Lagrangeville resident Roberta Humphrey has had a passion for dance since childhood.
She has been sharing that passion as the owner and director of Dance For Joy, which is located in Mohegan Lake. She is starting her 25th year in providing classes at the school.
Humphrey said last week she started her programs at the Tom Thumb Preschool in Mohegan Lake, invited by Tom Thumb Director Nancy Brophy. “She wanted ballet classes in her new big space,” Humphrey recalled. “I outgrew it and moved across the street for three years and then moved down here for the rest of the time.”
Humphrey said she came up with the name of her business “because for me, that’s what dance always has been. And I feel like it should be something that everybody enjoys.”
Humphrey said she had taught at other schools where “they were too strict or felt that only the perfect body should be dancing. And I think dance, especially ballet, is for everybody, all shapes and sizes.”
Though Dance for Joy specializes in teaching ballet, it also offers classes in modern, contemporary tap and jazz dancing.
For youths between the ages of three and six, Dance for Joy offers BippityBop, which introduces young children to the world of dance, Humphrey said. Second grade students add jazz dance to their ballet lessons. Classes are conducted by age group until the about the age of 10 when “at that point they have to start meeting some physical readiness skills to move on to our intermediate level,” she explained.
At the age of 12, students can audition for the school’s youth ballet company, which is for students through the senior year of high school. There are also adult classes offered.
The company concludes its year with a performance in May at Yorktown Stage. In addition, the school performs “The Nutcracker for Kids” every December at Yorktown Stage. “It’s a one-hour condensed and narrated version of the entire ‘Nutcracker,’ she said.
Joy of Dance offers both regular school year classes and summer programs, which begin in June.
Before she opened her school, Humphrey worked in the computer software industry for more than 20 years, but continued to teach dance and danced herself as a member of Dance Prism, a small dance touring company in the Boston area. “Everything was nights and weekends,” she said.
Her love of ballet continued a family tradition, Humphrey said. “I grew up dancing ballet. My mother (the late Jean Humphrey) was a dancer,” Humphrey said. “She was very supportive me opening this school. That’s where my love of ballet comes from.”
Dance for Joy is located at 1893 E. Main St. in Mohegan Lake. For more information, call 914-526-4486.