Marietta Dance Academy choreographing move

Photo by Erin E. O’Neill Marietta Dance Academy instructors and students help to paint the entryway at the new location at 108 Front St. Classes will begin for the 2018-2019 year on Sept. 4. Pictured from left are Jocelyn Warren, Allyson Pickering, Courtney Griffiths and Morgan Stanley.

MARIETTA — Exciting things are afoot at Marietta Dance Academy, which has started renovations at its new location on Front Street and will kick off the 2018-2019 season of classes on Sept. 4.

Studio owner Jill Ruff said she was inspired to move into the location at 108 Front St., after conducting classes across the street at the Lafayette Hotel for a period of time this summer.

“I kept seeing this place, that it was available, and it spoke to me,” said the longtime instructor and business owner who has more than 150 students already registered this year.

Marietta Dance Academy has been in the Frontier Shopping Center for the past 11 years, according to Ruff. Prior to that, they took up residency at Ely Chapman after opening at 177 Front St. in 2001 and expanding into 179 Front St. in 2003. Ruff moved out of the previous Front Street location when the former owners filed for bankruptcy.

Flood damage to the dance floor and some other issues at the Frontier Shopping Center location prompted Ruff to start looking for somewhere that felt a little more like home and was more visible. She inquired about the former home of My Favorite Things and Silver Linings, which is more than 3,000 square feet, even though it might not look that large from the outside.

“This place is so much bigger than you would think,” said Jocelyn Warren, a former student and now instructor who has been with Ruff for 15 years, since she was located down the street. “I’m super excited for the new space. This is kind of full circle for me.”

The location will feature two large classrooms with peek-through windows for parents to look in on classes. It will also have a custom dance floor, mirrored walls, a reception area and waiting area, as well as a homework and snack station. Parking is available on the street and in there are roughly 16 to 18 spaces in a parking lot behind the building.

Ruff also hopes to be able to rent the front room space for birthday parties or other events, would like to offer space to artisans in an effort to take advantage of First Fridays when the studio doesn’t have classes, and even offer ballroom dancing.

While there is still much that needs to be done, including some laborious work that requires a couple strong volunteers, parents and students have all pitched in to help create the new studio in time for classes to start at the beginning of September.

“This is our second year. My daughter Jillian started last year when she was 7,” said Cansas Riggenbach, a parent who was helping paint on Wednesday, along with husband Tim. “My daughter wanted to do dance and my friend referred me to Jill. We came and tried it out and (Jillian) loved it. So we’ve been here ever since.”

Riggenbach said she feels it’s important to teach her daughter a lesson about pitching in.

“Jillian loves dancing so much and this is kind of our community. So we wanted to show her it’s important to help out,” she said. “If she sticks with dance like we expect her to, we’re going to be spending a lot of time here.”

Registration for classes at Marietta Dance Academy is still open. To find a schedule and class descriptions, visit


A Glance at Marietta Dance Academy

* New location: 108 Front St., Marietta

* Classes offered: Mommy and Me, Intro to Dance, Tumbling, Lyrical, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Yoga and more

* Classes begin: Sept. 4

* To register: Visit MDA is also on Facebook