It was always...
By Michael Morton
Growing up in Floral Park, Jacqueline Szucs loved to dance and knew she would always make it a part of her life. So when she found herself with enough money saved up as an adult, she decided to open a dance studio in neighboring Bellerose.
It was always something I wanted to do, Szucs said as she sat last week in the front room of her business, the aptly named Dancin Queens Studio at 248-49 Jamaica Ave. Ive been dancing for 24 years now.
At Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village, Szucs practiced all forms of dance, from tap to ballet. She then went on to stints at Nassau Community College; State University of New York at Albany, where she was on the dance team; and Queens College before working in 1998 for a local phone company.
The job allowed her to save some money, and in 2002 she went looking for an appropriate location for the studio, soon settling on the Jamaica Avenue storefront. Her family provided financial assistance, making a business loan unnecessary, and her brother, a construction worker, helped renovate her new space.
It just came into play one day, Szucs said of her studio.
In addition to her childhood dance training, Szucs learned entrepreneurial skills by hanging out during her formative years at her grandfathers car wash on Long Island, where her grandmother kept the books.
You just see what goes on, you see what needs to be done.
Later, during her college stints, she took business classes even though that was not her major.
It was always in the back of mind, Szucs said of her dream to open a dance studio. I learned little bits here and there.
After opening Dancin Queens, Szucs continued to work at the phone company during the day and came in at night to run the studio. She currently is on an educational leave from the phone company and is pursuing her teaching certificate online.
I love teaching children, Szucs said.
Dancin Queens employs seven part-time teachers, with Szucs best friend from high school the lead instructor. Her mother and sister-in-law also work as secretaries at the company.
Szucs relied on word of mouth to promote her studio and now has more than 130 students from Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island.
Its been steadily growing since we opened up, she said.
The students range in age from 2 to adult and represent a wide spectrum of abilities, though most of Szucs clients are female. The more accomplished teenage dancers recently qualified for a national competition to be held at the end of June in Florida.
Szucs said she plans to keep the dance studio, but once she finishes her online education she wants to leave the phone company and go into teaching, perhaps becoming a freelance dance instructor.
She also still entertains notions of becoming an attorney, another childhood dream.
I always said I was going to be a dancing lawyer, Szucs said.
She said her passion for dancing would help her with whatever she chose to pursue.
You always have to pick up a new step, a new combination. Its helped me with life, being able to pick things up and adapt to a new environment.
Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at email@example.com or by calling 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2004 Community News Group
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