Forty years of magic and memories – Genevieve’s Dance Studio celebrates 40th anniversary

July 12, 2009
By
Genevieve Spinelli, owner of Genevieve’s Dance Studio, and her granddaughter, Olivia MacDonald.

Genevieve Spinelli, owner of Genevieve’s Dance Studio, and her granddaughter, Olivia MacDonald.

Genevieve Spinelli began her dancing career specializing in “Tap” under the tutelage of Veronica Zunino.

Her first awards came early, winning first place honors for Best Dancer at the Chelsea Youth Commission Talent Show, along with a free scholarship to the Futurette School of Dance. Her reputation blossomed after performing on Community Auditions – a weekly talent show on television – and many hospitals, civic organizations and night clubs in and around the Boston area.

Stanley Brown, a judge on Community Auditions and a protégé of Bill Robinson (Mr. Bojangles), asked Genevieve to join his Boston studio and continue her tap and jazz experience. In addition, she studied tap and jazz with Leon Collins (Billie Holiday’s tapper), Danny Sloane, Clint Hamblin and Gene Murray (an original June Taylor dancer) – all well-known national dancers. When disco arrived, she studied with Randy Deats, Sandy Getz, and Dennis Freas, all Boston and New York specialists.

In 1969, Genevieve founded “Genevieve’s Dance Studio” and joined the National Association of Dance and Affiliated Artists (NADAA) where she taught  Tap,  Jazz, and Disco routines to many teachers and students in workshops held regularly. She was truly a teacher’s teacher.

In 1978, she auditioned and performed with Maureen Cosgrove’s Boston Tap Company at Boston’s very first “First Night: and at the Boston Theatre Revitalization Program, both at the Park Plaza Hotel. Also, Leon Collins invited her as a tap soloist to dance at Lulu White’s club in the South End of Boston.

3N091009In 1979 and in true civic spirit, she invited the citizens of Chelsea to participate in “Free Dance Lessons” at Chelsea’s Summer Expression. That same year Genevieve’s Dance Company was founded, comprised of her most talented students and teaching staff. Her school and reputation began to expand rapidly as they performed at Kiss 1080’s Gala Fashion Show; the Fire Barn Restaurant; Chelsea’s Summer Expression; Jerry Lewis’ Muscular Dystrophy Telethon at both Quincy Market and New England Life Hall; the annual banquet for Chelsea’s Checkerboard Square Dancers; corporate functions at China Pearl Restaurant in Boston; and numerous nursing homes in the Boston area.

After performing in the celebration of Chelsea’s Waterfront Park Festival, her dedicated troupe received honorable mention in “Boston Magazine” as a semi-professional troupe with great zest. Lastly that year, she joined Dance Masters of America, a most prestigious organization of certified (certified by test) teachers.

From June 1981 through 1986, Genevieve was appointed co-director of Chelsea’s Summer Expression program which organized a variety of entertainers – the Army Band, the Mariachi Players, local bands Sass and the Last Gasp, magic shows, the Checkerboard Square Dancers, Genevieve’s Troupe, etc. – to entertain local residents, In addition, The Chelsea Community Theatre enlisted her to choreograph several popular musicals – Oliver, Music Man, Annie, and the Fiddler on the Roof. In that time period, Genevieve was hired to teach Tap at Quincy Market to commemorate the very first National Tap Dance Day/May 25th, honoring the birthday of Mr. Bojangles.

In 1987, Boston celebrated the Great Tap Reunion and Genevieve was honored and privileged to dance with the Tap Legends of our time: Cookie Cook, Steve Condos, Jimmy Slyde, Honi Coles, the Nicholas brothers (Fayard and Harold), Gregory Hines, Savion Glover (the original Tap Dance Kid), Brenda Bufalino, and Diane Walker. She actually thought she died and went to Tap Dance Heaven.

In the following year, she participated in Newburyport’s Firehouse Tap Revue which celebrated the makeover of the Firehouse Theatre and then taught swing dancing with Louis Rossi at Boston’s “Dancing Under the Stars” evening program at the Quincy Market.

In 2000 she ushered in “Millennium 2000” at Rockport’s First Night celebration, hosted by Karen Birch. She also joined the “Loosely Defined Tap Company from Rhode Island,” hosted by Louis “Mr. R” Rossi and Karen Birch. Since 2004, her students have performed for each Celebrate Chelsea Day and danced at Revere’s Prospect House for the Generation residents.

After all these years Genevieve is still committed to teach, inspire, and motivate anyone who comes her way. She is most caring with her students and only teaches with passion and love.

Says Spinelli, “I always knew in my heart the art of dance was my life and my love.”

Her studio offers classes in Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Jazz/Gym, Zumba, and Belly Dancing – for kids and adults. Her Mommy and Me (18-month toddler class) is very popular, and she specializes in “Special Needs Classes.”

You can visit Genevieve Spinelli’s Web site: www.genevievedancestudio.com

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  • Renee Hibbard

    I remember Genevieve’s studio when I was a little girl. Great memories of her and Dottie, wonderful people and a great teacher.

    I am so glad she is still in business!


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