Miss Jennifer’s celebrates 20th anniversary

| June 4, 2018

More than 200 dancers participated in Miss Jennifer’s Dance Studio recital. Rebecca Maddux | Beacon

COSHOCTON – Starting a dance studio was not on her mind when Jennifer Nelson moved home from Las Angeles, Calif. in 1998.

“I came home to work for my mom (Becky Lowe) at her business and a friend of hers asked me to teach her daughter tap dance,” Nelson said. “I ended up opening a studio above her shop on Main Street and offering seven or eight classes to mostly younger students. It all started in one little room we renovated.”

Miss Jennifer’s Dance Studio was located on Main Street for six years until she moved to Kid’s America in 2004.

“I didn’t intent to open a studio,” Nelson said. “It just kind of happened as I offered more and more classes and styles of dance to different ages. It just kept building.”

She spent 12 years at her studio in Kid’s America and in October 2016 relocated one last time to the current studio on Second Street next to Rural King.

“I love children and teaching dance,” Nelson said. “I like giving them a creative, safe place where they can learn, grow and build friendships.”

Her first recital in December 1998 included about 40 students and her 20th anniversary show, which was held Saturday and Sunday, June 2-3 at Coshocton High School featured around 275.

“Recital time is like Christmas for me,” Nelson said. “It’s exciting and the audience is always so warm and welcoming. It’s a special time.”

The recitals feature a different theme each year and Mike Bechtol serves as the master of ceremonies.

“For our 20th anniversary show we did favorite songs and routines from the past with modern twists,” Nelson said. “One of my favorites was ‘Buckeye Pride,’ which is all Ohio State and a crowd pleaser. ‘Toy Story’ was our big program with 60 dancers.”

Recitals also include a father daughter dance and last year they added a mother daughter dance. This year an alumni routine was worked into the Sunday show.

“We also give out trophies for five, 10 and 15 years of dance and those are special moments,” Nelson said.

A variety of classes, including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, cheerleading, tumbling, contemporary, and musical theater, are offered at Miss Jennifer’s and students can start at the age of 2 ½. They also offer a mommy and me class for toddlers, planned an adult dance class for this summer and several workshops and camps. The studio also features a competition team called the Elite Dance Force.

“I’m so fortunate to be able to say I love my job,” Nelson said. “We are a dance family here.”

Several of her fellow instructors are even former dancers.

“Almost half of my staff is alumni,” Nelson said. “I have one former student who is dancing in New York City coming back for the summer and another will join us in the fall who was a dance major at Akron University.”

Her studio though would not exist if it not for her mother enrolling her in dance.

“A good friend of hers started a studio in Cambridge and she drove me back and forth to there and helped me with any opportunity I had to go to workshops or master classes,” Nelson said.

When she was 16, Nelson was in a traveling dance tour and she danced in college and then went on to work at a studio in Las Angeles, Calif. She also danced at Disney and King’s Island.

“If it wasn’t for my mom and dad I never would have been able to do this,” Nelson said. “My whole family has always been a big support especially come recital time. My husband and kids do so much for me and so do the businesses and people in Coshocton. They are so supportive and I’ve always felt like I was a vital part of this community.”

What she loves most about her job is that she and her staff of 11 get to impact the lives of children.

“I hope and pray that this was a memorable, positive and fun part of their childhood,” Nelson said. “It’s amazing to think about all the little lives we’ve touched over the years.”

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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