Broadway on the Boulevard opens in Pittston’s former David Blight studio

By Gene Axton - For Sunday Dispatch
Broadway on the Boulevard members Amara Musto, 10, left, of Pittston, Ameriana Walker, 11, and Caitlyn Hess, 11, both of West Pittston, do a number outside the Broadway on the Boulevard studio on South Main Street in Pittston during grand opening ceremonies. - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Members of the Emerald Isle Step Dancers practice by a mirror at Broadway on the Boulevard in Pittston. - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Broadway on the Boulevard co-owner Rachel Leandri steps outside during the studio’s grand opening. - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Broadway on the Boulevard co-owner Brad Chikowski talks about the new business located at the former David Blight Dance Studio in Pittston. - - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Broadway on the Boulevard co-owner and studio director Rachel Leandri, left, and her receptionist and mother Debbie Leandri, chat with customer Kimberly Keating, of Pittston, during the studio’s grand opening. - - Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

PITTSTON — The phrase, “If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere,” is presumed to be about New York, but Pittston City’s newest business embodies The Big Apple’s Broadway on the Tomato Capital’s Boulevard.

The aptly named Broadway on the Boulevard held its grand opening Aug. 25 at the studio’s rear 159 S. Main St. location (facing Kennedy Boulevard). The performing arts studio, previously known as Pittston David Blight School of Dance, provides young people with competitive and recreational dance opportunities while opening its doors to an older audience for lessons in ballroom dancing, tap, hip hop and more.

Co-owner Brad Chikowski said the studio — his first business venture — was a necessary investment.

“It’s my daughters’ passion,” said Chikowski, 43, of West Pittston. “Therefore, it has to be mine.”

Chikowski’s daughters Carlie, 3, and Brianna, 10, danced at the studio when it was Pittston David Blight School of Dance. There, they learned under their father’s new business partner Rachel Leandri.

Leandri, 23, is a Wyoming native who said she “practically took [her] first steps” at Pittston David Blight School of Dance. She performed as part of the studio’s competition team, became an instructor at the school as a teenager and was promoted to studio manager by the time she graduated from Wilkes University in 2017. That summer, Chikowski came to her with his proposal.

“He said, “I’m going to buy the studio; I want you to run it,” Leandri recalled. “Then it took a very long process of going to banks trying to get the right funding source. We worked with Wilkes University and their small business development center.”

Chikowski said the business plan took a year and a half to put together, but he was motivated by his daughters’ passion for dance and his family’s history with the school — Chikowski’s mother and sisters were also former students of the studio.

Now that the newly remodeled studio is open for business, Leandri is excited to build Broadway on the Boulevard into an inclusive and educational performing arts experience.

“I can only hope to really influence these girls and inspire them to be the best that they can be, because they all are so gifted and it’s great for them to really express that creativity,” Leandri said. “I really want to share my knowledge and passion for dancing with them.”

Briana Chikowski is excited to get back into the studio and start learning — especially in hip hop class.

“I can express myself and there’s a lot of cool movements in hip hop,” Briana said. “You can move in a funky way.”

Briana is looking forward to being a dance teacher like Leandri someday, but her ambition doesn’t stop there.

“When I grow up, I can be in charge of the studio if my dad doesn’t want to, and I can rule the studio,” she said.

If young people want to join Briana on the dance floor, registration for fall classes is open. For adults intrigued by the world of performing arts, the studio has the aforementioned programs available, as well as plans to include activities like yoga.

Information on current offerings may be found at broadwayontheboulevard.com or Facebook.com/broadwayontheboulevard.

Broadway on the Boulevard members Amara Musto, 10, left, of Pittston, Ameriana Walker, 11, and Caitlyn Hess, 11, both of West Pittston, do a number outside the Broadway on the Boulevard studio on South Main Street in Pittston during grand opening ceremonies.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_PSD090218Broadway_1.jpgBroadway on the Boulevard members Amara Musto, 10, left, of Pittston, Ameriana Walker, 11, and Caitlyn Hess, 11, both of West Pittston, do a number outside the Broadway on the Boulevard studio on South Main Street in Pittston during grand opening ceremonies. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Members of the Emerald Isle Step Dancers practice by a mirror at Broadway on the Boulevard in Pittston.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_PSD090218Broadway_2.jpgMembers of the Emerald Isle Step Dancers practice by a mirror at Broadway on the Boulevard in Pittston. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Broadway on the Boulevard co-owner Rachel Leandri steps outside during the studio’s grand opening.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_PSD090218Broadway_3.jpgBroadway on the Boulevard co-owner Rachel Leandri steps outside during the studio’s grand opening. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Broadway on the Boulevard co-owner Brad Chikowski talks about the new business located at the former David Blight Dance Studio in Pittston.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_PSD090218Broadway_4.jpgBroadway on the Boulevard co-owner Brad Chikowski talks about the new business located at the former David Blight Dance Studio in Pittston. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch

Broadway on the Boulevard co-owner and studio director Rachel Leandri, left, and her receptionist and mother Debbie Leandri, chat with customer Kimberly Keating, of Pittston, during the studio’s grand opening.
https://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/web1_PSD090218Broadway_5.jpgBroadway on the Boulevard co-owner and studio director Rachel Leandri, left, and her receptionist and mother Debbie Leandri, chat with customer Kimberly Keating, of Pittston, during the studio’s grand opening. Bill Tarutis | For Sunday Dispatch
Broadway on the Boulevard opens in former David Blight studio

By Gene Axton

For Sunday Dispatch

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or email sd@psdispatch.com

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or email sd@psdispatch.com