joanne Langione Dance Center has come to an end, there will always be an open spot at the barre whenever they are in the mood for a visit. 


Congratulations class of 2022! 

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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.