Melinda C. Samperi created Acton Boxborough Dance Center in 1994. Her passion for dance and teaching was reignited a few years earlier when her young daughter began taking dance classes at another studio.
ABDC started out in the basement of the South Acton Congregational Church, with Melinda teaching all of the 12 classes — in Ballet, Tap, and Jazz — by herself to nearly 70 students, aged 3 1/2 to 14. The studio’s first recital was held in the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School Auditorium, with program cover and studio logo designed by Melinda’s mother, Laura Christ. After that first year, ABDC moved up the street to Exchange Hall in South Acton.
Exchange Hall was home to the expanding ABDC community for five years. The studio underwent many changes during those years, including the addition of teachers to the staff, fostering of student assistants, and inclusion of Lyrical, Hip Hop, and Ballet Performing Company classes in the studio offerings.
Eventually, with classes diversifying in terms of age, level, and genre, Melinda realized that to cater to the ABDC students’ dance desires, she needed to move to a larger studio space with more classrooms. ABDC moved to its current location (3 Eastern Road in North Acton) in 2000, offering Melinda the opportunity to design her own dream dance space, with two classrooms, a lobby, and windows for class viewing — all still adorned with her original color and curtain choices!
ABDC is entering its 30th year, under the direction of one of Melinda’s former students, Eden Watson. ABDC’s dynamic staff of seven teachers — Brittany Safran, Melanie Najarian, Eden Watson, Jen Conry, Emily Leandro, Nicole Hebert, Nathan Bentley, and Ashlyn McCammon— is a testament to the community that Melinda created throughout her 13 years as Studio Director. All the ABDC teachers share her goal to “create a supportive, positive, and caring atmosphere for students of all ages and abilities to learn dance,” and look forward to another exciting year of dance at ABDC!