A Dance Romance Story

Reference:  New Castle News, Wednesday, November 6th, 1991

Kelli Ludovici (now Kelli Grady) wanted to teach dance.  Her father wanted her to go to college.  They were at an impasse.  Kelli then discovered at a college counseling session that she could find a happy medium.  She could go to college and major in dance.  “I never knew there was a dance major until I started looking into colleges, ” Ludovici said. “I always wanted to open a dance school, but of course, my father was always pushing college….. and when I found that out, I said, ‘Well, Dad, I want to go to college, and I’m going to major in dance.”   Initially Mr. Ludovici, like most practical parents, might not have been so thrilled with the idea of a dance major, but he accepted it.  With the help of her parents, Ludovici, at age 22 initially opened up the Ludovici Dance Academy in the Neff Building on Grant Street in New Castle, Pa.  In the beginning her parents really helped her to get started financially.

“I noticed every school I ever attended, the teacher’s mother was always there doing all the work for them,” Kelli laughed.  It’s funny.  It’s more like a family business.  Perhaps what has aided Ludovici in turning her dance studio dream into a reality is the education she received from Point Park University in Pittsburgh, Pa.  Kelli Ludovici graduated cum laude with a degree in dance in December, 1990.

“All you really need to open up a school is to get certified to teach, which is only a 3-day program, but I didn’t feel comfortable with that,” Ludovici said.  “Everything I learned, I learned from college, I mean, I took dance since I was 4 years old, but I couldn’t believe it when I went to Point Park”.  Kelli described the school as similar to a scene from “Fame,” where students in sweats and tights dance and sing in the halls.  She also described grueling 12-hour days, in which she took academic classes in the morning and spent 6-8 hours dancing every evening without any breaks.

Point Park University is one of the top dance schools in the nation because of the variety of the classes it offers, and its total commitment to the arts.  Students at Point Park can choose from more than 40 classes and can specialize in ballet, modern, jazz, and tap.

The duel concentration in ballet and jazz selected by the then Miss Ludovici included not only hpysical dance classes but also classes in teaching methods, injuries, human anatomy, and dance history.  “It’s amazing the stuff I’m using.  You don’t realize it while you’re at school, but when I started teaching……I could hear my teachers come out of me.”

In a departure from the average “Fame” student attitude, Miss Ludovici says said she has no desire to “Make it big” in New York  or Los Angeles.  Making it big in New Castle is wah I always wanted to do.”  “I’m really satisfied with this…I’m a real hometown person, “Ludovici explained.  ”  I was always happy with doing my own things teaching.  I like the challenges too.  When you perform professionally, you’re doing the same show day after day for a year or two”

For Ludovici, New Castle was the best place to open her studio, not only because of her love for the town and community, but also because she saw that dance was becoming popular, especially in this area, and I think that’s great, because I think every studio has it’s own unique  quality to offer.”  In addition to her love of teacheaching and choreographing, Ludovici said she still enjoys performing.

She plans to perform with her students and her dance company, the Repertoire, at this year’s Festival of Trees, and at a Christmas Performance at another location.  “I want to perform as much as I can with my own school.”  Her pleasure at the opportunity to dance with her students was evident when she introduced the Festival of Trees routine to her advanced dancers.  After mastering a rather tricky maneuver, one girl said, “It’s getting easier.”  “It’s getting easier?” Ludovici questioned playfully.  “Wait ’til you see the next part.”  end

Kelli spent 10 years at the Grant Street location and her dance school is now located at 123 North Mill Street in downtown New Castle.  Since Kelli Ludovici graduated from college, she married Bill Grady and both are proud parents of two wonderful daughters and reside in the New Castle area.