Where does Jenny from the block go when she needs a place to dance in the Boston suburbs? Milford.
Before headlining Saturday’s Kiss 108FM’s Kiss Concert at the Xfinity Center (formerly the Comcast Center) in Mansfield, Jennifer Lopez rented out Milford Dance Center, roughly 20 miles from the venue, to prep for the upcoming show.
What turned out to be a once-in-a-lifetime weekend for the studio’s director, Stephanie Cardoso, may not have happened if it weren’t for some persistent folks involved with the show.
“I actually, about two weeks ago, got an e-mail from her tour manager,” Cardoso said in an interview Monday, referring to Lopez’s manager. “I didn’t recognize the name or e-mail. All he said was an ‘international artist is looking to rent your space for these days and these times.’ I actually deleted the e-mails because I thought it was a scam.”
It wasn’t until the producer of Kiss Concert himself called Cardoso that she took the inquiry seriously.
“Last weekend I got a call from the producer of the Kiss Concert who said ‘one of my artists here who’s playing the concert is looking for a space next weekend...could we use your studio?’” Cardoso remembered. “I said absolutely.”
The icing on the cake came when she found out who the artist was.
“At the end of the conversation he said ‘oh and by the way it’s Jennifer Lopez,’” Cardoso said.
When all of the arrangements had been made (no special deals were cut for J-Lo or her crew), Lopez showed up to the Milford space with about 10 dancers, her choreographer, a couple of body guards, a manager, and a runner, all of whom Cardoso interacted with on May 30 and 31.
“I got to sit inside the studio all day on Friday and Saturday and watch her routines,” Cardoso said. “Because it was Jennifer Lopez, there were times when I had to stop and go ‘This is not TV,’ and remind myself this is actually happening in my dance studio.”
“[Jennifer] is very cool, she’s very down to earth,” Cardoso added.
The pair snapped a photo during Lopez’s visit to the studio (above).
Cardoso, a 28-year-old with a bachelor’s in dance education from Bridgewater State University, opened the Milford Dance Center three years ago after the space’s former occupant decided to give dance teaching a break. She and her husband, Carlos, and their son, Evan, live within a minute’s drive of the studio.
“There was a small part of me that was like ‘Ah that could’ve been me if I had continued [studying] dance performance,’” Cardoso said, remarking on how she felt while watching J-Lo rehearse. “But I have a 6-month-old baby at home. I went home and said, ‘I like what I’m doing because I get to come home to my baby and my house.’”
On Saturday, the new mom wrapped up her whirlwind brush with pop royalty by attending the Kiss Concert and seeing the fruits of Lopez and her dancers’ labor up close and personal.
“I definitely want to put something of Jennifer Lopez in our recital next year to say she was here and we’re going to honor her,” Cardoso said.
For more photos of Lopez at Milford Dance Center, visit the studio’s Facebook page.Emily Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @MissEmilyWright.