Guys and Dolls Dance Studio; Jamestown NY 14701; 716-487-0918

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NAOMI'S STORY



An autobiography by NaomiNaomi

Well...it all began naturally as a small child, wondering where my direction would be going, and it just seems to fall into a category..."What is there out there for me?".

We traveled a lot. I went to so many different schools and went to so many different cities. My mother was a good mother and I had a lot of aunts and uncles that would guide me. It just seems like I was kind of fortunate I guess, because they all cared. So one school after another, let's say about ten of them, I 'm surprised that I graduated (for which I am very fortunate too). I graduated in Cleveland, Ohio, my home town, with a lot of good friends.

While I was in High School, I was very, very shy. If somebody looked at me or talked to me, I would probably turn my head or start crying. You know, I guess it's a "typical teenager." I didn't have as much confidence as a teenager as I have today. The confidence that I have today was brought on by dancing, yeah... just dancing.

My mother would take me to a ballet school at the age of five in Detroit Michigan, and say, "You're going to do ballet,...and you're going to be with other kids. Naomi...your going to meet other children".

( I was an only girl and my brother really didn't want to hang out with his little sister! )

So I used to go to the Ballet School, and I used to hate it! Oh gosh, because the teachers would holler and the kids would make fun of me. I told my mother , "I don't like it, I don't like it at all!". So one thing led to another and what happened next? We moved back to Cleveland Ohio, my mother wanted to be back with her family.

At the age of sixteen, my sister-in-law at the time said, "Why don't you get into more than what your'e doing now, as far as your dancing?". "Because right now you're doing tap, jazz, and ballet. You're loving it even though you're moving from one area to another, following your teacher around." (because I finally found a teacher that I enjoyed having lessons from.) I said to her, "What do you mean?" and she said, "Well I teach at the Fred Astaire Dance Studio in downtown Cleveland. Let me see if I can get you in there for training." I was 17, my last year of year of high school, other kids would go out but not Naomi, no, no. I would get out of school and go straight down to the dance studio for training. I had a wonderful male instructor and I met so many wonderful people. I grew up. I really grew up at Fred Astaires at the age of 17. So, I took a year and a half, and maybe close to two years of training, which cost money naturally. My mother could afford dance training fees because they were more reasonable than college tuition fees. So I continued dance training, although I really wanted to be a barber. I wonder where my life would be if I would have become one?

Well I chose dancing instead, and I am so glad that I did. So there I was at Fred Astaire Dance Studio at the age of 17 acting so grown up. Then one day in walks the "Dance King" himself, Fred Astaire! My knees were shaking as our manager told us all to line up in a straight line, because he was going to lead each of the instructors in a Fox Trot step. Talk about staying up on your toes! All I kept thinking while I was dancing with him was "Wow! Is this really happening?" What a memory that I will always keep with me, and talk about till this day. The management at the studio liked me and I stuck with them. When I am with one business, I treat it like it is my own. The owners (management) were wonderful but the best part were the students. They would come in and treat me like their little daughter. They used to buy me little gifts when they would go on trips and I was their favorite dancing teacher. It was wonderful, but then after awhile I wanted to get out of Cleveland. I guess I just didn't want the city life any more which was probably a bad move on my part. But you go on...so I moved to Jamestown NY. I would always visit my Aunt Louise Ferri, who I used to visit often, and that is where I met the father of my daughters, Dina and Laura. Then I thought, I'm going to look around and see if there is any place that I could open up a dance studio. So Prince Dance Studio was born on that day in 1960, at 816 Foote Ave. (where the "Chan-An" Restaurant now resides.)

My second location was 3rd Street on the 3rd floor above the "Golf Place and Lounge." It's now referred to as "Potters Terrace." It was then that I changed the studio name to Guys and Dolls Dance Studio because I just really thought the name had a "ring" to it. So many people call our dance studio first because the name stands out.

My third location was on Allen Street across from "Mike and Sam's" pizza and bar.

My fourth location was on Second Street in downtown Jamestown above what was then the "Grog Shop". After I moved to my fifth location it became "Eat's Cafe'". I miss that place. It had great sandwiches! "I love sandwiches!"

My fifth location was on the Third Street above "W&B Pharmacy." That studio was beautiful....it had all wooden floors, and a lot of spacious dance area. I have so many wonderful "Disco" Memories there. That is when Disco really hit, and I felt honored to have taught so many people the art of "Disco." I remember I bought so many copies of the "Saturday Night Fever" Soundtrack, I just couldn't stop! I also had a wonderful staff of teachers, that would perform at the 2001, The Rusty Nail, Marshall Dillons,...etc. I have so many memories of that time. I feel like the studio was really taking off. We even had a children's group called "Starfire!" Everyone, adults and children, would have red satin jackets , that had their names on the front and Guys and Dolls Dance Studio on the back.

Now don't forget I also opened a second location of Guys and Dolls Dance Studio in Warren, PA for two years!

My sixth location was at the Boniwood Plaza where the studio was for fourteen years.

And, last but not least, my present location. I settled in and bought a building at Stillwater Corners "at the light" in Jamestown. "No more renting!" Your feet can never get tired when you're on your own floors. My wonderful daughter Laura, has been through many of these different locations with me. I must attest that I had to work two or three jobs just to support the studio, till she grew up. I used to sell cable TV for Teleprompter, and won awards for Sales Womanship. I also sold coffee for The Coffee Exchange. Maybe some of you recall that I was the Director for the Chautauqua County and Cattaraugus County Beauty Pageants. I have done a lot of work with Easter Seals, The Heart Association...etc.." Whew!" That's a lot of work, wait...let me take time to reflect ... Thank you, thank you all. If it wasn't for the constant support of the community, the studio wouldn't have taken off. I have been blessed and now my daughter and I are working together still towards one goal...and that goal still is Guys and Dolls Dance Studio. I've always said, "I've taught a lot of people in this town, and created a lot of happiness!"

"Thank You for Dancing..."

- Love, Naomi




[ These were my mother's words as she was going to write her own memoir's. She talked into a cassette, to record her memories. This is all that was recorded, a month before she passed away...on September 20th, 2001. There are so many more stories to tell and share with you. Please come to the studio to see "Naomi's memory Museum room". So you can see and read about just how much of a legend my mother was. "Naomi was a star here on earth, and now she is a star in heaven...."

"I will forever miss you in my heart mom..."

With all of my love, Laura]




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