She’s danced with Disney, taught with the Rockettes, and high-kicked her way down Fifth Avenue in the Macy’s Christmas Day parade. Now April Jubeck is here in Haymarket helping the next generation of dancers fulfill their dreams.
Jubeck’s passion for dance began with her grandmother, affectionately known as Miss Pauline to the hundreds of students she’s taught for more than 50 years at the Pauline Baker Rodgers School of Dance in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
“She is a role model and a bright light,” says Jubeck, “and she can make you happy just by talking to her.”
After spending her teen years teaching dance alongside her grandmother, Jubeck made a bold decision to pursue her dream of dancing at Disney World. Determined to succeed, she made plans to move there no matter how many times she had to audition. But she shouldn’t have worried. She was quickly offered a position in the entertainment department. “It was truly a magical experience,” she says, “something that was natural for me and my love of dancing.” It felt so right that Jubeck worked at Disney seasonally for five years.
But the dancer in her craved more. While spending her summers at Disney, Jubeck moved to New York City to pursue another dream – dancing with the Rockettes. She secured an internship at the world-renowned Broadway Dance Center and was selected to assist the Rockettes in teaching classes at Radio City Music Hall.
Jubeck then auditioned for Universal’s holiday season. Competing against hundreds of other dancers, she stood out and landed a spot as a high-kick dancer in the Macy’s Christmas Day parade. This was the part that she’d always pictured herself in, her dream role, and she did it.
After her exciting, whirlwind travels, Jubeck returned home to pursue a degree in elementary education and get married. Shortly thereafter, she followed her husband’s dream, ending up in Northern Virginia with her little family of 1-year-old tiny dancer Caralyn and a boy on the way.
About a year and a half into her new life, Jubeck decided to pursue another dream – to bring her wonderful childhood experiences to aspiring dancers in our community. She knew if she could teach one class, she would be able to grow the business. Her first three classes filled up quickly and in just nine months over 100 dancers have become part of the Lyrique Dance family.
Why Lyrique Dance and not, say, Jubeck Dance? Lyrique is French for lyrical, Jubeck’s favorite style of dance. But dancers can also take classes in ballet, jazz, tap, acro, and hip hop. In addition, Lyrique offers classes for all levels of dancers. From those new to the art of walking to those still new to the art of driving (students top out at age 18).
Jubeck’s enthusiasm and patience for both teaching and dance is immediately apparent as she welcomes each little ballerina to class. Parents even comment on her sweet and patient personality and the smiles on their kids’ faces when they’re dancing with her. In addition, Jubeck brings a high level of technique, passion, and something more to her students. Just like her grandmother’s students, Jubeck’s little dancers say “Thank you Miss April” at the end of class and are taught songs that only Miss Pauline’s dancers know. Honey is a Bunny is one of Jubeck’s favorites as it holds fond memories of the kids she taught at her grandmother’s studio. Now Lyrique’s younger students are reciting the same words.
As cute as the little dancers are, it’s the older students who provide a unique opportunity for Jubeck. She can dance right along with them as they dive into technique and more difficult choreography. Whether students desire to dance professionally (and they do — five Lyrique dance company members will travel to New York City this year to train with the Rockettes), or dance simply because they love it, Jubeck will be dancing beside them, both literally and figuratively.
When asked what most inspires her about teaching dance, Jubeck explains that dance allows children to express themselves creatively. When they watch themselves in the mirror, they discover how their movements convey emotions. Jubeck’s desire is to create a family environment where children feel safe to grow their love of dance and become empowered in the process. If the 2018 Best of Haymarket/Gainesville contest is a measure of this, she has already succeeded. Lyrique was chosen as Best Dance Studio its very first year in the category.
“It all comes back to my grandma,” Jubeck says. “She taught me to love dance and my role now is to spread that love.”
To learn more or to register for classes, go to www.lyriquedance.com. ϖ