The teachers at the Fort Wayne School of Dance are the greatest. To learn more about a teacher, click on that teacher's name...

Amy Carsten
Mary Gagnon
Becky Hall
Leah VanCleave
Leslie Machmut
Lacy Smith
Kirsten Allman

 

Amy Carsten

I am the owner and director of the Fort Wayne School of Dance since July 2002. My husband, Jeff and I purchased the FWSD from Nancy McKaig in which she owned the studio for over 30 years. I have been in the dance world since I was 19 years of age and love every minute of it. I was an instructor for FWSD and from there I developed and instructed the Intro to Jazz class at the University of Saint Francis. I developed the University of Saint Francis Dance Team and was the Head Dance Coach for five years. Jeff and I currently have five children and our three oldest are all active in the studio. FWSD has been our family and our home for the last five years.


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Mary Gagnon

Mary

Hi. My name is Miss Mary. I was introduced to my first pair of tap and ballet shoes at the age of 4, and danced my way all through high school. In 1990, I was bitten by the “dance bug” again, after enrolling in an adult jazz class at the Fort Wayne School of Dance, where my daughter was already taking classes. Two years later, I had the opportunity to get back into tap, my true passion, and in 1995, I was invited to teach my first class. Since then, I have had the joy of sharing my love of dance with students of all ages. On a personal note, I grew up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and graduated from Northern Michigan University with a degree in elementary education. In 1977, I married my wonderful hubby Don, and we’ve called Fort Wayne our home since 1982. We have two grown children (Christina and Matthew), a beautiful grandson (Dillon), and two lovable golden retrievers (Libby and Chloe).

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Becky Hall

I began dance in Jr. High and continued through high school. I then came to the Fort Wayne School of Dance in 1984 as a student. I started teaching in 1986, and I have taught all ages and styles of dance since then. I married my husband Eric in 1989. After a move approximately 1 hour away and the birth of our first child I left the Fort Wayne School of Dance in1994. I then began teaching at Elaine's dance studio in Ligonier, IN. We moved back to Fort Wayne in 1997 and after the birth of our second child, I resumed teaching at the Fort Wayne School of Dance in 1998. I have been there ever since, and have added child number 3 to our family. I've participated in many dance conventions in Chicago, Indianapolis & Cincinnati. I've also judged many talent competitions and coached cheerleading. I'm excited to have been a part of the Fort Wayne School of Dance for so long and continuing into the future.

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Leah Van Cleave

My name is Leah VanCleave. I'm a dance instructor and a hair stylist. I started dancing at age three with Fort Wayne School of Dance. I danced at North Side High School and taught for 4 years, received studio dancer of the year, the Amy Bass award, and the choreographers award in 2000-2001. In 2001-2002 I danced and choreographed for University of Saint Francis. Since then I have taught at various schools and workshops around Indiana and Ohio. Since 2002 I have taught at FWSD and have loved every minutes of it! It's a wonderful place to be!

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Leslie Machmut

Leslie Machmut has spent the last 35 years of her life either performing, teaching or choreographing dance. Raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana, she grew up training under Jordan Bower at the Jordan K. Dance Studio. After 17 years, Ms. Bowers decided to sell her studio and Leslie was fortunate enough to buy it from her in1994. Leslie then started to live out her life-long dream. She changed the studio name to L.A. Dance and owned the studio for 13 years. Leslie was very passionate about educating her dancers and led them to many regional and national awards.

In 1997 she also co-founded Dance Relief dance competition. She pursued that dream as well, as it was considered to be one of the best dance competitions in Northern Indiana for 10 years.

Leslie relocated to Indianapolis and worked for Sugar and Bruno, a high fashion dance apparel company as a custom sales representative. She also got to share her passion for teaching at two well-known studios called Turning Pointe Studio of Dance and Expressenz Dance Center.

She has made her way back to Fort Wayne and is still heavily involved in the dance community. She now teaches at Fort Wayne School of Dance and Premiere Dance Company and is a guest teacher to various studios in Fort Wayne. She also works from home as a custom sales representative for a dance apparel line called Moving Props.

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Lacy Smith

Hi everyone! My name is Lacy Smith and I started dancing at Fort Wayne School of Dance when I was 3 years old and have been dancing ever since. I have trained with the New American Youth Ballet, North Side Dance, and went to Alonzo King LINES Ballet summer program for two years. I do various styles of dance including lyrical, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, ballet, and tap. I have co-directed for Memorial Park’s Dance Team and taught for North Side’s Dance 4 and Dance Kid’s Jazz. In college, I plan to double major in dance and radiography and someday move to my dream state of California where I will work in a hospital by day and dance my heart out by night. I love Fort Wayne School of Dance with all my heart and I am so excited to share it with my students!

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Kirsten Allman

Kirsten Allman began dancing at the age of 6. In 2008 she graduated from New American Youth Ballet and Conservatory at the age of 17. For the 2008/2009 season she was accepted into the professional division at the Pacific Northwest Ballet and moved to Seattle to live out her dream. As part of the Pacific Northwest Ballet she preformed on stage in their nutcracker and other works. In the 2009/2010 season she was in the Louisville Ballet company and preformed in Swan Lake, nutcracker and other works. She has also attended various summer programs some on scholarship. Some of these summer programs include, the Pacific Northwest ballet for 5 summers, Pittsburgh Ballet theater, Orlando Ballet, Miami city Ballet, and the Rock school. Most recently she has spent the last three summers as a residence counselor at the Pacific Northwest ballet. As a residence counselor she has the opportunity to take and watch class at the Pacific Northwest Ballet, and this allows her to bring some of this prestigious ballet companies expertise back to the Fort Wayne community. She has also spent the last three years teaching at Diva Danceworks by Amber, and more recently at New American Youth Ballet. She is also a full time student at IPFW working for her undergraduate heading towards her doctorate in physical therapy.

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