With four generations embedded with a love and passion for dance, Don & Rosita Dance Studios (418 Central Avenue) has been going strong on Central Avenue for seventy two (72) years. What started off as a rental space for two professional ballroom dancers in 1933, has blossomed into a dance studio for the young and old.
Inheriting the business from his parents in 1968, Donald (Don) LoFranco continues what has become a family tradition. When his parents, Dominico and Rose LoFranco, were professional ball room dancers that with a practice studio on Central Avenue (where). It wasn’t long before people walking by started to ask for dance lessons. In 1934, they decided to open a dance studio. Coined after their stage names Don & Rosita, the “Don & Rosita Dance Studio” was opened as one of the first dance studio in Hudson County.
As a child, Don remembers going to Army Bases all over New Jersey to perform for the soldiers with other children from the studio. “I grew up in this, I’ve been dancing for almost 60 years,” says Don. In 1981, the dance studio even had a television show that was entitled the “Don & Rosita Variety Show” which aired on Comcast Cable. Don & Rosita has had it’s share of “shining pupils”, a few of the students from Don & Rosita’s went to dance on Broadway and one student even performed in a movie in Hollywood. From the success that has generated over years, a second dance studio opened in 1950 in Carlstadt.
With nineteen (19) types of dance taught at the studio, it is evident that the dance studio has flourished and will continue to progress. Currently, Don teaches Ballroom, Salsa, Meringue, Tap and has taught Acrobatics at School 27 and classes to Senior Citizens at the YWCA.
Students at Don & Rosita range from three (3) years old and up. Don’s wife Ann LoFranco teaches Pre-Ballet classes and Tap, as well as the Preschool Programs and their daughters Kismet and Charo teach at the dance studios as well. “Being good teachers and being honest with people is what has contributed to our success,” says Don. “We have a lot of experience behind us and we make it like one happy family”.
Editor's Note: Don & Rosita's Dance Studio closed their doors on Central Avenue mid 2008 and now operate at another location. They may be gone from Jersey City but will never be forgotten.
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