My name is Jerica Di Cesare and I am the proud owner of Miss Jerica’s Dance La Vie Academy located on Provo’s Center Street next to A Fresh Market. I never thought I would be opening my own business at age 22, but I found myself in the middle of a rare and wonderful opportunity being encouraged by dance moms galore and simply could not pass it up. I feel extremely blessed to have this opportunity to own and operate my own business, and I fully embrace the great sacrifices and fulfillment that come with it.
Dance La Vie’ Academy was born out of a studio I taught at all through college: ConfiDance Club. Denna Robertson was the owner there and brought me on board to share my passion for dance with the cutest little girls around. She served as a mentor and role model for me during my college years. As I pursued my Psychology, B.S. degree at Brigham Young University during the day, I always looked forward to escaping to the dance studio every night. It was a safe haven where I could go and focus on these amazing girls and teach them about pointed toes, integrity, and good sportsmanship. I wanted to give these girls what I was given- the highest quality of dance training in an uplifting environment surrounded by friends and lifelong memories.
Being brought up by a single mom that taught dance for a living shaped who I have become today. She used every opportunity as a life lesson, whether it was for me or for one of her students. She taught good character, love for others, hard work, and expression through the art of dance. She was always ambitious and fed me determination and endurance. She taught me to be strong and good-willed, even at the toughest of times. And most importantly, she taught me to be selfless and chase my passion while serving others.
I have a burning passion for dance and was raised by this strong single mother in a dance room I will never forget. From the day I was born, I learned the meaning of ‘early-morning practices’. I was blessed to have many moms as the amazing women my mom danced with in Contemporary Jazz Theatre who continued to teach and inspire me. To this day, they are masters of the dance world all over Utah and abroad, and sharing with me their life-long knowledge. Many of them have opened successful dance studios themselves, ran huge competitions throughout the nation, and choreographed for production events such as Stadium of Fire. They are more than supportive in my business venture and continue to teach me how to be successful as a businesswoman, mentor, and choreographer.
You are probably wondering why a young experienced dancer of myself isn’t on broadway where I belong or competing for So You Think You Can Dance. I live to dance- hence the name Dance La Vie’ (life) Academy. It was what I knew and loved. It was my world. Until a cloudy day in May of 2006 when I endured an extensive back surgery that placed 2 rods and 6 screws along my chasse’-ridden spine. I was devastated that my Broadway dreams were over, and had to watch my closest friends achieve our Cougarette/LA/NYC hopes and dreams without me, but I was beyond grateful for my health and beautiful new titanium back. I tried to build my new life around academics and the sciences and even obtained a degree in Psychology, but my inborn dance passion would not escape me. So I stopped fighting it and started the long, well-know path in my mother’s footsteps teaching. I have loved it ever since. Nothing brings me more joy than spending time in the studio with my amazing dancers that I have the opportunity to teach and love. This studio, for me, is a dream come true!
When I found out ConfiDance was retiring, I knew I had to give these girls a place to dance that has precise technical training and affordable prices. They deserve it. I look back to the days that my mother worked three jobs just to pay for my dance training, costumes and competitions, and I hope to give the Utah Valley families an opportunity that I was blessed to enjoy. At my studio of origin, I made friendships I hold onto today and memories that will last forever. I see girls from that studio performing as back-up dancers and TV step-ins. I could not be more proud of what we achieved as a team.
After months of hard work, late nights, property listings, real estate meetings, bank appointments, diligent pleading and plenty of patience, I was able to secure a beautiful space and put into life my Dance La Vie’ Academy.
Since that day, Dance La Vie’ Academy has trained over 200 dancers, won every competition we’ve attended, enjoyed multiple recitals displaying the talent and love our students have for dance, maintained numerous undefeated teams, grown with an incredible staff, and received countless awards such as best choreography, hardest working studio, over-all studio, and high point champion. I look forward to many years of such continued success for my dancers both on and off the dance floor.
Ø18 years of intensive dance training and competing in jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary and hip hop from reputable Utah dance schools including: The Winner School, Pulse 31, The Vibe, and Janet Gray Studios. Instructed at: ConfiDance, Ballet Nova, Barlow Center for the Arts, & Dance Showcase Company.
Ø2 years of school competing teams including: Brighton High School National Championship Drill Team and Brighton High School Dance Company.
Misc awards: Tap scholarship at New York City Dance Alliance, Best Choreographer
Ø1 year of ballroom dance training in bronze level Standard and Latin ballroom at Brigham Young University- Dancesport quarterfinalist
Ø2 years of contemporary/jazz dance at Brigham Young University
ØUDJA Certified dance competition judge
ØMaster classes taken and taught in Chicago, New York, LA, Florida and DC
Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, 2008-2012 BS Major: Psychology
People I look up to and need to thank: Traci Raymond, Craig Garrick, Janet Gray, my entire family, Denna Robertson, Maria Lowry, William Johnson, Coach Britt, Laura King, Trey Barber, Adriane Skousen, Kourtney Rentz, Penny Clayson Broussard, and all my mini divas and their phenomenal parents!!