Cierra Falbo '16: Alumni Hiring Alumni

With a childhood full of late night dance practices and national competitions, Cierra Falbo ’16 made it her goal in life to provide young children with a place to learn new skills, have fun, and grow as individuals. In 2014, she became the owner of Cierra’s School of Dance – a place to educate and empower young dancers. By instilling confidence in young men and women, Cierra knows their potential will only grow.

“Dance is such an expressive art form, through which I want all my dancers to feel open to express themselves and be comfortable doing so,” says Cierra proudly.

Cierra studied Psychology and Sociology at Lewis, concentrating on classes that related to children and development. A passionate and talented young woman, Cierra decided she wanted to work toward combining her love for dance and understanding of children in her future career. So, she did just that. In 2014, Cierra’s School of Dance (CSOD) opened out of the studio in Cierra’s basement. She began with only three students, but was delighted to see how quickly her student base began to expand.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree, Cierra expanded CSOD by relocating to a new facility in Lemont that has a large dance studio, dressing rooms, a waiting area and even a dancewear shop. Cierra’s School of Dance offers classes ranging from 2 years old to adult such as tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, musical theater, stretch and technique, creative movement, adult mixed genre class and Zumba. Cierra and her students also created a competitive team – Galaxy Dance Company – that has won several awards and competition vouchers. 

“My favorite part about Cierra’s School of Dance is the family base,” says Cierra. “I enforce all of my students to be very open with each other, and encourage the faculty to provide a comfortable, family-like environment.”

With 20 years of dance experience, Cierra has countless awards and scholarships from many different regional and national dance competitions. She also has choreographed for the Bolingbrook High School Poms Team and the Lewis University Flyerettes.

During this recent expansion, Cierra decided to add some new instructors, also Lewis alumnae, to the CSOD family. She has recently hired Nikki O’Keefe ’15 as an Intermediate Contemporary Instructor, Erin Hupp ’14 as a Zumba instructor/Office Manager and Lewis student Ashley Kowalsky as an Instructor/Office Manager.

“These girls are very close to me, and we all share many memories of dancing together at Lewis,” Cierra says. “I asked them to join the family, because they are all very smart and talented, and most importantly, because I knew they would help carry out the image that CSOD represents.”

Cierra’s main goal, no matter how much CSOD grows, is to empower these young dancers in a positive, supportive and encouraging environment. Before any performance, the group of dancers huddles together. Cierra will ask, “When do we have to be perfect?” The students yell, “Never!” Then Cierra asks the question, “Practice makes what?” The students reply with, “Progress!” After, Cierra asks, “What is the key?” The students shout, “Confidence!” Cierra finally asks, “Who are we?” The students respond by screaming, “CSOD!” Cierra ensures that these statements are lived up to in the studio, on the stage and beyond.

Cierra is proud to see the kids embrace themselves and others as they cheer each other on, clap when someone succeeds or just come to class with a smile. “Many dancers have come through my doors as shy as can be and now have an ever-growing self-confidence and love for themselves, others and the dance world,” Cierra adds.

Aside from the great courses and professors that Cierra had at Lewis, she learned something truly important – to go after what she wanted. “I was not going to make the dance team, get the A in Research Methods or make friends at Lewis unless I put the effort in and worked at it,” says Cierra. “I found out more about myself at Lewis just by going after what I wanted, because I felt comfortable to do so. I discovered my love of art here, made so many friends, created lifelong memories and was inspired to follow my dreams, which put me where I am now.”

With an extremely supportive mother, fiancé and group of friends, Cierra plans to add more dance classes, grow the competitive team and keep expanding Cierra’s School of Dance in the future.

September 2016

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