We love local success stories and this business is a shining example. From humble beginnings in a garage in Kellyville, Jigsaw Dance Studio is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. We spoke to its founder Jen about the studio’s history and this year’s celebrations.
Tell us about yourself
I am a married mum of two beautiful girls Mia and Isla. I grew up in Kellyville and went to William Clarke College. My mum and dad still live in Kellyville in the old family home which has undergone a few renovations over the years, but our family home still remains and it’s great to go back. Kellyville has changed a lot over the last 39 years.
I’ve been dancing since I was 2.5 yrs old…and haven’t stopped! I love dancing, eating great food and spending time with my family….pretty simple pleasures really!
How did Jigsaw Dance come to be?
Jigsaw Dance Studio started out when I was approached by a young dancer in my neighbourhood when I was 13 years of age. She asked me if I could teach her to dance. I was chuffed with this compliment and started one-on-one dance classes with her from my parent’s garage. After a few weeks she asked if she could bring 2 friends. I said yes and we worked all year on some dances for our end of year performance on the back deck of their parent’s house!
After this, 3 girls became 12 and 12 became 25. Soon we moved to the Kellyville Scout & Girl Guide Hall and when we outgrew that, on to the old Kellyville Sport and Rec Centre on Memorial Avenue. This venue is no longer but 25 years on, we operate from six venues throughout the Hills District (Kellyville and Castle Hill) and North Shore (Hornsby Heights and Wahroonga).
So, in effect, that one girl who asked me for dance lessons all those years ago really sparked my interest in teaching and, well, the rest is history!
What do you love about what you do?
Although I love the dance and teaching component of what I do, the most satisfying part of running Jigsaw Dance is the relationships and personal growth I see within our studio. Whether it’s our students or our teaching team, I love to see a person come to us and thrive through the positive and encouraging environment we foster at Jigsaw. Watching them grown in confidence as a person and through dance into someone their parents and we can be proud of gives me great pride. I love seeing past students at Castle Towers with happy and successful families or as confident and friendly teenagers and adults – it’s truly special for me.
What are you most proud of over the last 25 years?
Over 25 years we have achieved so many things in different areas – our business, relationships, reputation and awards. But what I’m most proud of is when some of our past students return to Jigsaw Dance with their children, just like I have with William Clarke College. I went to that school, loved the programs, the people and the environment and I really wanted my children to experience the same education that I had. This is what I love seeing with Jigsaw Dance too – parents who enjoyed their time with us at Jigsaw so many years ago, now having an opportunity to put their children into performing arts and again choosing Jigsaw Dance to experience that journey.
What do you love about being a mum?
Probably the most enjoyable thing I love about being a mum is that time when I’m not doing anything else – no work, no responsibilities, no tasks to finish and I’m just spending time with one or both of my little humans doing nothing at all. Just talking or laying on the lounge or mindlessly wandering around the garden. It’s those conversations you have with your children that lead from topic to topic to topic with no interruptions. I get to see in those times how my little people are growing, learning and how they view the world. I really try to truly appreciate these moments, albeit relatively rare in the busy lives we all lead.
How are you celebrating Jigsaw’s 25 year anniversary?
For Jigsaw Dance Studio’s 25th anniversary we’re celebrating in a range of ways. We’re hosting an anniversary dinner and inviting our past students back to the studio for an evening of memories, food & bubbles.
We have our 25th anniversary ‘walk down memory lane’ video which is soon to be released online and we’re posting a weekly ‘remember this’ image on our social media. We also have merchandise marking the milestone and a highlight I’m really looking forward to is having past students back to dance at the end of year performance.