I am so excited to be returning to MCDA as a teacher after dancing and student teaching under Miss Kelly for three amazing years. I've been dancing for nine years altogether under Donna Rakerd-Converse, Regina Pietraroia, and Kelly Parks. I'm currently pursuing a Marketing degree at the University of Akron, as well as minoring in Dance. My favorite style of dance is modern. When I'm not dancing, I like to spend my time writing and being active out in nature!
Courtney Houdek has been dancing since the age of 3. Growing up she studied under Dee Hillier, Jennifer Naso Marinis, Kathie Nejman, and Dana Soroczak and has trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, pointe, character jazz, lyrical and pom. She has taken dance classes from Broadway Dance Center in NYC. She attended Brunswick High School and performed with their dance team all four years. She then graduated from Kent State University in May 2019 with a B.A. in Applied Communication. While at Kent State, she was a member of the Kent State University Dance Team and competed at the National Dance Alliance in Daytona Beach, Florida. Her junior year, the team made Kent State history by making it to finals for the first time! Courtney currently dances for the Cleveland Indians Strikers and trains with the Cleveland Dance Project. She attends as many masterclasses around the area as she can and she is excited to share her passion for dance with her students.
Kelly Parks is the Owner/Director of MCDA and the Artistic Director for Trinity Dance! She has been training dancers for over 35 years. She has a B.A in Dance Management from Baldwin Wallace University and a Masters in Art Administration from Akron University. Kelly and is a member of the National Dance Association, the International Dance Entrepreneurs Association, and the National Dance Education Organization.
She serves the community through involvement with Leadership Medina County Signature Class of '20 and by serving on the board of directors for Main Street Medina. Miss Kelly is also the Dance Moderator for Padua Franciscan High School and an Adjunct Professor at Baldwin Wallace University.
Kelly and her husband Scott of 29 years have adult 3 daughters, and they are all active in dance and theatre arts.
"I truly believe it is a privilege to share dance education with each of my students. I love watching them grow, achieve their goals, and succeed in school, community, and DANCE! "
Miss Diana has studied dance since the age of three and has over 40 years of teaching experience. Diana was a dance studio owner for over 25 years. She is currently on the board of directors for the Ohio Chapter of Dance Masters of America and manages their yearly scholarship competition.
Diana has choreographed countless recitals and competitive routines. She choreographed the tap numbers in “Singin’ in The Rain” for the Strongsville Middle School. She is currently the Tap Choreographer for the Cleveland Dance Project Season 6.5. In addition, Diana has judged various dance competitions and auditions.
Diana is certified to teach Tap, Jazz, Ballet, and Acrobatics from Dance Masters of America. She continues her training each summer by taking Master Classes. In the past, she has taken master classes with such notables as Sandman Sims and Savion Glover for Tap, Stepp Stewart, Steven Boyd, Bob Rizzo for Jazz, and Rennie Davis for Hip-Hop. Diana has a BA degree from Cleveland State University and performed in college showcases.
Diana’s desire is to keep Tap relevant and fun.
Chelsea Spencehas been dancing since the age of 3, and has studied ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and contemporary. She graduated summa cum laude from Anderson University in Indiana in 2014, obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Dance Business and a minor in Marketing. During those four years, she performed in faculty shows and choreographed for student performances as well as taking her choreography to the American College Dance Festival in Chicago. She completed a summer internship with Ad Deum Dance Company in Houston in 2013, organizing their summer intensives. Since graduating in 2014, she has worked in studio management and administration and taught classes in contemporary, jazz, tap, and ballet. Chelsea is an active teacher & choreographer here at MCDA and she is also our office manager.
Mary Quigley and her husband, Kevin have loved living in Medina for over thirty-five years. They are proud of their three adult daughters and four perfectly wonderful grandchildren. Mary studied dance as a Ford Foundation Scholar under Alex Martin and performed with the Cleveland Ballet Guild and Oakland Ballet. She has taught for more than twenty -five years in Northeast Ohio at various studios, the last fifteen at MCDA teaching ballet technique, pointe, and most recently coaching dancers for the Youth American Grand Prix Competition. She appreciates the high quality of dancing balanced with the fun atmosphere at MCDA!
Heather Knighton began her dance training at the age of three. She competed for eight years in countless Regional Competitions, 7 National Competitions, and 1 International competition where she placed 3rd Overall for her classical ballet solo. Mrs. Knighton was invited to dance at the NFL Pro Bowl in Hawaii in 1997. She won the right to represent Columbus, Ohio as a member of the “I love Dance Junior Sweetheart Touring Ensemble.” Heather also received a scholarship to attend the Joffrey School of Ballet summer intensive and a scholarship to attend the Kirov Ballet Academy summer intensive. Mrs. Knighton is a Graduate of The Dance Institute of The University Of Akron. She was placed in the advanced level and received her first college credit at the age of 12 while performing with the University of Akron Dance Company (UADC). She continued performing in leading and soloist roles with the company throughout college. Heather performed the role of “Tea” with the Pennsylvania Ballet and “Arabian” with the Moscow Ballet of Russia, in their productions of “The Nutcracker.” Mrs. Knighton has been teaching for the past 15 years all across Northeast Ohio. She has choreographed for Regional and National Dance Competitions and for Theatre 8:15’s Halloween Show, Broadway Show, and Christmas Show productions. In 2011, her choreography won the “Living Art Award." Heather loves being able to share her passion for dance with her students in hopes that they will learn lifelong lessons and enjoy dancing as much as she does.
Jennifer Hilvert is new to Medina, coming from the Northern Kentucky, Cincinnati area. She began dancing at a young age and has been a dance instructor for 28 years. Jennifer was studio trained and has a minor in dance from Northern Kentucky University. Throughout the years, she has supplemented her training with numerous programs and conventions. During college, Jennifer danced with the Theater/Dance Troupe. She has worked with numerous college and high school dance teams, and was the head dance coach and choreographer for the Northern Kentucky University Norse Dance Team for 19 years. She also has experience choreographing musicals for high schools and has been a guest instructor at studios across the Midwest. Her choreography has won awards for creativity and most entertaining. For several years, she worked with a professional organization performing at concerts and special events, and judging several national dance competitions.