Nearly two decades ago, elementary schooler Taylor Bradley began dance lessons with “Miss Jessica” at the latter’s Ridgefield Studio of Performing Arts. The experience ignited a lifelong love of dance, one that Taylor and Miss Jessica share to this day. They also share a love of teaching dance, especially to girls and young women.
Fast forward to 2019, Bradley is head coach of Ridgefield High School’s competitive dance team. "Miss Jessica" is Jessica Jane Mancini, former professional dancer, local business owner and elected member of the Ridgefield Board of Finance. While Bradley was her student, Mancini, then 26, taught through her first pregnancy and, after a brief leave, resumed teaching by bringing her newborn son into class. Now, Bradley, at age 26 (the same age as Mancini when her first child was born) has taken temporary leave from her RHS coaching duties to welcome her first child. As difficult as it was for Mancini to manage her dance studio during her pregnancies, it was impossible for the RHS dance team to pause during Coach Bradley’s maternity leave, owing to school year and competition schedules.