International Dance

A group comprised of Russian teachers and students had an opportunity to show off some of their dance moves during a visit to Guys and Dolls Dance Studio in Jamestown.

As part of a cultural immersion experience, the group of seven women came to see the dance studio on March 14-while visiting the Jamestown area.

The group was visiting through the Perm Mission Network, a group of local residents that has partnered with students and teachers from Perm, Russia, for the past 16 years. As part of its program, the PMN brings a group of Russian English teachers to Western New York, as well as several other locations during their stay in the U.S.

This year, there were seven participants in the program. They include: Elena Gulyaeva, assistant professor of English at Perm State National Research University; Daria Vasilenko, English teacher at PSNRU; Emilia Makarenko, English teacher at School 65; Tanya Petrova, English teacher at Uralchem Company; Sveta Sukhanova, who runs a private English school in Chaikovskiy, Russia; Olesia Builova, human resources manager at IES Trading; and Maria Permyakova, a student at the Russian State University of Tourism and Service.

According to Laura Cimino, owner and director of Guys and Dolls Dance Studio, the group visited at the request of Gulyaeva-who is the group leader.

“(Gulyaeva) is the one who wanted to visit the studio because she does ballroom dancing,” she said. “When they got here, the first thing they did was start taking pictures. Then I took them on a tour of the studio.”

Now in its 52nd year of operation, Guys and Dolls was originally founded in 1960 by Cimino’s mother, Naomi, as Prince Dance Studio. After undergoing several relocations, it is now situated at 1390 Peck Settlement Road. The dance studio is unique in that it also contains two museum rooms-Naomi’s Memory Museum Room contains memorabilia gathered from throughout the studio’s history, and Laura’s Museum contains props and memorabilia from shows throughout Cimino’s 25-year career of teaching dance.

Cimino said that she had an opportunity to teach the group a variety of dancing styles, including jazz, hip-hop, the waltz, the chacha and belly dancing.

“I performed for them after the tour, and we topped (the visit) off with them showing me one of their Russian dances,” said Cimino. “So I showed them my moves, and they showed me theirs. And I made such wonderful friends in just the little amount of time I was with them.”

The PMN group’s 10-day visit to the Jamestown area also included stops at Persell Middle School, Chautauqua Lake Central School, Jamestown Community College, the Jamestown police and fire departments, the Gateway Center, as well as several churches and businesses. They also had an opportunity to meet with Mayor Sam Teresi. They visited the area through March 20.

In addition to Jamestown, the group completed its visit to the states with trips to New York City, Niagara Falls, Washington, D.C. and Houghton College. For more information on Guys and Dolls Dance studio, visit www.gddance.net.