Not many people can say they found their passion and career at 2 years old, but Debby Delpopolo can.
Ever since she started to dance as a toddler, she knew she wanted to practice the art throughout her life. She began teaching dance when she was 15 and soon after attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
After working in other dance studios, Delpopolo opened her own in Hamilton, All That Jazz Dance Academy. It is now in its 14th year.
Delpopolo, who grew up in Hamilton and is now a Robbinsville resident, found the motivation to pursue dance was rather simple.
“I loved it, I loved everything about it and the movement,” Delpopolo said. “I just looked forward to it every week as a child and it just stuck with me growing up and I just decided to keep going.”
Delpopolo said her studio is different from others because there are no tryouts for her competition teams. Instead, she said, she concentrates on a nourishing philosophy.
“I don’t want to tell anyone, a little child, that they’re not good enough,” Delpopolo said. “You never know what a child can accomplish if you tell them ‘you’re good at something, you can do it, give it a try.’”
All That Jazz’s collection of trophies from various competitions can be found all over the dance studio. This year, All That Jazz’s 4 and under competition team won gold at the Showstopper competition in Edison. Delpopolo also has an intermediate group and senior group for competition.
The most popular age group for All That Jazz is currently 5 to 7 year olds, along with teenagers looking to brush up their skills.
“They want to go to competition they want extra performance opportunities. A few of the kids here are trying to be singers, so we go and do extra performances all the time,” Delpopolo said.
Delpopolo said she strives for an atmosphere powered by education but she also makes All That Jazz a place that everyone can’t get enough of.
“It’s a place where kids like to be … where they come to meet their friends,” Delpopolo said. “Come more than once or twice or three times a week, and they really want to be here and they feel comfortable here and that’s what I was hoping for.”
With that dedication, students at All That Jazz often make progress during their time at the studio. And that’s one of the biggest sources of pride for Delpopolo.
“I like seeing them accomplish things,” Delpopolo said. “I like to them when they’re proud of themselves and they’ve done something for the first time they’ve never done before. The smile on their face that I know they’re having a great time.”
All That Jazz Dance Academy has dance classes for people two and half years old and up. It is located at 117 Estates Blvd. at the corner of S. Olden Avenue. For more information, go online to allthatjazzda.com.