Dani Tucci-Juraga’s life keeps her on her toes. She’s a wife, a mom, a business owner, a dancer, a choreographer, an actor, a producer, and apparently a juggler adept at keeping all of those balls in the air.
Dani, owner of and teacher for her own dance studio, is the resident choreographer for the Actors’ NET of Bucks County (the non-profit actor-driven non-equity theater in Morrisville) as well as seasonal choreographer for Pennsbury, Truman, and the BCTech Schools. And this month she’s not wearing only her business owner, teacher, and choreographer hats. Additionally, Dani is producing, making costumes for, and performing as Judy in “White Christmas” at Actors’ NET.
She’s thrilled to do it all, though, and happily took the reins of the creative side of the production, even though it’s a challenge.
“I love this show,” she said. “A project like this is worth it. It’s a holiday favorite for many people and Judy is a dream role for me.”
Dani’s life is a dream come true for her. Her love of dance began at age two-and-a-half when she went to her older sister Sharon’s class.
“Her teacher let me in and I was hooked,” she said.
Sharon stopped dancing when she was 12, but Dani couldn’t get enough. She added more and more classes as she grew up in the Indian Creek section of Levittown with her encouraging parents, Ron and Marlene Tucci.
“They were always very supportive of my dreams to become a professional dancer and studio owner from a very young age and still are,” she said.
Dani knew in middle school that she wanted to own a dance studio, but when she grew up, she went on the road first, performing internationally with “Sesame Street Live” (they performed in the U.S., Canada, and Asia). She also performed in “The Magic School Bus” and toured with various dance companies. Her last professional job before opening her studio was on a Disney cruise ship. Not only did she get to do what she loved to do, she found the love of her life, Kresimir Juraga, of Croatia, who was a waiter on the ship.
After their contracts ended, they decided to settle in the U.S., get married and have a son, Adam, who’s now 12. The Juraga (your-AH-ga) family lives in Morrisville.
“After five years being on the road, I was ready to unpack my suitcase,” she said.
Dani and Kresimir opened the dance studio with the mission of providing a unique approach to teaching, positive encouragement, and a place where everyone can simply feel happy. He has a successful photography business, too.
During her day Dani creates lessons, completes business administration tasks, and various tasks that need to be done for her creative endeavors. She spends five hours teaching nightly at the studio, but it doesn’t feel like work. Being organized is key to getting it all done. Having a great staff and production team at the theater helps, too, she said.
Tap is Dani’s passion, but she teaches ballet, jazz, and contemporary dance, too. She continues to take classes as she can, even after all the years of instruction and experience.
“I’m still growing all the time. I like to keep learning,” she said.
She feels blessed that dance came naturally to her.
“We all are given a gift, something we can nurture,” she said. “I’m really thankful that it was given to me and I can grow with it.”
Dani, who was a featured dancer in the movie “The Silver Linings Playbook,” continues to audition for similar opportunities if they arise.
“It’s fun for my students to see me do things like that and say ‘my teacher’s in a movie,’” she said. “That’s what I enjoy most now – inspiring people and being an example for all of my students.”
Dani teaches people of all ages, including adults who may have never danced before. And she choreographs steps for those who maybe are actors more than dancers. But she knows she can help everyone to feel at ease on stage.
“With creativity and encouragement, you can make everyone look good,” she said. “Even if dancing isn’t their natural ability, you can find something that is going to make them shine.”
PHOTO CAP: Dani Tucci-Juraga