Worn hardwood floors reflect in the wall of mirrors while red velvet curtains drape one window and the tall door at the back of the room. At one time it was a roller skating rink, then remodeled into an art gallery. Today the stone building on Broadway between Sixth and Seventh Avenues is the home to Dance Syndicate.
A competition school led by Janet Luciano, Dance Syndicate has been turning out dancers and instructors for more than 30 years, 15 of those in Lewistown. The com-pany began in Memphis, Tenn., and students participated in television work, model-ing and commercials.
Luciano began dancing as a little girl in Lewistown, moving onto dance and teach dance all over the United States and Canada. She spent three years in a lounge act in Las Vegas where she was a part of a trio of women that sang and danced.
“I have taken classes and studied with some of the best,” said Luciano who has also danced in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. The travel and the exposure to the world are important aspects of Dance Syndicate. Although competing is not a requirement it is encouraged as is getting out of Central Montana and experiencing the world.
Three of Luciano’s students danced in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade last November in New York City. “So much of the travel that we do is really about education – exposure and education is the big thing,” said Luciano. “It’s also not about everybody being a professional dancer.”
She said taking her dancers to bigger cities and the dance competition and events there gives them a choice – do they want to live in rural America for the rest of their lives or do they want to try something different?
Luciano, who has studied ballet, jazz, tap and musical theater teaches lyrical ballet, jazz and tap. She has also just begun teaching some ballroom dance. Her students range from toddlers to adults.
“Dance is a lot of fun,” said Luciano. “It’s good exercise, it develops the self-esteem. It becomes a passion and it kind of stays with you because it’s so much joy and fun.”