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Lisa Lynn Dance World closing

After 50 years, instructor/owner Meyer saying goodbye

October 10, 2014
By TIFFANY REPECKI (trepecki@breezenewspapers.com) , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

After a half-century of teaching the art of dance, Lisa Lynn Dance World is closing its doors.

Around 1960, owner and dance instructor Rita Rose Meyer and her husband moved to Miami for his job. After learning of an opportunity with the Gulf American Land Corporation, the couple relocated to Cape Coral on the southwest coast. At the time, there were only about 500 people living in the area.

"I had nothing to do, and I was bored," Meyer said.

Article Photos

Michael Pistella

Rita Rose Meyer operated Lisa Lynn Dance World in Cape Coral for 50 years. Her school was the first dance studio in Cape Coral and it was the first woman-owned business in the city. The studio will be officially closing Oct. 31. A final goodbye gathering will be held Oct. 26.

Picking up work as an Avon sales representative, she soon found families in the Cape asking if she would teach their children to dance. Meyer had studied at the University of Cincinnati and had been a solo dancer on shows with Dick Van Dyke, Sammy Davis Jr., Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante and more.

"I was a professional dancer," she said. "I danced all over the world."

Meyer decided to follow through and ended up renting office space on Saturdays from an existing daycare along Cape Coral Parkway, east of Del Prado Boulevard. She had five students to start with.

"I liked it. It was fun," Meyer said. "I liked watching the children learn and grow."

The studio relocated once or twice before Meyer's husband designed a building for them to share.

"He had his design business in the front, and I had the dancing school in the back," she said.

Located at 4638 S.E. 15th Ave., Lisa Lynn Dance World called the site home for the next 50 years. According to Meyer, her school was the first dance studio and the first woman-owned businesses in the Cape.

"When we started, I was lucky to get an 8-year-old off a parent's lap (to learn to dance)," she said. "Now, I have 2-year-olds who get up and do a routine."

The studio has offered lessons on ballet, tap, tumbling, jazz, lyrical and a combination.

"We've had guest teachers come in from Miami and New York," Meyer said, adding that the students received instruction in Irish, Scottish, Hawaiian and Latin dancing over the years.

"We were always trying to do something to improve the children's knowledge of dance," she said.

The top enrollment number at Dance World was approximately 200 students.

"We had a young lady in ballet that made it all the way to The Royal Ballet in England," Meyer said. "It's top-notch in the ballet field."

Some went on to join the Rockettes in New York, while others made it to the Junior Olympics.

"At that time, parents were even sending the boys for gymnastics and so forth," she said.

Meyer's own daughter, Lisa Lynn McCreary, started learning to dance at age 2.

"She had her own professional company that danced throughout the country," she said.

McCreary went on to instruct at Dance World, along with her two sons.

"We've had a lot of accomplishments," Meyer said.

Over the years, her students joined local pageants and visited nursing homes to share their talent.

"We've never missed a parade, but one," she said.

When the Cape Coral Bridge opened, Meyer's team marched across the bridge. She was part of the group that helped to form the Alliance of the Arts in Fort Myers, which is still in existence.

"One of the pleasures was I taught blind children, deaf children," Meyer said.

But she never went easy on her students, in the studio or in life.

"I had a rule that if you got an F on your report card, you weren't allowed to come to dance," Meyer said. "I feel that education is important, and dance is part of education. It teaches discipline."

Unfortunately, like for many other businesses, the economic downturn hit hard.

"Because of the economy, the enrollment dropped and the money wasn't there," she said.

With no choice left, Meyer's family was forced to sell Dance World. They had hoped another dance instructor would buy the business and continue carrying the torch, but no deals came through.

"It's heartbreaking," she said. "It's heartbreaking."

On Oct. 31, the doors will officially close.

Meyer has partnered with It's All Good Consignment Boutique to host a closing sale today through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The sale is open to the public and everything needs to go.

"We're selling everything to the bare walls," she said.

There are ballet bars, chairs, desks, refrigerators, shelving, ladders, sound equipment, music and more. Costumes are also available, including Mr. and Mrs. Santa outfits, which could work for Halloween.

On Oct. 26, there will be a final goodbye gathering held from 2 to 4 p.m.

"All former students and parents are invited to come and say hello," Meyer said.

For more information, call (239) 542-2048 or visit: www.danceworldll.com.

 
 
 

 

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