October 19, 2013


Dancer fulfills longtime dream

NikkiJoe McIntyre/staff photographer
Nikki Zeches of Studio Z works with dance students on Wednesday at her new Cortland studio. A longtime dancer, Zeches opened the new studio in September on south Main Street in Cortland.

Staff Reporter

A longtime dancer, cheerleader and Cortland resident has created a new space for people of all ages to dance and stay active by opening Studio Z School of Dance at 191 Main St.
Studio Z offers primary, intermediate and advanced classes for people interested in learning or practicing various styles of dance, including ballet and jazz.
The studio also teaches lyrical dance, a form of expressive dance, and pom dancing, which is similar to cheerleading combined with hip-hop music.
In addition to teaching people how to dance, Studio Z has competitive dance teams as well as fitness and exercise programs including yoga, Zumba and a “boot camp,” an extreme, high-energy workout program for individuals serious about getting in shape.
Owner Nikki Zeches said she grew up learning how to dance at Jill Reeners School of Dance. That experience, combined with her love of dance, motivated Zeches to open the studio.
“I felt the community lacked a fun dance studio,” Zeches said. “I wanted to provide that experience for kids around the area.”
After graduating from Utica College in 2009, Zeches said she missed out on an opportunity to try out for the Buffalo Bills cheerleading squad due to a snowstorm. Instead of getting discouraged, she took it as a sign to do what she wanted.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” Zeches said. “I was meant to be a dance teacher.”
In addition to the studio, Zeches works as a nutrition educator for the Community Action Program of Cortland County, or CAPCO.
After Zeches decided to commit to opening a studio in Cortland, she considered nearly a dozen different locations before choosing the Main Street location.
Since opening the dance studio in September, Zeches said her favorite part has been seeing people come out to learn, practice, stay healthy and have fun while they do it.
“I like seeing how they progress,” Zeches said. “I already see a lot of girls that love it and want to stick with it.”
Reeners said although she has not had a chance to see the new studio, she knows her former student has the skills and experience to do the job.
“I think the world of Nikki. She’s a very good person and a very good dancer.” Reeners said. “The kind of person she is lends itself to her being a very effective teacher with children; there’s a certain level of kindness mixed with friendly discipline which is necessary.”
In the future, Zeches said she would like to open a second studio large enough to house fitness programs as well as dance and cheerleading practices, but for now, she is content with teaching dance and fitness routines and plans on doing it for a long time.
“It’s been a dream of mine my whole life,” Zeches said. “It’s been a ride, but we’re finally open.”


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