• Bill Caine, Contributing Writer

Jane’s School of Dance celebrates milestone

PARTICIPANTS in Jane’s School of Dance’s 45th recital included, front, Jane Schenck, and Kimber Dragoo; first row, from left, Jessica Adams Brickler, Grace Edwards, Maggie Yeung, Kamille Cole, Melissa Busby Gregory, Holly Akers, and Paige Craig; back row, Mary Faust Shryock, Tressa Brumley Milburn, Johnna Hockensmith, Sarah Schenck Ladnier, Joni Michelle Lanza, Megan Schenck Dragoo, Steve Schenck, Betsy Preston, Meagan Beth Kelley, Garrett Burczyk, Rebecca Sloan Valentine, Rhonda Anderson, Jill Hedges Hall, Sylvia Chervus, Emily Sloan Johnson, Sarah Miller, and Madeline Fuller. (Photo submitted)

Jane Schenck performed her 45th recital for Jane’s School of Dance on June 10 at the Lexington Opera House. Jane was eight years old when she started to dance, and her teaching career has touched many souls in the state of Kentucky. The school began in Lexington and quickly grew into a powerhouse, growing its enrollment to 125 students in short order. After running the studio successfully in Lexington, word quickly traveled about the studio’s reputation and Schenck was contacted by a mom in Nicholasville about bringing dance to their town. “I remember the phone call well,” said Schenck. “I remember going to a meeting, and there were 80 kids and their moms in front of me. I knew at that moment that we were really on to something special.” After organizing the class in Nicholasville, Jane started teaching, and the response was fantastic. “The parents were thrilled,” said Schenck. “They wanted to have a recital so I held a recital for them and they loved it.” Soon after, Jane found a storefront on Main Street and stayed there for 15 years. Shuffling two studios in separate towns was challenging and making sure that quality instruction was available was a top priority to Jane. The studios were flourishing, and Jane was now a mother with babies in tow. “We had a crib at the studios and Joni, Megan and Sarah were part of this experience their whole lives,” Schenck said. Jane’s children spent their childhood watching and learning, keeping a careful eye on the lessons being taught. Jane’s husband, Steve, or “Mr. Jane,” as the kids call him, has always supported the ladies of the family and recently took part in the opening number of the recital sporting a jacket that said “Mr. Jane” on the back. As time pressed on, Jane eventually closed the Lexington studio and focused on the Nicholasville location full time. Being the only studio in town meant business was good, but the driving 30 minutes each way every day to teach was becoming difficult. After Jane had her third child, Sarah, the studio in Nicholasville closed its doors and found a home in Versailles. “This was where I wanted to be and exactly where I wanted to stay, and we have now been here for 32 years.” Schenck said. “I love the community, the people, it’s been great to us.” Jane’s School of Dance has instructed hundreds of young dancers over the course of its history and has made a lasting impression within the history of Versailles. Megan Schenck Dragoo, one of Jane’s three daughters, has taken over the reins at the studio as director/choreographer and will guide the team going forward. “Megan has been capable of teaching since she was a child,” said Schenck. “My studio is in fantastic hands, and Megan knows exactly what she is doing.” If a person walked into Jane’s School of Dance for the first time off the street, they would instantly feel the energy in the building. Wall to wall trophies line the rooms. The sound of tap dancers fills the air. Many dancers have been very successful after training at Jane’s, and many more talented young dancers are on their way up the ranks. “All of mom’s dancers are well rounded,” said Dragoo. “The kids do well in school, they are eloquent, and I think the studio has helped empower them to be driven and have the ambition to do well.” The dance community is a tight knit community. Many dancers spend 10 or more years with Jane and become family. “I have watched many kids grow up in front of my eyes and witnessed my mother help kids though life lessons and not just dance,” said Dragoo. “Mom was not just a dance teacher, she was a therapist and a second mother to many. In a sense, I shared my mother with our dance school. She’s amazing enough to share her time and love us very much. That is a large part of mom’s legacy.” That sense of responsibility that Jane has to the community is one of the many reasons the studio has been so successful. Children feel a sense of belonging and the studio is home to many. “We have alumni stop by unannounced all the time, and when you see them come in that back door, you can see their eyes light up, and you can tell they are so happy to be back,” said Dragoo. “People want to feel that energy and the feeling of family that my mother built here. It keeps people coming back. Many of us have said this at the studio through the years; the world is a better place because of Ms. Jane.”

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