Dance studio gets a new location

NEW LOCATION — Joyce Mason, left, and LuAnn Radcliffe, the sisters behind the Studio, stand outside the new location for their dance, tumbling and cheering school at 1000 Main St. It’s the pair’s 40th year in business.

FOLLANSBEE — During a 40-year venture in dance and cheering instruction, Joyce Mason and LuAnn Radcliffe only stalled once — when their studio at the city’s south end was flooded by backed-up storm drains in 2016.

But the sisters have marked their ruby anniversary with the opening of a new location for their business — known simply as the Studio — at 1000 Main St.

The two had converted the city’s former rollerskating rink for dance, tumbling, cheering and baton instruction when they received a boost, in the form of a $500 revitalization grant from the Follansbee Chamber of Commerce.

This year the chamber introduced the grants, using donations from a handful of anonymous supporters, to help chamber members improve the appearance of their businesses.

Mason and Radcliffe used the grant to install a new sign and new concrete steps, repair an awning and paint and power wash areas of the exterior.

It’s not the first move for the pair, who started in Mason’s home and worked there for about nine years. When the number of pupils grew, they operated out of their current location for nine years before moving south to the former Brooke Catering building.

The two branched out at that point, opening the Grandma’s House daycare center with the help of their mother, Mabel Carey, and a gym in the Curves franchise in the same building while continuing to run the Studio for nearly 25 years.

“We kind of hit every age group with those three (businesses),” said Radcliffe.

After the building was flooded in 2016, the pair decided to minimize, focusing on dance instruction in the gym of the former St. Anthony School while seeking a more permanent site.

Both women started dancing at an early age, inspired in part by their late father, John, who wasn’t a professional dancer but enjoyed dancing casually.

They said they’ve enjoyed passing on that love to many youth over the years.

Their current clientele ranges from 3-year-olds to college students and a number are the children of former students, they said.

Mason said many of their instructors once were students there and her daughter, Christine, now oversees competition cheering squads at The Studio.

Radcliffe said the morale support and aid of their family has been a big part of the school’s longevity.

“Everybody pitches in for recitals and other events,” she said.