She opened her well-known studio, Sheila Rosanio’s School of Dance and Gymnastics, shortly after she had graduated from Boston State College, the year that the school merged with UMass Boston.
A popular student at Chelsea High School, Sheila Rosanio had majored in Physical Education (K-12) and Dance at Boston State, with a minor in Biology. She decided to pursue a career in dance and this year she celebrates 37 years at the studio located on Washington Avenue in Revere.
“I think we picked a good spot,” said Rosanio, whose studio is adorned by several national championship trophies from competitions coast to coast.
Rosanio said this past year – when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Revere very hard – was the most challenging of her career as a business owner.
“Prior to the pandemic, we had the best year we’ve ever had, but when the pandemic hit, everybody had to close,” said Rosanio, who shut down operations for four months and had to cancel the annual recital due to the closure of all outside venues. “We opened back up in September  and our recital was at Revere High School in June . We’re very grateful to Mayor Arrigo, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kelly and the School Committee for allowing us to be at Revere High with limited seating.”
A National Championship and an Award for Choreography
Following the recital, Rosanio and a team of dancers traveled to Mohegan Sun in Connecticut for the Starpower Battle of the Stars national competition.
The Rosanio-led contingent had won the preliminaries virtually before the finals which were held in person in front of a panel of dance judges.
The results were extraordinary in a competition that drew 1,700 teams. “Our team (ages 12-17) not only won the Nationals, but they also won the Battle of the Stars,” related Rosanio.
The national championship team consisted of Mimi Narcisse and Jaralese Canales of Revere; Emma Arsenault, Olivia Arsenault Nicole Uribe Lopez, and Emily Uribe Lopez of Saugus; Haven Pereira, Juliana Demers, and Bella Giuffre of Winthrop; Shivone Fennell of Melrose; and Brenda Franciosa of Ipswich.
Sheila Rosanio was named the national “Choreographer of the Year” out of the 1,700 teams. It was the second time that Rosanio had captured the award in her distinguished 37 years in dance.
Asked if the award was the highlight of her career in light of the challenges posed by the pandemic, Rosanio deflected the attention to her team and replied, “It was a hard year, but I was just so proud of the girls who were so dedicated and so competitive – to be the best against so many other teams is a tremendous accomplishment and something they’ll remember the rest of their lives.”
Beginning in Dance as a Child in Chelsea
At the age of 8, Sheila Rosanio began taking lessons at a studio in Chelsea and later at Betty Murray Studio in Revere.
“I took dance all the way through high school and I joined the dance team at Boston State,” said Rosanio.
At 21, she began teaching physical education at parochial schools and later at Everett High School and Malden High School. She also coached the Malden High gymnastics team that won the school’s first-ever national title.
Rosanio then made the decision to leave the field of education and devote her career to her dance studio full time.
“I think it was the best move I ever made,” said Rosanio. “My life is not just about teaching our students how to dance, but we instill self-confidence and poise in them. I was very shy a as a child, and it just brought out my confidence and I see it in the kids. It’s so great when you see a child come in and interact so well with others and then be able to express themselves through dance.”
One of her former students, Shealagh Boyajian, recently graduated from Theater Arts Preparatory School in Las Vegas, and has earned a lead role in a major theatrical production at Bally’s.
“I’ll be going to Vegas in the fall to watch her perform,” said Rosanio. “I’m so excited for her success.”
Thirty-seven years after entering the field of dance, Sheila Rosanio is still creating success stories one student at a time.