We are a family owned and operated dance studio, with a mission to create a home away from home for our dancers and their families. We pride ourselves on providing a welcoming and encouraging environment to promote creativity and growth. It is our goal to develop the abilities and talents of each individual, and to encourage each child to reach their full potential as a dancer and a person. In addition to discovering a passion for the art of dance, students have the opportunity to develop confidence, self-discipline, and teamwork skills, all while creating lifelong friendships.
Our school offers a graded curriculum, training students in all forms of theatre dance. From the basic dance foundation of our Beginning Years and Young Dancers classes, taught through music, props, play and stories, to the advanced technique of our Team levels, each student begins at the proper level and advances at their own pace. Students in our Beginning Years and Young Dancer classes are placed in age appropriate levels, allowing for full development and skill mastery. Placement on our Team is by teacher recommendation only.
Established in 1960, Mary Jane’s School of the Dance, as it was originally known, was founded by Mary Jane Ford Strondak. The studio was located in Methuen Center for many years, with a second location in Salem, NH. Mary Jane taught ballet, jazz, tap, as well as acrobatics and baton twirling.
In 1976, with her dance business growing, Mary Jane built a state of the art dance and gymnastics studio on Burnham Road, and soon all classes were being held at the new location. With its newly acquired name, Mary Jane’s Studios of Dance and Gymnastics, Mary Jane continued to teach until she retired in 1983 to spend time with her family. Mary Jane’s Studios was sold to her Assistant Director, Linda Tracy in 1983, and Linda became the Owner and Artistic Director of the newly renamed The Studio of Dance Arts. Both the dance and gymnastics programs were located on Burnham Road until 1992, when The Studio of Dance Arts moved across the street into the Merrimac Plaza.
After thirty-four years of success as Owner and Artistic Director of The Studio of Dance Arts, Linda retired and sold the dance studio to Allison LeSaffre Acquaviva in 2017.
Allison grew up dancing and training as a teacher under her mother, Fran LeSaffre, at The Studio of Dance Arts. Along with her mother, Fran, and wonderful faculty, Allison looks forward to continuing to provide quality dance training to children, teens and adults throughout the Merrimack Valley and New Hampshire... fifty-seven years later!
"I just had to write to let you know what a wonderful job you guys did this year. My daughter is very quiet and shy. She actually has some difficulty in school relating with her teacher. I never have to worry with Ms. Fran. She knows exactly how to connect with her.
...[My dancer] was so proud of herself! She hasn’t stop dancing since the recital.
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!"
- Studio Mom
"I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for another excellent year! We loved every minute of the recital... we could see it all the planning you put into it! Lights, props, music, it was all stellar! Thank you for being such a great studio! [Dancer] hasn’t stopped talking about being on stage! Now, we check the mailbox for the next month for the video!
Be proud of your efforts, it was a fantastic show!"
"Seeing that recital picture just makes me think about how perfectly happy you and your wonderful mom are making so many young girls, boys, and their families. What a gift it is for you all to make so many people feel so joyful...I feel lucky to know you and your mom"
BA, Owner/ Director of Studio of Dance Arts
Allison grew up at The Studio of Dance Arts, training and teaching before moving to Australia, where she taught dance and studied at Sydney Dance Company. She is a graduate of New York University and the DCTB Teacher Training Program. She has studied dance in Boston, New York City, and Australia, and is a certified Zumba instructor. Allison loves to share her dedication, energy and passion for dance, inspiring her students to reach for the stars.
Manager/Beginning Years/ Young Dancers/ Zumba.
Fran has been with The Studio of Dance Arts for over thirty years. She is a graduate of the DTCB Teacher Training Program, and her enthusiasm, empathy, and outstanding talent as an educator of young children make Fran ideally suited to our Beginning Years and Young Dancers classes. Fran is also a certified Zumba instructor. Miss Fran is loved by all of her students, past and present. We are all lucky to have Miss Fran as a part of our team!
Nikki is an experienced teacher, choreographer, and a previous studio owner. She is an award-winning choreographer, and brings her expertise in dance technique and contemporary dance to the studio. Nikki grew up dancing at The Studio of Dance Arts and we are grateful to have Miss Nikki on our faculty!
BA, Team Ballet
Linda is the former Owner/Director of The Studio of Dance Arts. Linda has been a dance educator for forty-five years, and is certified by Dance Masters of America and the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston. She has also choreographed and performed in musical theatre productions throughout New England. Linda holds a degree in Human Development from Lesley University.
Rachel, an alumni of the Studio of Dance Arts, returns for her third year as our Young/Intermediate and Petite/Mini Hip Hop teacher! She brings her enthusiasm and love for dance to the classroom.
Caitlin, an alumni of the Studio of Dance Arts, will return for her third year as a member of our faculty. Caitlin was a Lowell Spinners Dancer, and brings her love for hip hop to our Junior and Senior Team Hip Hop classes!
Isabelle Heggarty is a member of our Junior Team at SDA and shares her dance ability and passion assisting Miss Allison and Miss Fran.
Grace Ireson is a member of our Mini Team at SDA, and her dedication to dance shines when assisting Miss Fran's Beginning Years classes.