NORWICH – It’s been 40 long years since the Donna Frech School of Dance began teaching students. This year is their 40th anniversary and the studio is looking back on how it all began.
The founder of the school, Donna Frech Sharp (formerly Donna Frech), opened her first studio in South New Berlin in 1975. “When I was younger, I used to live on Long Island,” said Frech Sharp. “My family and I used to come up here on vacations and I fell in love with the area.”
Frech Sharp, holding a deep passion for dance, decided to move to Chenango County and open her very own school. “There weren’t a lot of schools in the area,” said Frech Sharp. “I thought that this was a great place to do what I love most.”
Frech Sharp opened her first studio in a storefront in the Town of South New Berlin in September of 1975. She fondly recalls making small signs with her father and putting them in the newspaper boxes of local residents as her first form of advertising. Frech Sharp’s first class had 22 students and only herself teaching.
“I can remember at our first registration. A mother and her two daughters came in to sign up,” said Frech Sharp. “I have since stayed in touch with the two girls.”
Frech Sharp says that both girls will be attending her recital next week.
The very next year, under some pressure from other locals who wanted to enrol their children in the school, Frech Sharp opened her second location in New Berlin. A few years later, with the school still growing, Frech Sharp was asked by one of her friends if she could hold classes in Norwich.