|RizzQue owner Jeanette Cardona (foreground) and instructors like Philicia Edwards (background) have brought pole dance fitness to Norwood. (Photo by Adi Talwar)|
Jeanette Cardona originally planned on naming her new Webster Avenue dance studio and boutique Casa Cardona. But considering the studio’s offerings, which include instruction in both belly and pole dancing, Cardona decided instead to take a risk and be bold, maybe even a little risqué, in naming her new business.
Armed with a catchy new name, RizzQue Studio and Boutique, and a diverse arsenal of dance clothing as well as traditional, risqué and kid-friendly dance classes, Cardona’s Norwood-area studio is thriving.
“Yes, I make sexy clothes, but it’s not about being erotic,” she says, “it’s about pushing yourself and unleashing your most inner self.”
Cardona, better known as “J,” worked for 17 years creating dance, fitness and yoga wear, as well as lingerie, and dance costumes. Her dance studio offers Salsa and Hip Hop classes for kids and Belly Dance, Zumba, Yoga, Pilates, and Pole Dance Fitness classes for adults.
“It’s 2011,” Cardona says. “Pole dancing has gone mainstream. Years ago people only associated it with strip clubs, but it’s not degrading, it is an art and dance form. It’s about pushing yourself to your limits as an athlete.”
pole dancing combines elements of modern dance, gymnastics, and ballet, Cardona says.
“It’s so hard!” RizzQue regular Paulina Vilchez says, laughing. “I can’t climb the pole, but I’m trying!”
Anna Marin, who also takes pole dancing classes at the studio, says, “It’s just awesome. They are the only ones in the Bronx offering pole dancing.”
Cardona says her biggest challenge was installing the poles. After a lot of research and planning, she finally figured out how to install six removable poles that can hold up to 250 pounds a piece. Since business is booming, she now plans to install four more.
Cardona had initially planned to open a clothing boutique, but when she saw 3037 Webster Ave., she knew the space could be more. With the help of her mother, Myrna Colon, the two women transformed the former karate studio into a dance studio, as well as a clothing boutique.
Not a dancer by trade, Cardona employs professional instructors for her dance classes, which she also takes part in. Meanwhile, she is in the process of receiving her certification in Pilates and Yoga instruction.
RizzQue opened inauspiciously on Dec. 4 at the beginning of a rough winter. “The snow storms didn’t help,” she says, shaking her head. But word of mouth is slowly building her clientele.
Cardona hopes RizzQue will be a place where people feel good about themselves. “Life gets in the way,” she says, “and a lot of women forget to make time for themselves. I want people to be able to come here for an hour and have it be all about them.”
Vilchez says that’s exactly why she comes. “I can totally relax when I come here,” she says.
As a lifelong Norwood resident, Cardona wanted to add something positive to the neighborhood.
“I’ve always loved this area, because it’s such a melting pot,” she says. One participant, she says, offering an example, is a little girl from Bulgaria who doesn’t speak a word of English, but loves to dance. Cardona says, “Dance is something that can be translated in any language.”
Ed. Note: A version of this story was published in the latest edition of the Norwood News. Although most of the adult classes are geared towards women, the kid’s classes are co-ed and are intended for children ages 5 -15. For more information, call (718) 882-1000 or visit www.rizzque.com.
This story was updated from an original version on 7/25/2011.