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About Our Faculty...

At DDDS, all of our classes are taught by qualified dance professionals who take a vested interest in children and their growth as well rounded dancers. Our staff keeps a fun, non-competitive environment that allows the students to build self esteem and life-long friendships with their classmates.

Click on the names below to read a little information about each of our teachers:

Jen    Dusty   Dianna   Cindy  Tara   Lauren   Dana  Elyse   Miranda 


Dianna Durkin (Founder/Teacher) owned DDDS 1960-2014.  She is still teaching, works in the office & is our mentor.  She is a great inspiration to us all, especially to her daughter, (Cindy) our current owner.

While she was a senior at Green High School, she was given the studio by her dance teacher Martha Galvin Fritz.  When Dianna took over the studio only 5 students remained.  Within 2 years she had built it to over 100 students.  The studio now has over 200 families with a teaching staff of 11.  She is most proud of how many former students have enrolled their children as well as grand children! Many of Dianna’s former students have gone on to perform in soap operas, television shows, theater productions, amusement parks, as well as becoming dance teaching professionals.  

Dianna continues to learn by attending teacher conventions in Las Vegas & NYC and taking classes at the Broadway Dance Center in NYC. She has also been a member of Dance Masters of America of which she has been certified by test to teach. Dianna would like to take this opportunity to thank the students and families currently enrolled and those from years past.  “Thank-You!”

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Cindy Hixson (Owner/Teacher) began dancing at the age of 2 at DDDS.  She has also studied dance with the Canton Ballet and the University of Akron.  She has studied in NYC with various master teachers over the years including: Charles Kelley, Frank Hatchett, Germaine Salsberg, Avi Miller, Ofer Ben, Chio, Mia Michaels, and Tyce Diorio.  She continues her education by attending workshops, conventions, traveling to NYC to take classes at the Broadway Dance Center, as well as attending the Pulse Teacher convention in New York City.  Cindy has been a member of Dance Masters of America of which she has been certified by test to teach. She has also been a dancer on the Cleveland Cavilers Dance Team.  Cindy specializes in tap & jazz & has been a teacher at DDDS for over 30 years. She strives to make her classes a place where dancers are motivated to improve their skills and unleash their creativity while doing something they love! Cindy would like to thank her students because watching them perform her choreography on stage has been some of the greatest moments of her career!

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  Jennifer Lehaney

has been an instructor at Dianna Durkin Dance for over 20 years. She started dancing at the age of 3 and continued for 16 years with Bourn Dance Academy. Jennifer has over 11 years of competition experience, winning numerous overall awards, such as Top Soloist, at regional as well as national competitions. She went on to study dance at Kent State University and obtained a bachelors degree in Business. Later, she graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a Business Cognate. While at University of Akron, she performed with the University of Akron Dance Company, working with such choreographers as Tom Smith, Robin Prichard, and MaryAnn Black. She was named the rehearsal and residency assistant for the "Stream" project in conjunction with the Ohio State University Dance Program in Dublin, Ohio. In addition to her schooling, she also continues her dance education by attending conventions such as the Pulse Teacher Workshops through Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She has had classes, workshops, and conventions with such influential choreographers as Finis Jhung, Mia Michaels, David Howard, Desmond Richardson, and Frank Hatchett. In addition to teaching at Dianna Durkin, she also teaches Barre Fitness classes at Yoga Lounge and Barre in Hudson, Ohio and is a Part-Time Faculty member in the University of Akron's Dance Department. She recently taught Master Classes at the All-Ohio Dance Festival and has been involved with guest teaching at numerous local studios, elementary, and collegiate programs. Jennifer's choreography has won top choreography awards as well as high score awards at competitions. This fall, her choreography will be showcased in the University of Akron Dance Company's Fall Faculty show.
 

Throughout her years of teaching Jennifer has taught ballet, lyrical, contemporary, modern, stretch/technique, jazz, pointe, musical theater, and tap. Jennifer enjoys sharing her love for dance as an art form with her students as well as preparing them for continuing education. "We are teaching the students more than just dance, we are teaching them about life! Come celebrate life with me!"

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Dusty Spraggins began her dance training at DDDS when she was a teen.  She has been a teacher for over 20 years now with DDDS. Over the years, she has participated in numerous competitions, and also attended various workshops.  She specializes in teaching our youngest little dancers.  Dusty has a unique way of keeping her classes fun & interesting for young children, while still teaching them basics of dance.  Her students love her kind & patient ways. She hopes to make their first experience with dance class, instructive but also enjoyable and memorable. Dusty loves working with our pre dance classes & watching them fall in love with dance!

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Tara pic Tara Beamish started dancing at DDDS when she was 8 years old. She began taking classes in tap, jazz, and later added hip hop. Over the years, she has participated in numerous competitions, and also attended various workshops. Tara was also a member of the Green High School Dance Team,and then took additional dance classes at Kent State University. In 2009& 2010, she traveled to NYC to take classes at the Broadway Dance Center and attended the Pulse Convention (with SYTYCD choreographers). Tara began as an assistant teacher in 1996, and then started teaching her own classes in 1999. Currently, she is teaching beginner tap and jazz, and several pre-dance classes. Though she loves all types of dance, Tara's favorite has always been tap! Tara truly enjoys teaching our young dancers, and introducing them to the world of dance!

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Lauren Sprowls      

Lauren is a graduate from The University of Akron where she received her B.A. in Dance with a Business Cognate and will receive her MA in Arts Administration in May 2018. She has performed in a number of student choreographed projects, with The University of Akron Dance Company, and as a representative of Ballet in Cleveland, doing promotional performances and video shoots. Lauren has also participated in Akron Children's Hospital Dancing for the Kids fundraiser for the past four years. She shares her love for dance through dance education and has been teaching dance and other arts classes for almost 10 years. She has attended teacher conventions such as the Pulse convention in New York City and has taken many classes at BDC. She is always striving to be become a better teacher by continuing to educate yourself. She is currently the Education Director at Weathervane Playhouse and has supervised educational outreach programs, created curricula, established an arts ambassador program, and has coordinated performances with experience in the studio setting, in school programs, and with community organizations.

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Dana Graham is a recent graduate of The University of Akron.  She received a degree in Dance Education and Early Childhood Education.  Dana started her dance training at DDDS when she was 2 ˝.  She took classes in tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, and hip hop.  She has attended workshops like The Pulse in NYC and Excel in Motion.  As well as taking classes at the Broadway Dance Center in New York.  She has taken master classes from Tyce Diorio, Chris Judd, Mia Michaels, Kent Boyd, Lauren Froderman, and many other amazing choreographers.  In the near future, Dana hopes to be a school teacher and bring dance to public schools in after school programs.  Dana believes every child should have the opportunity to dance.

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Elyse Morckel Is an Akron native and recently completed her dance training at The Ohio State University and has returned to the Akron area to begin her career as a independent choreographer, teacher, videographer,  and performer. She performed in evening length works for choreographers such as Esther Baker-Tarpaga, Robin Pritchard, Dante Brown, Melanie Bales, and Dianne McIntyre. Elyse studied choreographic composition under Vicki Blaine, Susan Hadley, and Bebe Miller. Her most recent works "our place" and collaboration "Scat in VII" with Lauren Bedal, were awarded numerous creative research grants from both the Department of Dance and the College of Arts and Sciences. "Scat in VII" was also selected to represent the Department of Dance in this years ACDFA district conference.  She has taught at Akron School for the Arts at Firestone High School and Miller South School for the Visual and Performing Arts. Elyse looks forward to sharing all that she has learned with her students! 

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  Miranda Harig is a recent graduate of Kent State University and holds a BFA degree in Dance Performance. Miranda joined DDDS when she was 8 years old and continued her dance journey there until graduating high school. Miranda was a full company member of Kent’s pre-professional dance company, the Kent Dance Ensemble. As a Kent Dance major, she performed in faculty and student choreographed concerts since her freshman year and performed in the American College Dance Association’s adjudication concerts and informal concert. She has studied with numerous individuals, most notably Garth Fagan and River North Dance Chicago. During her tenure at Kent State, she worked with various choreographers during residencies for the Kent Dance Ensemble. Her awards include The Xavier Atienza Dance Scholarship, The Eugenia v. Erdmann Award in Dance, the Kent Dance Ensemble Guest Artist Honor Award, Outstanding Service to the Dance Division, Outstanding Achievement in Growth and Development, The May O’Donnell Memorial Award, and The L. Leroy Cowperthwaite Scholarship. Miranda is thrilled to be back with her dance family sharing her love for dance as an art form with her students and peers. 

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© Dianna Durkin Dance Studio 2007