Frances Landrum, one of the original 36 Radio City Music Hall Rockettes, decided to take her talent in performing and combine it with the art of teaching.
Thus the Landrum School of Dance was born in 1948. It is among the first few original businesses that started in Whitestone, drawing students from all five boroughs.
Annette Vallone joined the school at the age of three as a painfully shy little girl. Today, she is the owner of the Landrum School, helping other young girls to gain confidence.
“Mrs. Landrum assured my mother she would develop my self-confidence through dance and she was absolutely right,” said Vallone. “The two of them became mentors to me and guided my career right into the Rockettes; then I took over the dance school at the age of 18.”
Vallone realized her passion for teaching the art of performance to others outweighed her desire to dance solo after witnessing the gradual progression of her students.
“I love to watch the development of a student — through the stages of adolescence, into teen years, then into womanhood,” said Vallone.
The Landrum School is a place where children come together to express themselves and bond through their love of dance. The friendships made at the dance school are those that last for quite a while.
“A young woman that has made me proud since the age of eight, when her mom brought her to my school, is Miss Gina Teri,” said Vallone. “I named her assistant director in 2010, and she has done a magnificent job with choreography and directing the overall cool edge and sharpness of the school.”
After 33 years of teaching, dance is more than just movement for Vallone. It is the gift that keeps on giving.
“Giving a child a gift of self confidence — the same gift that was given to me — has been the greatest joy of teaching,” Vallone said. “I look forward to many more years.”
The Landrum School of Dance is located at 11-02 Clintonville Street in Whitestone. To learn more, call 718-767-9787.