Beloved studio Jump Dance closes, another victim of Covid-19 (includes slideshow)

Jump Dance Center in better days before Covid-19 forced it to close.

When Lisa Greco took over the one-room dance studio at 139 Wolfs Lane in 2005, she was determined to make programming changes to the business she had purchased from its previous owners.

Over 15 years, she did exactly that. Jump Dance Center was known by many as one of the best places in town to dance—and for its competitive teams. “To me it was more of a passion then business,” Greco said. “I still to this day speak to kids who graduated 10 years ago.”

She first decided to make all students who danced take ballet alongside the other styles of dance, with a specialized teacher for each. She said it “was a bit of a fight at first,” since many parents and students were used to taking the classes they wanted to take, with some background in other styles. They soon realized she was right because of the obvious improvement in their technique.

“I made a lot of changes and a lot of rules because I wanted the students that came here to have a good foundation,” Greco said. “My goal was to make it a more serious place to dance and kind of like a family.”

However, the success of Greco’s innovations could not beat back the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. As a small business owner, Greco took a big financial hit. The pandemic happened in the last semester, meaning there was no way to put on the large live performance that always brought in money at the end of the year.

Jump Dance struggled to offer Zoom classes and put together some great virtual performances, but Greco said, “It was just really hard to motivate (students) online.” Even when the studio was able to reopen and do outdoor classes, it was a tough. “I’m thinking, how am I going to go on?”

Space was limited in the one-room studio, so Greco had to reduce class sizes, cutting her revenues. “I needed bigger classes in order to break even,” she said. “The more frightening thing to me was that I knew this was the end.” She said she realized that she couldn’t go through starting up, only to close again with another shutdown.

“I felt that if I went back, it would basically just be to make money and pay rent,” Greco said. “I would have to increase tuition and do a lot of things I just wasn’t willing to do. It would be to just keep the business afloat, and that’s not why I started this to begin with.”

The studio closed.

Grace Kiamie took the Broadway Basics classes after her sister Alice had an amazing experience on the studio’s competition team. Kiamie said the classes “taught me important fundamentals for dancing, and the teachers were some of the most loving and caring people ever.”

When Greco first started Jump, a student of hers suggested that she begin taking some of her classes to competitions. Greco wanted a group that could perform five to six times a year, and for those kids to become grounded by seeing “what else is out there.” She formed a competitive team with the girls that came regularly and practiced all of the different styles of dance.

“I go for more of a theater-type dance or on-stage performance and a lot of times our dance pieces look very different than everyone else’s,” Greco said. She said it was because of the people she hired. They were “out of the box” and “weren’t doing the same thing as everybody else.”

“When Jump officially closed, it was really heartbreaking for me because I grew as a dancer there,” said Emma Laskaj, who studied at Jump for three years was the junior competitive team captain. “Being a part of the studio was like being part of a family.” Laskaj especially loved the performing opportunities Jump gave her during competitions. “I got to be Clara in the ‘Nutcracker’ and many other roles throughout the years.”

Grecco may still come back with a new dance company. “I am very, very lucky to have done what I’ve done, and I am very grateful that I had a lot of great teachers around me and a lot of great families.”