Jayne began taking dance classes in Youngstown, Ohio in 1959 at almost 3. Her Aunt Flo opened a small studio and had been training in the “Al Gilbert” method of teaching Tap Dance (Al is still the “voice” of tap at TJ Dance) Then came the early 60s and most of Jayne’s family moved to the San Fernando Valley in California. Aunt Flo opened another studio so Jayne’s dance training hardly missed a beat!
Throughout her many years of dancing, Jayne was lucky enough to dance with Al Gilbert, Luigi and other local teachers that became legends (in Hollywood). Debbie Reynolds would often stop by and observe classes looking for local talent for her “Debbie Reynolds Show”. In the mid 60s, Jayne often attended the summer workshops known as “Dance Caravan” with teachers Betty & Danny Hoctor, Mallory Graham and Kit Andree. Luigi often taught at the “Caravans” also. “It was so fun to spend the day in a huge ballroom full of dancers, changing teachers and dance styles every hour. During our lunch breaks, we would walk the Santa Monica Pier and love being on our own at the beach!” Jayne remembers. After high school, Jayne attended two colleges and soon after became a wife and mother. By the time Jayne’s second son was born, Jayne REALLY started to miss dancing! In 1984 she got out her old “Al Gilbert Tap Exercise” LPs and her Luigi Warm Up album and started practicing on the porch! A dance studio was in the making!
Jayne has been so lucky to continue learning with so many “GREATS”… The classic hoofers! Brenda Buffalino, Arthur Duncan (from Lawrence Welk) Jerry Aimes, Sam Webber, Cholly Atlins (a Motown Choreographer) Lynn Daley, Diane Walker (from the movie “TAP”) Savion Glover (remember when he was on Sesame Street?) and even Gregory Hines, who Jayne still quotes to all the boys and men interested in dance, but hesitant to give it a try – Gregory always said “It’s the place to meet all the girls! You will be surrounded by them!” Jayne credits “Johnson and Peters”, a Dancing Duo that have their own studio in Seattle (originally with Shirley Jenkins on Capitol Hill) for regenerating and energizing TAP in the Northwest!
Jayne is truly thankful that she has had such wonderful family support over the years, as well as friends and the community. TJ Dance has always had one main goal. “To instill a love of dance in every dancer”. When former students return or bring their kids back to our studio to dance, Jayne feels we’ve done our job. At TJ Dance – It matters less how “well” you dance and more how much you “love” to dance! We work endlessly on technique, but each dancer has their own style and each dancer has their own level of “natural ability”. Jayne also believes in keeping dancers strong and flexible because she truly believes that strength is grace! “Dance” expresses what we are from the inside – out. Our energy, our body’s rhythms, our emotions – It’s all a part of us and of “dance”!