ROCHELLE — After starting Studio C Dance on her own last fall, Cecillia Stover expected to have 20 dancers. Her first season finished in May with over 100 dancers on stage at a recital.
A ribbon cutting for Studio C Dance was held Tuesday by the Rochelle Chamber of Commerce. The business, located at 101 Eighth Ave. (Teen Town), offers dance classes for ages 3-18 in different styles and has competitive and recreational environments for anyone that wants to participate.
Stover has danced her entire life and has spent the past seven years teaching for other studios. Once she started teaching dance, she realized that was her passion, rather than dancing herself.
"I was probably put into dance by my mom 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 out in New York by myself and trained with Joffrey and then I went to school at Columbia for dance. There's a huge group of people in Rochelle who love to dance like I do. They deserve somebody who's passionate about it to teach it to them and a program that is actually going to serve them whether they want to just do it for fun or do something with it after high school."
Stover said that Rochelle doesn’t have much in terms of spaces for dance studios, but the Teen Town space is the perfect size and has needed amenities like a mirror and floor. The Flagg-Rochelle Community Park District has been “wonderful and accommodating” and Stover said she was thankful to be able to find the space.
Studio C’s recreational program is for students that just want to do recitals, which take place in December and May. The company program for competition competes all spring long and then goes to nationals.
Stover said Studio C tries to perform at local events whenever it has the chance. It performed at Tuesday night’s National Night Out event at Atwood Park.
Studio C and dance can help kids to learn socialization, how to present their feelings when they're dancing, how to work in groups, basic motor skills when they're little, and confidence, Stover said.
“We have something for everybody,” Stover said. “Whether you're a boy or girl or if you want to tumble or dance or just stay fit. You can find anything here. I think we always need more things for the youth to do. That's how they stay active and stay out of trouble. Even when things were shut down, dance gave them something to do instead of sitting around or being quarantined at home. It's just important that they have something. They come in and it's not just about dance.”
Stover thanked her family for helping her to bring Studio C to fruition.
“I couldn’t do it without them,” Stover said. “I navigated my entire first year with a newborn and literally had my daughter days before a recital. They made sure I didn’t miss a beat. Not only do they encourage me, but they make it all happen.”
Chamber Executive Director Tricia Herrera welcomed Stover and Studio C to the chamber on Tuesday. She said the chamber has seen “a good streak” recently of young entrepreneurs like Stover opening businesses in town.
“When I sat down with Cecillia and we talked about the chamber and what it does, she was ready and knew what we could do and what the community needed,” Herrera said. “I've been fortunate to see her dance for many years and she's a much-renowned local dancer. We're very excited for her to teach all of her students and continue 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 do have partners in the chamber and the city,” Bearrows said. “I knew Cecillia when she was three years old. Her great grandfather was one of my very best friends. He would be extremely proud. We're proud to have you as a part of the city and the chamber. You have all of us to reach out to. Whatever you need, we're here for you.”
Tuesday also served as registration day for Studio C. Stover said she was overwhelmed by the 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 all the things that we get to do. Anybody can dance. It's for everybody. This is only our second year, and we have over 100 dancers registered already. I'm excited for season two. I thought there would be around 20 people here tonight. I guess I should stop underestimating everything."