Cindy Nolan, also known as Miss Cindy, has been dancing nearly all her life (well since age three, at least).
Nolan said that ever since she was a child she wanted to dance. Her plan to open a dance studio started when she was very young.
‘I wanted to be a dance teacher,” she said. “Ever since I was in high school that’s all I ever wanted to do.”
Nolan said she started teaching in eighth grade. At that time, she was learning from Clare O’Malley, a former Rockette. Nolan said when she was a child, she had always wanted to be a Rockette to emulate her heroine, but never made the height requirement.
“When you’re a young girl you love your teacher and you want to be just like them,” she said.
Nolan trained with O’Malley until she graduated high school. She then opened her first studio in Mansfield on North Main where H and R Block is now. She worked for four years at Sullivan’s Donut Shop (near where Casey O’Conors is now) to save money for the purchase. She said her dad also helped.
“He said to me, ‘how much money do you need to open your dance school?’” she said. “He told me to figure out what I needed and I he’d loan it to me.”
That was her studio for 18 years.
But she knew it wasn’t the location for her. She said that when she started dancing with O’Malley, it was in an old barn.
“The changing rooms were right where they used to keep the hay,” she said.
She said she wanted that same feeling she had when she was a kid and first stepped into her first studio.
“I always loved the feel of being in a barn,” she said. “When you’re a kid there are certain things you remember… I looked at the barn and knew I had to have this place.”
So she and her husband bought the current property from the Conrad family on 627 East Street. She has been there for nearly 30 years.
Nolan said the Dance Masters of America and the Dance Educators of America accredited her for a professional dance instructor.
She said she feels that the current system of dance teachers is flawed because, while there are many organizations one can get accreditation from, there is no requirement in order to start a dance schools.
She said her main concern would be liability.
“Someone could easily get hurt,” she said.
While she no longer teaches herself, she said over the years many of her students have come back to help out, teach and bring their kids. She said many of her former student’s grandchildren come to the school.
The school teaches everything from tap dancing, ballet, jazz etc.