Having a passion and love for dance and the arts for as early as she can remember,
Debra always knew that she would be a Dance Educator and studio owner. Debra's childhood teacher and mentor, Connie M. Bowman gave her a strong, technical base from which she flourished. She studied in Philadelphia with Thomas Cannon and Peter Conlow, while maintaining her classes and loyalty to her childhood school, studying classical ballet, pointe, tap, and jazz throughout her childhood. As a young adult, Debra was selected from among hundreds of New Jersey teens to perform at the prestigious Garden State Arts Center as a winner of the Teen Arts Festival. Donning her tutu and pointe shoes, she performed in front of 2,000 people at the outside theater in North Jersey.
Knowing she had a true connection to children through teaching and choreography, she chose that path over a performing career. She opened her small single-storefront school at the young age of eighteen. As a member of the Dance Educators of America, and attending several teacher conventions yearly, Debra continued her studies to stay cutting-edge with what the dance industry had to offer.
Forty years later, DiNote's school has become one of the most well-known and highly respected schools in the tri-state area. Currently enjoying the 8,000 square foot, state of the art facility, and 400+ family based enrollment; it is the mission of DiNote to foster an interest and appreciation for the performing arts in the young people of the area by offering a strong technical based curriculum accompanied by the opportunity to showcase artistic development and stagecraft for Southem Jersey audiences.
In 1975 she founded the Companies of The DANCE! Workshop, inviting hundreds of students over the years to further develop their love of dance and the arts through community service performances, competitions, and yearly Company presentations of full-length ballets and productions. DiNote was commissioned by the Rouse Company owned malls in the tri-state area to write, direct, and choreograph Disney productions that were presented at eight area malls form 1978-1985. Students from the school were featured in the shows as singers, dancers, and actors. In 1988, DiNote wrote the original Overtime for Santa, presented by The Workshop Company to area audiences. OZ… Over the Rainbow and Once Upon a Glass Slipper have also given DANCE! students the opportunity to wow audiences since their initial stagings in 1991.
Debra has been honored with various awards from local and state organizations for her service to the community, offering lecture demonstrations to elementary schools, libraries, churches, senior communities, a senior tap program, and scholarships to her students since 1973. She has received special recognition from national competition directors and adjudicators for outstanding choreography, staging, and attention to technique. Dancers have been awarded scholarships to the Joffrey Ballet School in NYC, the Debbie Reynolds Studio “F” in California, the Gus Giordano School in Chicago, the Governor’s Schools of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and the Broadway Dance Center in NYC. DANCE! students have been seen on the stage of Carnegie Hall in NYC, seven invitational performances at Disney World, Six Flags Great Adventure, Hershey Park, Toys for Tots benefits, and the Miss New Jersey parades in Ocean City. … all made possible through the efforts of DiNote’s teaching and guidance. Debra’s experience, dedication, and love of her students and the arts is demonstrated through her daily work in the classroom as well as her family-friendly run school, further proving what a positive and fulfilling experience children have when they spend their childhood with DANCE! and Debra DiNote.