Founded by Kit Rossi
Dance is the overflow of abundance of JOY in our hearts...
Dance for Joy was founded in 2009 by Kit Rossi. Kit is a Jacksonville native who grew up dancing at Village Dance Center from 1983-1995. From there, she went on to major in dance with an emphasis in education at Jacksonville University.
Upon graduating in 1999, she went to work for her friend from JU, Courtenay Chastang Bowser, who had opened up a Christian Arts Center called Shoshannah Arts. Kit began to teach mostly middle school and high school students in ballet and modern. Being a part of a team of young, enthusiastic artists who were just as passionate about Jesus as they were their art was an exciting time in Kit’s early adult life. While at Shoshannah, she acted as the dance director and then later as program director.
In 2007, Shoshannah closed its doors and left Kit feeling a little unsure what to do next. With two young children and one on the way, it was difficult to imagine starting fresh somewhere else. After about a year of being displaced and finding all sorts of creative ways to teach and serve, a dear friend asked her to do a “ballerina birthday party” for her three year old daughter. Kit had never taught “baby ballet” before, but considering she now had a three year old daughter herself and another baby girl on her hip, it seemed like a practical thing to do.
One thing led to another, and Dance for Joy was born about a month later. Fall of 2009, we opened our doors offering just three classes for three different age groups.
A year later, in 2010, Dance for Joy moved locations when River City Church so graciously welcomed us with open arms. Each year a few more classes and a few more teachers were added as our dancers were aging and multiplying.
In 2015 after five exciting years at River City Church, it was time to find a new location closer to Kit’s home in San Marco.
After a trip to Guatemala with Southside Methodist, Kit began to have conversations about the possibility of SMC being the new location for Dance for Joy. God miraculously opened the door and Dance for Joy danced right through it. The opportunity for ministry being on the SMC campus has been plentiful and amazing.
Each year Dance for Joy continues to grow and change. Perhaps our biggest change was in the summer of 2022 when our founder and director, Kit Rossi retired. Thankfully, our new owner Grace Mims was a natural and beautiful fit to take the helm. Kit’s heart was for dance to bring joy to God and others and Grace shares the same heart. The joy that each and every tiny and not so tiny dancer brought to Kit for the thirteen years that she led Dance for Joy was enough joy to fuel an army of angels. She leaves a legacy of prayer, gratitude and joy with the future of Dance for Joy.