Featuring DDD Alumni: Dancing and Beyond (Part 3)

Lisa Parsons Alumni, Education 0 Comments

This is the third article celebrating 25 years of DDD alumni and their accomplishments in dance and beyond. Alumni are sharing what they have been doing since graduation and how DDD has impacted their lives. The DDD family, past and present, appreciate all of the time, energy and efforts MISS JILLIAN and MR. ROB have given and continue to give to their students.

Thank you to all who contribute to Dancing and Beyond.  Alumni are listed alphabetically as the only rule.

Jessica Araway, Class of 2017

Jessica is entering her freshman year at Alma College where she will be purusing a degree in Political Science.

Jessica danced at DDD for the past 15 years taking classes in tap, jazz and ballet.  Today, she is the smiling face and perfect person for the secretarial position in the DDD office while she attends AC.  She is looking forward to getting to know everyone and becoming a part of the DDD family.  Besides dancing, Jessica loves to draw, watch movies and read.  She is interested in history and pyschology, as she finds people very interesting!

Jessica (left) with Olivia Bitler

Charlie DuHadway, Class of 2014

In 2014 Charlie took a small break from dance and quickly realized dance was what he wanted to do with his life.  He jumped back in head first and quickly immersed himself into the dance world.

Today, Charlie is an instructor at DuHadway Dance Dimensions teaching both tap and hip hop.  His parents own DDD and he believes there is nothing more special than getting to work and share his passion with his family. Charlie also works and travels around the country with Spotlight Dance Cup as a stage manager.

Charlies says, “Working in the competition industry provides me with opportunities to network and meet so many people all over America. Working for Spotlight, connected me with Tap 24.7 from Phoenix, Arizona, a professional tap dance company.”

Because of his connection, in May 2017, Charlie and Jillian performed as part of Unlocking the TAPestry in Arizona. Unlocking the TAPestry was an original tap show created by Tap 24.7’s Artistic Director, Suzy Guarino-Hall. With a cast of 70 dancers, it featured performers from Tap 24.7, special guests Gregg Russell and Tap Sounds Underground, World Tap Dance Champion Kyle Van Newkirk, Kelsey Rose Young and the Detroit Tap Repertoire, and tap dancers all over the country.

Charlie is continuing his professional career in tap with Tap 24.7 and participating in the Young Choreographer’s Challenge at Motor City Tap Fest this August.  Charlie is considered to be an up-and-coming professional in today’s tap industry.

Charlie says, “Dance is an irreplaceable part of my life that started to grow with my family at DDD and I am proud to be an alumni.”

Charlie, Jessie, Maddy

Maddy DuHadway, Class of 2016

Maddy is entering her sophomore year at Grand Valley State University. She is double majoring in Dance and Psychology.  Maddy has had the opportunity to audition for many different pieces and work with amazing guest artists during her freshman year.

Maddy says, “Dancing in college has given me an entirely different perspective and love for dance as an art.  DDD is my family and my home.  I owe all my success to my mom and all my other teachers for helping me grow into the dancer and person I am today.  I never used to be as confident or determined as I am now.  That is all because of the opportunities I have been given through the dance studio.  I hope that everyone who dances at DDD knows how much each dancer means to my family and me.  Dance has never been just a hobby for me.  It has always been my life and I truly do not know where I would be without it.”

Julie Holton, Class of 2009

Julie is a 2013 graduate of Alma College with a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education with minors in Language Arts and Elementary Mathematics.

During her 13 years as a dancer at DDD, Julie had the opportunity to dance with her three younger cousins while she was in high school.  Her family is very important to her and she cherishes the memories of these moments. Upon entering her freshman year of college, Julie subbed at the studio fairly often before filling a position and teaching classes at DDD for the next 6 years. Eventually, Julie had the opportunity to have to her cousin, Hannah Rivard,  in classes over the next four years, which is a special memory in itself.

Today, Julie lives and teaches in rural South Dakota.  While there is not a dance studio anywhere remotely close to where she lives, she still uses her knowledge gained from the studio.  This past year, Julie choreographed their school musical production of Annie.

Julie says, “DuHadway taught me so much more than just dance. Time management, confidence, and even a few classroom management skill that I learned while being part of DDD were critical components in making me the person I am today. (Have you ever tried teaching day one of beginner tap?!) Thank you Rob and Jillian!”

Julie taking her last bow as an instructor at DDD.

Julie with Hannah

Kaitlynn McCrackin, Class of 2012

Kaitlynn graduated in 2016 from Grand Valley State University with a double major in Human Resources and Marketing and a Dance minor.

In college, Katilynn was considering a dance major, but decided after her freshman year to join the competition team, the Laker Dance Team. The Laker Dance Team won back to back National Championships in 2015 and 2016. Kaitlynn also participated in other dance related clubs creating choreography for football and basketball games and different dance groups on campus.  She created choreography for multiple high school dance teams as well.

Today, Kaitlynn works at Dow Chemical in the Human Resources Development program.  She is also in her first year as Assistant Coach for the Alma College Dance Team who recently won 1st in their division and 5th overall at NDA (National Dance Alliance) camp this summer.

Dance has always been a driving passion for Kaitlynn.  She says, “One of my purposes in life is to dance, whether is to help people with dance or to choreograph for people.  Dance taught me to be a good time manager as dance was a priority in my life.  I am thankful to DDD for preparing me to be able to take 20 credits a semester, participate at a high level on a dance team and to hold a job.”

When asked about a memorable moment, Kaitlynn replied, ” Building friendships and comradery with people who have the same passion for dance, training together with your best friends, and then winning with the people you love is the greatest moment.  I was lucky to have this at DDD and with the Laker team in my senior years.  Dance brings people together and builds lifelong relationships.”

Kayla Tabor, Class of 2017

Kayla will be attending AMDA (American Musical and Dramatic Academy) in Los Angeles, California beginning October 2017.  AMDA is a College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts where she will work towards her Bachelor of Fine Arts.  She was also awarded a very large scholarship after auditioning in Sandusky, Ohio!

This summer (July-August 2017), Kayla attended their summer intensive in L.A. and was cast in a music video for Danielle Cohn, who is currently nominated for the top female vocalist for the Teen Choice Awards.  Kayla also had the opportunity to record a demo reel for her solo choreographed by Stacy Paydo.  While at the intensive, Kayla took a class with a professional dancer/teacher from The Edge Performing Arts Center in L.A. (international dance destination), and has been invited to train in his ballet program.

Kayla has been dancing since the age of three, competed for 11 years on the Elite team, and worked for Main Street Dance Company in Stanton during her senior year.  She choreographed a competitive trio at Main Street, which won second overall at their first competition.  Kayla also choreographed an 8-10 year old hip hop routine.  While at DDD, Kayla helped with the tumbling program for the past 4 years.

Kayla says, “DDD built who I am today.  I am a strong, versatile dancer because the teachers and staff pushed me and knew what I needed before I did.  Dance really made me step out of my comfort zone and I learned how to express the feelings I could not say out loud.  I have made a lot of friends and see the DDD family as my family.”

Hannah Zank, Class of 2015

Hannah is attending Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri where she is majoring in Exercise Science. Hannah will be a senior this coming fall and is currently applying to medical school.

While at Truman, dance has continued to be a huge part of her daily life. For the past two years, Hannah has been and continues to be an instructor at The Dance Studio of Kirksville.  She teaches everything from jazz technique classes to advanced ballet to private lessons. Aside from teaching, Hannah also participated in the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated Miss Black and Gold Scholarship Pageant.  Even though this was her first pageant, she credits DDD for giving her the skills to help her succeed.

Hannah says, “Dancing at DDD on the Elite team for eight years prepared me to introduce competition dance at my Kirksville studio. My students compete regionally in St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri. It is truly rewarding to be able to experience something that was such a huge part of my life from a teacher’s perspective. I love being a part of young people’s growth and creativity much like Miss Jillian and the rest of the DDD staff did for me growing up. I know that if it weren’t for DDD I would not be the same confident, outgoing, and strong person I am today. I am forever grateful for not only the years of dance technique, but years of character building, learning responsibility, and time management skills. Being a dancer at DDD truly made me a well rounded individual. I wouldn’t trade my DDD dance family for the world.  I am incredibly grateful Rob and Jillian fostered such great opportunities and friendship for myself and many other young people.”

Addie Zemcik, Class of 2010

Addie is a 2014 graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a double-major in Dance and Psychology, with emphasis on the Pre-Dance Therapy track.

During her time at EMU, Addie struggled with her physical and mental health, but it was her work ethic and drive that got her through.  Addie credits her work ethic and drive from her years at DDD.   As she progressed through university, Addie’s passion for dance shifted from performance and technique to using dance as a platform for healing.

In 2015, Addie moved to Keene, New Hampshire to attend Antioch University New England and pursue a Master’s Degree in Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) and Mental Health Counseling. Addie is now living in Chicago for her 3rd and final year of graduate school and will be working as a DMT intern at a nursing home for dementia care. Her focus will be to develop and lead her own DMT groups and individual sessions with clients.

Upon graduation in May 2018, Addie hopes to find a job working with and advocating for special needs populations and make dance/movement accessible to those who typically wouldn’t get the chance due to physical and/or intellectual challenges.

Addie says, “I am beyond grateful for my years at DDD and the lessons and lifelong friendships built in the studio. I am who I am today because of the love and appreciation of dance that I learned early on at DDD.”

To read Dancing and Beyond (Part 1), click here.

To read Dancing and Beyond (Part 2), click here.

To read Dancing and Beyond (Part 4), click here.

To read Dancing and Beyond (Part 5), click here.

To read Dancing and Beyond (Part 6), click here.

To read Dancing and Beyond (Part 7), click here.


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