The co-owners of Talk of The Town Dance Studio have a number of things in common: they’re both creative, driven, dedicated and love to dance.
They also share genes.
Mother Kay Knoblock is celebrating her 40th anniversary in dance this year, while Kim Antinoro is going on her 20th year. As a team they keep the dance studio running smoothly, making sure dance lessons are taught and fun is had by all. “We are best friends,” Knoblock said.
The full-functioning studio, 3133 Quakerbridge Road, Mercerville, has classes in modern, tap, lyrical, hip-hop, jazz, pointe and more.
The philosophy behind the school is to teach students the proper form of dance at a level and rate based on them as individuals and in a way that focuses on safety and the development of the mind and body. “I feel that if you treat the children well, they’ll give you 100 percent,” Knoblock said.
“We give them very good instruction and we are kind,” said daughter and instructor Antinoro. “We are teachers who care,” Knoblock said.
Knoblock, who has been dancing since the age of six, has had a lifetime of experience in the industry and has no plans of stopping anytime soon, she said.
“It’s my life,” she said. “It’s been therapy through the years. I like the feeling of expression through dance. I’m so fortunate to be my age and to still be able do what I do.”
She gets her talent from her father, who was a dancer in vaudeville. He was 55 years old when she was born. Knoblock has studied under instructors all over New York and Philadelphia including Rodney Greene. She has choreographed Miss New Jersey pageants, worked for K and K productions, choreographed for Lamplighters — an orchestra, choreographed dance for a passed Governor’s Christmas party, high school dramas and more. Her specialties are tap and modern, although know she mainly focuses on teaching tap.
In her 40th anniversary year, she is still amazed and feels quite grateful for the success she has had. To get where she is now took a leap of faith, she said.
When Knoblock turned the key in the lock for the first time of her brand new dance studio, then located in Chambersburg, she recalled being anxious and overjoyed that her dream was finally coming true.
“I thought, ‘Oh my god, it’s now a reality,’” she remembered.
The year was 1968, and Kay had given up a well-paying job as a executive secretary at Trenton Trust, a bank, to begin her path as a dance teacher. She didn’t know what she was getting into, but took a chance, she recalled. The studio didn’t even have a name until two weeks later. After giving her then 6-year-old daughter a Tom Jones CD and hearing the opening song, she knew “Talk of The Town” was the name she was looking for.
Talk of The Town Dance Studio attracted 60 students its first year. Today, the studio has hundreds of students, ranging in age from 3 to 26, including third generation dancers at the studio. It’s a feat that both she and daughter Antinora celebrate with pride.
All of the instructors are former students, and five former students have created their own dance studios in the area as well, holding true to the lessons of dance she has instilled.
The best part of owning the business is ”having the opportunity to meet all these people and build relationships for the future,” she said.
For Antinoro, who joined the team in 1990, the best part is seeing the results.
“I love the children the most and to see the accomplishments that they have made,” she said.
Antinoro served as staff choreographer at Notre Dame High School for eight years. She also worked as a dancer for Six Flags Great Adventure, in Jackson, taught dance at Mercer County Community College, is a graduate of PCPA in Philadelphia, and a former student at Talk of the Town.
As the studio business partner and top instructor, she also enjoys watching her role model in action.
“I’m just really excited that my mother has done it for 40 years,” she said. “I’m proud of her.”
Knoblock said among her best memories are the day that Antinoro decided to be her business partner. The second best time was when her granddaughter took her first dance class under her instruction.
The studio is family oriented, and tries to create a large dance family through activities like taking trips to visit the Rockettes of Radio City Music Hall or performing at venues like Sesame Place, or going to dance conventions.
Fall classes officially begin Sept. 10, but they accept students up until November.
To celebrate Knoblock’s 40th anniversary, this year’s annual dance show is expected to feature returning students from previous years.
Knoblock has no plans to retire.
“I’m dying with my tap shoes on,” she said.
For more information, call (609) 890-0086 or go online to talkofthetowndancestudio.com.