Local dance studio back in business Temporary closure; now ready to step and teach
Ronnie's Dance Studio, Maxim Drive, Hopatcong
Photos by Mandy Coriston
By Mandy Coriston Hopatcong — Veronica “Ronnie” Landolfi, owner of Ronnie’s Dance Studio in Hopatcong, wants everyone to know that they are back to business for the summer, after a closure last year to focus on family health concerns. “We needed to take a break last year to deal with a high-risk pregnancy, but my granddaughter was born healthy in August, and we reopened in October,” Landolfi said. “We have a lot of exciting stuff in store for the second half of this year.” Situated on Maxim Drive, the studio has been in business for 12 years, but Landolfi began her dance career at a young age and found teaching to be her calling more than twenty years ago. “I’ve always been a dancer,” she said, “ballet, tap, you name it. After college, I found a place at Classic Ballroom (in Hackettstown) under Chris Thompson, who became my mentor until he moved away. I’ve been teaching ever since.” Landolfi took her teaching on the road, renting various studio spaces, before settling into the current location. The studio building itself is rather unique, consisting of a structure that was originally a post office, and then added onto over the years. When Landolfi purchased the property twelve and half years ago, the building had last functioned as a bar and restaurant, and there was plenty of demolition and cleanout to be done. It was then that the dance floor was installed- a floating laminate floor supported by a layer of cork for comfort. Other renovations and improvements followed, including a revamp of the parking area and some fresh paint, as well as installing extra heating to stave off the chill when dancing on cold winter evenings. The building was featured in the book 100 Years of Hopatcong, and has also appeared in photo calendars. Landolfi offers a multitude of dance-related activities at the studio, including open group lessons, private individual and group lessons, dance parties, and personalized choreography for weddings and other special occasions. There are no memberships fees, and people can choose the classes that best fit their schedules. “The possibilities are endless,” she said, “I’ve been dancing so long, I can teach almost any style of dance. I’m really proud of the choreography work I’ve done over the years, too.” In addition to traditional ballroom dances, she trains students in a variety of Latin dance styles, line-dancing routines, and a number of specialty techniques such as belly-dance and swing. The studio space itself can also be rented for private events or to other instructors needing space. Recent months have brought some new offerings, such as Dancing with Scarves, which Landolfi says is a fun, fluid style that is great exercise. Landolfi is also excited about the return of the Ronnie’s Dance Studio Dance Teams. The 6-member Dance Teams practice together and perform at local fundraisers and dance showcase events. There are two current iterations of the dance teams, one trained in ballroom styles and the other featuring traditional belly-dance. New belly-dance and Bollywood classes will also be forming at the studio soon. With the advent of summer, Landolfi hopes people will spend some of those long nights dancing their hearts out at her studio. “Even if you claim to have two left feet, I’ll get you dancing,” she said, “We love making dance something everyone can enjoy.” Looking ahead to the future, Landolfi says she’ll keep dancing as long as she’s able. As for the studio? “Besides the baby, I also have 6- and 7-year-old granddaughters. I want the studio to be something my grandchildren can grow up and be a part of.” Ronnie’s Dance Studio can be found at 393 Maxim Drive in Hopatcong, or online at www.ronniesdancing.com. For more information on any of the studio’s services, visit the website or call the studio at 973-234-5234.