In opening her own dance studio, Jess Novotny intends to give her students more than just a solid foundation in dance. Young dancers at Prestige Dance Studio in Cedar Rapids, she said, also will learn about teamwork, perseverance and the value of hard work.
“They can take all those things with them and apply them to real life,” she said.
Novotny knows the value of dance in helping a child grow into a strong, confident adult. The Dyersville native started dancing at age 2. At 13, she was invited to tour internationally with a dance company and spent one month in China.
That’s when she decided to make dance her career.
After graduating from the University of Iowa with a dance major, Novotny moved to the Chicago area and worked as a dance instructor. Earlier this year, she and her husband to return to Iowa.
Prestige Dance has classes for a variety of age ranges, starting with Mommy and Me classes at age 12 months for babies and their caregivers.
“It helps them develop their cognitive and motor skills and exposes them to other kids,” Novotny explained.
Beginning at age 2, children can take introductory ballet and tap techniques without being accompanied by a parent. Moms and dads will be able to monitor their children’s progress through large viewing windows at Novotny’s newly constructed studio.
“I really encourage parental involvement and interaction,” Novotny said. “We’re working together to mold children into whatever they want to be.”
As dancers progress, they can transition to ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip-hop classes or to one of the studio’s competitive or community dance teams. Prestige Dance also offers ballet and hip-hop classes for adults and “A Chance to Dance” class for children and adults with special needs.