From the age of 3, sisters Gina and Erica Campione have been dancing. Using motion and music to express themselves, their passion has grown through the years. Along with that love of dance was the desire to have their own business. Putting the two together, the Campione sisters started Planet Dance in 2002. Gina recalled, “We knew we wanted to open up our own school.”
Then last year, they started to look around for a better location than the second floor space they had in Linden and found an available storefront in the center of town on Chestnut Street right off of Westfield Avenue. When asked why they chose Roselle Park, Erica answered, “This was a better area. Plus, we wanted to be part of a hometown feel.”
Starting with children as young a 2½-years-old, Gina sets the foundation for the students of all ages at Planet Dance. She patiently teaches the fundamentals while showing them the history and structure of dance at its basic core; everything from Tap to Lyrical to Ballet to Jazz to Flamenco to Hip-Hop and including some acrobatic dancing. Gina said about her working with young children and even toddlers, “I love seeing their faces light up when they experience the art of dance for the first time.”
Those who show the desire to follow through with their dancing then are instructed by Erica who teaches the intermediate students, usually from seven-years-old and up. Erica also handles the competition team and she takes it very seriously. She stated, “It’s not just about being competitive, I want them to have the confidence to perfect their craft – and whatever they choose to do later in life – with hard work.”
Erica and Planet Dance have the trophies to back up that belief with the the studio’s multiple Platinum Award winning dances as well as awards for Choreography and Showmanship the school and students have received over the years.
Both sisters are certified in dance with Erica also being certified in ZUMBA.
Being a family business, Gina and Erica have a support system that extends through both the family they were born into as well as the family they created out of their love of dance. Just this past Wednesday, they were visited by their cousin Renée Marino who is in the film “Jersey Boys”, portraying Mary Delgado, Frankie Valli’s first wife (see link for related article). Additionally, one of their instructors, Devin, has been with Planet Dance since he was five-years-old and now instructs the all-boys classes.
Currently, Planet Dance is opened from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. till 2 in the afternoon on Saturdays. They accommodate their students and families in their scheduling, understanding the different time constraints during the school year and the seasons.
Amid the familiar sounds of parents and students getting ready to leave after class was finished, Gina commented, “I think we have an approach to dancing that’s unmatched right now. We’re family oriented, definitely, but we also love dancing. And when we teach children, we see ourselves at that age and want them to enjoy learning about dancing as much as we did.”
“And still do,” finished Erica.
Planet Dance is located at 111 Chestnut Street right off Westfield Avenue. Anyone requesting more information can contact Gina or Erica by phone at (908) 925-2559 , their Facebook page (link), or their website (link), which also allows for online registration.
[Pictured above: Gina, Erica, and Renée]