Featuring DDD Alumni: Dancing and Beyond (Part 4)

Lisa Parsons Alumni, Education 0 Comments

This is the fourth 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.

Brooke Abell, Class of 2016

Brooke began her college career at Western Michigan University as a Dance major, but half way through her first semester had a serious foot injury resulting in her having to take a break from dance.  With the injury, Brooke transferred to Mid Michigan Community College and is entering her junior year.  Her intent is to be a Physical Therapist Assistant.

Brooke is currently teaching dance classes at DDD.  The 2016-2017 season was her first year teaching and she taught 9 recital classes of all ages and genres.  This year Brooke was offered the opportunity to teach for the 2017-2018 Elite Team.

Brooke says, “I have a passion for dance, but since my injury I have not been able to dance the same.  Being able to work at DuHadway, teach children dance, and now work for the Elite team has been my dream since I was on the Elite team.  DDD has given me the confidence to not only teach, but to step out of my comfort zone with my choreography. It is the one place where I can be me and express myself with the art of dance.  I am so thankful to have the opportunity to inspire and boost the confidence of the other dancers at the studio.  Jillian and Rob have been my second family for years and I am so happy I get to work side by side with them!”

Sara Evitts, Class of 2004

After graduating high school, Sara danced at Alma College for a year before pursuing her Special Education degree at Central Michigan University.  Today, Sara is a first grade teacher at Luce Road Elementary school in Alma.

Sara began dancing at the age of 3 when the studio was owned by Linda Lee.  When Jillian and Rob bought the studio, Sara became a member of the FIRST Elite team.

Sara says, “I loved dance from the moment I started. For me, dance was always my passion and still plays a role in my life.  My daughter, age 5, is now dancing and tumbles at DDD . It’s amazing the confidence that dance has given her. I am very proud of DDD and how the studio has transformed over the years.”

Cassi Snyder, Class of 2007

Cassi Snyder started dancing at DDD in 1993 when she was 4 years old. She was also a teacher at Duhadway from 2006 to 2011. Cassi taught and was part of the Elite artistic team while getting a degree in Biology at Alma College. She then attended Michigan State University for veterinary school, graduating in 2015. She moved to Portland, Oregon with her long-term boyfriend (and former guy/girl partner!) after graduation where she has been a small animal veterinarian ever since.

Cassie says, “Those 18 years at DDD hold some of my fondest memories. The friendships I made through the studio have kept me connected to some of the most amazing women I know today. There is a sense of discipline, confidence, and grace that I don’t think I could have cultivated anywhere else – and those are all qualities that help attain success down any life path. I cherish my time there as a student, but what I didn’t expect was the impact that teaching has had on my life. Watching my students go from tiny, goofy little babies to graceful, gorgeous, and strong young women has been nothing short of amazing. Even after being away from the studio for several years, a huge part of my heart still lives there, and I think it always will.”

Cassi pictured with her little sister

Alyssa Troyer, Class of  2005

Alyssa graduated in 2011 from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor’s degree in English.  She moved to Traverse City in the summer of 2014, and married Matt that September.  In December of 2016, her son Noah was born. Currently, Alyssa is working at Chemical Bank and raising her son.

Alyssa says, “Both dancing and working at DuHadway Dance Dimensions has given me such a deep passion for ballet. I am grateful to Jillian and all of my teachers for gifting me with their passion and knowledge of dance. It is something I know I will always carry with me. Being a part of DDD was like having a safe place away from the often crazy world. The second I was in the studio, either dancing or teaching, I could just be at peace and do what I loved. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to teach all of the fantastic students I had throughout the years. Sharing my passion with them is beyond words. There really is no greater joy.”

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

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

To read Dancing and Beyond (Part 3), 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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