Grand opening held at Rivertown Dance Academy



By Ron Giofu


The Rivertown Dance Academy has celebrated its grand opening.

Students from the former Catz Meow Dance Education Centre have helped form the new school, which is still located at 258 Sandwich St. S. Along with Catherine Cristofaro, there are three other partners involved with bringing the studio into “a new era of dance education and artistic development.”

Over the past 13 years, The Catz Meow Dance Education Centre Inc. was led by founder and director Cristofaro. She helped mentor, develop and inspire the education and careers of nearly 2,000 dancers, many of whom have enjoyed national success.

In April 2018, Cristofaro drew the curtain on The Catz Meow and is thrilled to usher in a new chapter: the introduction of a new institute, Rivertown Dance Academy.

“Coming to terms with the reality that my family life, my own sense of peace and my overall health has been widely affected by managing this business alone – it has been a huge awakening for me,” says Cristofaro. “I knew something had to give and it wasn’t going to be my success as a mother or a loving wife; therefore I’ve decided to share in moving the dance community here in Amherstburg into a new and exciting direction.”

The Rivertown Dance Academy held its grand opening recently. The partners that run the dance school include Jennifer Horvath, Kaitlin Mackie, Laura Dufour and Catherine Cristofaro. (Special to the RTT)

Cristofaro announced the addition of three new directors – Laura Dufour, Kaitlin Mackie and Jennifer Horvath. Each is an accomplished dancer and educator, she stated, and Cristofaro added she is proud to share the successes, challenges and rewards of running a dance studio with her new partners.

“This dream team brings over 50 years of dance teaching experience to the town of Amherstburg,” said Cristofaro.

All four women promote the “human first, dancer second” approach to the development of the dancers. They credit the studio’s growth and success to “the outstanding faculty who specialize in all styles of dance,” Cristofaro said.

They also bring many other professional accomplishments, she said. The academy not only has dance educators but also has nurses and those with technical expertise on staff supporting the students, families and town.

Horvath is the newest of the partners, as the other three went from having teacher-student relationships to co-workers and now partners.

“I came on staff last year,” said Horvath. “I grew up dancing with Catherine. I used to live in Amherstburg and we’d love the opportunity to come back.”

Horvath added she jumped on board when she had the chance and said dance academies often become like families as they spend so much time together.

For more information on the Rivertown Dance Academy, call 519-730-1866 or visit

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