Jenny Lespi nominated for Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year Award

By AMALIA KORTRIGHT/Staff Writer

COMUMBIANA- Dream Makers Dance Studio Director Jenny Lespi was initially shocked to discover that she had been nominated for the Greatmats National Dance Instructor of the Year Award for 2016.

“I’m surprised because I didn’t know about it,” Lespi said.

According to students, Lespi is definitely deserving of the award.

“She can motivate us in ways that most people can’t,” said student Gracie Hockman. “It helps us have a lot of dedication for dance.”

Lespi has been working with the studio for around 20 years. During her time, Lespi has utilized dance to allow students to express themselves and tackle their personal hardships.

“You can teach steps to a dance, and have it be perfect but not mean anything. They always tell a story with their dances. Some type of story is told through whatever we do,” said Lespi. “We’ve had dances about bullying and loss. I always tell them to lay [their feelings] on the dance floor.”

However, the dances don’t always portray negative emotions or tell sad stories.

“I do tap. I hurt my knee one year and couldn’t dance. So, the next year I used a ‘Happy Feet’ theme for my solo because my feet were so happy to be dancing again,” said student Faryn Fryer.

Lespi still isn’t sure of who nominated her.

“It could be any of those girls,” said Lespi. “Anybody on Facebook or Instagram could have done it.”

Voting for Greatmats Dance Instructor of the Year Award will take place on Greatmats’ Facebook page from Nov. 16 through Nov. 30. The winner will receive their choice of $250 worth of Greatmats products or $150 in cash for their studio, an instructor and studio profile, a certificate and a coffee mug. The winner will be announced on Dec. 30.

Lespi and Dream Makers Dance students said that the studio could use the money to buy new radios, mats, stretch bands, music and to travel.

“Every dime helps. Travel is the biggest expense. Several of the girls won trips to New York last year at Nationals, but money kept us from going,” said Lespi. “If they win again, I’m going to do what I can to get them there.”

Students said that Lespi works tirelessly to provide a safe place for her students to dance and grow as people.

“She gives a lot of constructive criticism to helps us along the way and makes us we best we can be,” said a student.