‘Naomi Forever’

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA

In carrying on a tradition started by her mother, Naomi, more than a half century ago, Laura Cimino is preparing to celebrate another milestone.

Guys and Dolls Dance Studio, which is owned and directed by Laura, will recognize its 55th year of operation this year with a celebratory event planned for Saturday, May 14, at the studio.”

It’s going to be from 7-10 p.m. at the studio, and there’s going to be cookies, cake, punch and fun,” Laura said. “There will be singing, dancing and storytelling, and people will get to look at our museum areas.”

The Jamestown area’s longest-running dance studio, Guys and Dolls’ roots go back to 1960, when Naomi relocated to Jamestown from Cleveland, Ohio, at the age of 17 and established Prince Dance Studio on Foote Avenue. Once established, the studio became the first in Jamestown to teach ballroom dancing, country western and exercise. Laura said her mother was a toe ballerina in Cleveland, where she attended Fred Astaire Dance Studio and once had the opportunity to meet Astaire himself when the icon visited the studio and danced a foxtrot with each of its students.

The studio has had several locations and a change of name before settling in at 1390 Peck Settlement Road under its current moniker in 1994. Laura, who first began her foray into a career as a dance instructor in 1981, took over as owner and director of Guys and Dolls following her mother’s death and vowed that she would at least bring the studio to its 50th anniversary. Five years later, she said the studio is still going strong thanks to the unwavering support of her dance students and the community at large.

“There’s just something special about Guys and Dolls Dance Studio, and Jamestown just loves us,” she said. “A business can’t last as long as we have unless there is something special about it. We’ve had children, teens and adults come through our doors; imagine the hundreds of people we’ve turned into dancers from 1960 until now. So I want to thank everybody for their patronage and keeping my mom’s legacy alive.”

Guys and Dolls offers group, semi-private and private dance lessons in a wide range of dancing styles including swing, foxtrot, rhumba, cha-cha, waltz, tango, mambo, salsa, merengue, samba, one-step hustle, Carolina shag, West Coast swing and more. Beginner classes are available for ballroom dance at $25 per couple, belly dancing at $50 per person for a five-week course and country western line dancing at $50 per person for a five-week course. Laura also is an experienced dance choreographer and is available for wedding dance choreography.

The studio also houses two museums featuring costumes and memorabilia highlighting the careers of Naomi and Laura. For more recent and prospective students of the studio, Laura said she hopes to be the conduit through which she can channel her mother’s legacy and unique method of dance instruction.

“If you’ve never met my mother Naomi, may you know her through me,” Laura said.

For more information on Guys and Dolls Dance Studio visit gddance.net. To contact the studio call 487-0918 or email laura@gddance.net.

COMMENTS