(Owner, Artistic Director)
Actor’s Equity Association (AEA)
Advancing Dance Education in the Arts (NDEO)
Although Ms. Jolene was born in California, she spent the first eleven years of her life living in Japan as her father was stationed in Yokohama as a Captain for Japan Airlines. When she was four years old, Ms. Jolene was walking with her father through a gymnasium that led to the local library where they would often go. She stopped dead in her tracks and watched in awe as a ballet class was being taught in the gym. She looked up at her father and said “Daddy, I want to do that!” From that moment on, Ms. Jolene had discovered her passion that would never falter: DANCE!
“I am honored and feel blessed to have the opportunity to serve our Englewood Community and make a difference in the daily lives of our children. To be able to share my passion and love for dance with our children is a God given gift and privilege that I take very seriously.”
From Japan to Alaska to New York City
While in Japan, Ms. Jolene received her early dance training in ballet beginning at the age of 4 until age eleven. When her father was transferred to Anchorage, Alaska, she continued her dance training by adding Jazz, Tap and Modern to her repertoire. Dance became her life and was all she wanted to do. Ms. Jolene soon found a home at The Dance Den, owned by Nona Baker, and quickly became a permanent fixture there! Since Ms. Jolene was being raised solely by her Father, Nona became not only her dance teacher and mentor, but a mother figure as well. Nona took Ms. Jolene under her wing and welcomed her into her family. It was here that Ms. Jolene knew that she wanted to become a professional dancer and to one day have her own dance studio. By age fourteen, Ms. Jolene was helping at the studio by both cleaning the dance studio and assisting Nona in teaching the younger dancers. That same year, Ms. Jolene auditioned and was accepted into a semi -professional dance company called Youth Dance Spectrum, for dancers ages 14-18. Youth Dance Spectrum performed at Community events, State Fairs, opening performances at the State Theater, Fundraisers, and the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethon.
Jolene’s father was a pilot for Japan Airlines and they could fly free of charge. So, from the age of fifteen on, he would take Jolene to NYC where she would train with NYC’s best dance teachers. They traveled to NYC on weekends, on school breaks during the year, and every summer as well. Ms. Jolene was a very determined young girl with a laser focus on her goal to have a professional dance career. After graduating from high school, Ms. Jolene joined the Alaska Contemporary Dance Company (ACDC), her first professional dance Company, and danced with ACDC for two years while saving money to move to NYC. During this time, Ms. Jolene taught dance for after school programs, and at the Conservatory of Dance in Anchorage, Alaska.
At the age of 20, Ms. Jolene moved to NYC where she trained under some of New York’s most talented dance masters including Luigi, Phil Black, Bill Hastings, Chet Walker, Tony Stevens, Rhee and Rennie Gold, David Howard, and Finis Young, among others. Ms. Jolene also began acting and singing lessons to become a well-rounded stage performer, training vocally under the direction of Doug Houston and Jim Canton. Ms. Jolene also studied dramatic and commercial acting at the Weist-Barron Studios in NYC where she found her acting mentor, teacher, and director, Jeffery Dunn. Mr. Dunn cast her in numerous regional and international tours and hired Ms. Jolene to audition the dancers for one of the European tours of West Side Story.
While in NYC, Ms. Jolene passionately pursued her dance training at some of the dance world’s most reputable dance institutions such as the Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance. Ms. Jolene was an apprentice dancer with the Paul Taylor Company and trained extensively learning the classic pieces from their repertoire. Ms. Jolene also auditioned for various touring companies and landed the Funny Girl National Tour, which started an 8 year run of continuous National and International tours with such shows as West Side Story (role of “Anybodys”), Oklahoma (5 Tours as dancer/understudy for Ado Annie), Pete Pan (as Peter Pan), Pippin (dancer), and Robber Bridegroom (dancer). Following her Touring experience, Ms. Jolene was a principal dancer for the Phoenix Dance Ensemble in Phoenix AZ for two years.
With a great love for children and teaching, following her performance career, Ms. Jolene began teaching at Broadway Dance Center (NYC) in the children’s program, Studio Maestro (NYC), East Side School for the Gifted (NYC), and Progressive Dance Studio in Englewood, NJ. Since knowing at a young age that she wanted to own her own studio, Ms. Jolene started Manhattan Dance Theater and taught at both PDS and MDT simultaneously. After two seasons, she decided to merge MDT into Progressive Dance Studio and took over as Owner and Artistic Director of PDS.
As Owner and Artistic Director of PDS, Ms. Jolene has developed the curricula for dance classes of all levels and ages based on a child’s emotional and anatomical readiness. Under her direction, PDS has not only grown by leaps and bounds, but the Studio has evolved into a more diverse dance school, offering a broad range of both traditional and commercial dance styles.
PDS has always been committed to giving back to the communities in Bergen County by performing at events to entertain local audiences while providing exciting and new experiences for our PDS dancers. In 2010, Ms. Perry founded the Synergy Dance Company, a 501(c) (3) community-based pre-professional dance company. The Synergy Dance Company’s purpose is to foster excellence in dance and performance to serve at community outreach events. The Synergy Dance Company prides itself on presenting artistic dance work for community organizations such as Jenna’s Rainbow Foundation, Bergen County retirement homes, Hackensack Children’s Hospital and other local groups, among others.
Synergy Dance Company is also an award winning competition team that has won numerous awards and grand championships. Synergy Dance Company has also performed at such outstanding venues as Lincoln Center in NYC, The Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and most recently Disney World in Orlando, Florida! The high quality and success of the Synergy Dance Companies (today there are 9 different companies) is evident by the number of awards PDS Dancers win each year. Since 2011, when PDS began attending Dance Competitions in New Jersey and the Tri-State Region, they have routinely won numerous Platinum, Gold, and Championship Awards as one of the best dance studios in New Jersey.
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“If you look at a dancer in silence, his or her body will be the music. If you turn the music on, that body will become an extension of what you’re hearing.” —Judith Jamison