Dance Classes in Palm Harbor, FL
Diana Griffin founded Fusion Dance Company in 2005 under the company name, Dance Evolutions. Her love for children coupled with her passion for ballet has created dancers that have moved on professionally to the Joffrey Ballet, The Miami City Ballet and even to the world famous Rockettes summer program.
Miss Diana and her instructors have been responsible for helping numerous dancers get into colleges all over the U.S. on scholarship, attend world-renowned summer programs and land teaching and other jobs in the professional industry. She and her staff pride themselves on teaching perfect technique while providing an individualized dance experience for all ages and abilities.
Meet The Director – Diana Griffin
Diana’s talent and ambition as a performer lead her to receive a full scholarship to Florida School of the Arts where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in dance. Following graduation, she moved to Orlando and danced professionally with Southern Ballet Theater from 1993-97. While in Orlando, she was asked to be on faculty with the Southern Ballet Theatre to teach the children and apprentice program. She taught at several schools implementing modern programs and competition teams.
After suffering a back injury, she returned home to the Bay Area and began sharing her education and love for dance locally. Always eager to expand her knowledge and experience as a performer and dance teacher, she began training as a ballroom dancer. She placed in the top 5 in her first ballroom competition style of “American Rhythm,” and held the title for four years. Having accomplished her goal in the ballroom arena, she set her sights on even a larger endeavor, to instill in others the love for dance, the proper education and technique, and their ability to uncover their talent as a dancer – and so Dance Evolutions was born in May of 2005.
Diana’s experience as a student as well as a teacher inspired her to create a space where each student receives individual attention, where their confidence and esteem is nurtured, and their technique and ability is developed. Diana’s unique style of instruction allows the student to learn at their own pace, while receiving the foundations needed to build a strong dancer’s body and a positive mind and spirit. These fundamental concepts unique to the dance world are culminated in Diana’s strong choices in staff, artistic integrity, and dance space. Diana sought out the best floors (State of the Art Omara Sprung Floors) and the best space for a dancer with high ceilings and large studios. These choices helped Diana’s studio grow and allowed her to move into a larger space after only being open for one year. Diana moved all 200 students to an environment conducive to inspiration, long lines of the body, high jumps and lifts.
Diana’s dance company quickly became known as the preparatory school for any dancer seeking a professional education. She’s helped to place several students in a number of prestigious dance programs, including: Florida School of the Arts (on full scholarship), Fordham University NYC, Florida State University’s School of Dance, University of Florida’s Dance Program, P.A.C.E. in NYC , The New School in NYC, SUNY Buffalo Musical Theatre, New York University, Kennesaw State University Dance Program, Oklahoma City University Dance Dept., University Of Santa Cruz Dance Program, and University of Central Florida Dance Program.
Many of Diana’s students have also auditioned and were accepted into the following summer intensives: American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive, Joffery Ballet and Contemporary Summer Intensive, The Rock Summer Intensive, Harrid Conservatory, The Rockette Experience, The New Jersey Dance Project, Miami City Ballet Summer Program, Alvin Ailey’s Summer program, and scholarship students at New York City Dance Alliance and Showstoppers State Dance, and Tribe. Diana also has had students dance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Moscow Ballet Nutcracker, Tampa Bay Ballet Nutcracker (as Clara), and Miami City Ballet’s Nutcracker.
From 2009-13, Diana competed in the professional theatre arts/cabaret division of ballroom dancing. She placed 4th in the Open Theatre Arts Division at the Millennium Dancesport, 3rd in Rising Star, and 7th in Open at the Florida State Dancesport Championships. In 2010, Diana finished 8th in the United States and 9th in the World at the United States Ballroom Dance Championships, took 1st place at the Hollywood Dancesport in California, came in 7th at the Ohio Star Ball and came in 5th at the Open Southeastern States Dancesport. She also won the title for the Professional Rising Star Division.
Diana since has been hired to perform in many professional shows across Florida. She’s been a member of Florida Dance Masters, Certified Zumba Instructor, National Dance Council of America, Tarpon Chamber, BBB, Keep it Local and is currently a member of the Palm Harbor Chamber of Commerce.
Diana has judged for some nationally renowned dance competitions such as Starpower and the U.S. Ambassador Pageant. She is very excited to be able to share her dance education with students and teachers all over the United States! It is an honor to be chosen to judge.
Diana spends time in NYC and continues her education through several classes at Peridance, Alvin Ailey, City Center. She also recently traveled San Francisco and has attended classes at Alonzo King Lines from Kai Davis and LeeWei Chao. Continued education is so important to Miss Diana, so she can always bring the most cutting edge training to your children!
Meet Our Instructors – Lital Gelman
From a very young age Lital has always found herself immersed into the dance world. Growing up in both the commercial and concert scenes, her background and training ranges from styles such as modern, contemporary, and ballet to hip-hop, tap, and jazz. Lital continued to take her dance experience to a more professional level by attending performing arts high school, Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Throughout her experience there, Lital was selected in audition-based pieces working with professional choreographers such as Jennifer Archibald, Christopher Huggins, and Stefanie Batten Bland. During her time there, she was also awarded in choreography, technique, and jazz dance.
Lital has furthered her studies by attending the University of South Florida’s (USF) Dance program, which she had the experience to work and perform choreographic works from faculty and guest choreographers Robert Moses, Christian Denise, Gierre Godley, Michael Foley, and Jeanne Travers. During Lital’s third year of studies, she took her studies to a global perspective by attending the USF Dance in Paris Semester Abroad Program. During her four months travel all across Europe, Lital worked with professionals such as Maurice Causey, Nathalie Pubellier, Heidi Weiss, and Nadine Beaulieu in choreographic workshops.
Lital began to take a deep interest in her own style of dance and choreography during her time at USF. Her very first original choreographic work Trepidation, was not only selected to respresent USF at the American College of Dance Association, but was also chosen to premiere at its final gala performance. Lital continues to choreograph among several dance studios in south Florida and just recenlty concluded her second work Nacham. Shuvb., a solo work, which explores her national background. Following graduation Lital studied in Tel Aviv Israel where she studied GAGA technique, an innovatie movement language based on research into hieightening sensation and imagination, going on familiar limits.
In addition to performance and choreography, Lital continues to find herself drawn into both the commercial and contemporary-ballet world by teaching a variety of dance styles and training with professional companies and artists South Florida.
Meet Our Instructors – Katrina Humbert
Katrina’s love for dance began at the age of two when she took her first ballet class. She danced competitively for 10 years in all styles of dance and in 2006, decided to share her passion with others. Katrina started teaching ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop to students ages 3-10. In 2008, she was one of the original members of a young adult tap performance company called Tapped In, Inc. She pursued a degree in Exceptional Student Education and has taught pre-k through third grade. Katrina believes that every child has the ability to learn and that limits should never be placed on their abilities. She loves teaching our Tiny Top program at Fusion Dance Company and looks forward to working with all of the dancers.
Meet Our Instructors – Kassie Kilpatrick
Kassie grew up in the Tampa Bay area- dancing since the age of two. She attended high school at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts as a Dance Major- where only nine out of a freshman class of forty-five had the honor of graduating. (Her sophomore year she won a tap contest from the hit show “Tap Dogs”, and her senior year she landed her first professional gig as a featured dancer in the independent film, “Farewell, Colette!”).
From there she left to attend college in NYC at Marymount Manhattan College, earning her BFA in Dance with a Modern Dance concentration. She had the privilege of studying with some of New York’s best teachers from Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham Company, Jose Limon Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and the School of American Ballet. She had many roles throughout college but most cherished was being chosen in her freshman year to be a soloist in one of Jose Limon’s most famous choreographic works- “There Is A Time”.
After college Kassie moved out of the world of concert dance and into the world of entertainment! She became a company member of TADAH (Tap, Acting, Dance, and Hip-Hop), which performed in a show called Broadway Underground (under the direction of Jared Grimes). Broadway Underground became a hit show praised by the NY Times and eventually became Capezio’s ad campaign! She also performed for Culture Shock, a hip-hop company and youth outreach program. She toured as a back up dancer for a Canadian boy-band, performed for Radio Disney, in many fashion shows including Marc Jacobs, danced in a series of commercials for the Noggin Network, and many other shows in and around New York City. She choreographed for the Earl Wilson Jr. musical “You’re IT!” Off-Broadway, for Seventeen Magazine and Wal-Mart infomercials, C3 International fashion shows, and at performing arts high schools and studios in the NY, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay areas. In Atlanta she served as Director of Showbiz Kids Dance Company for two years winning numerous 1st place platinum awards, choreography awards, and most entertaining! She instructed group classes as well as private lessons for students ages five to twenty. She has also been an adjudicator for Dance XPlosion and Headliners competition circuits.
Most notably however, in the last few years Kassie was the Assistant Choreographer for Cirque du Soleil’s vaudeville inspired production. She then had the honor of becoming a dancer in the show as well as serving as the Dance Captain. With Cirque du Soleil she staged a performance for America’s Got Talent, was seen in numerous commercials, and danced in the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade! After Cirque she danced for Stiletto Entertainment on board Holland America Cruise Line’s Volendam and Rotterdam, serving as Dance Captain. She then transferred over to Princess Cruise Lines and performed on the Emerald, Royal, and Regal Princess ships in their brand new shows! She has traveled and entertained audiences in over 60 countries and more than anything loves to share her passion and love for dance onstage and in the classroom!
Meet Our Instructors – Michael Luciano
Michael has been teaching ballroom for over 25 years. He teaches both American and International styles of dance. He has competed in pro-am and professional competitions all over the world. Michael works with all age groups, from youth to adults. He started our Junior Ballroom in the summer of 2011, which has become a huge hit at Dance Evolutions. Our kids have performed in showcases and compete in local competitions. Michael and Miss Diana competed in American Rhythm from 2002-07. During that time, they placed in the top 5 in the Southeastern United States. For Michael, teaching is a constant and dynamic process. Teaching children how to interact with one another in a social dance setting or in everyday life, helps them feel more confident with themselves. Mr. Michael is happy to be a part of Fusion Dance Company – he was a part of Dance Evolutions since its inception.
Meet Our Instructors – Jade Burge
Jade is a recent high school graduate of the class of 2017. She began competitive gymnastics when she was five years old. Jade competed in numerous state and national championships each year of her gymnastics career. Her favorite event was floor because of her talent for tumbling. In middle and high school, Jade joined their dance programs. By her senior year, she became the captain of her high school dance team. Currently, she is a part of an International open coed cheerleading team. The team hopes to compete at the world championships for the second year in a row. Jade is also a student. She plans on attending the University of South Florida as a Junior in Fall of 2018. She wants to master in Nursing anesthesia and plans to graduate in Spring 2022.
Meet Our Instructors – Jadene Oquendo
Jadene has been dancing since she was two years old, began competing at the age of eight, and started teaching at age 13 in all different styles of dance. A native of Long Island, NY, she has trained at studios like New York Crystal Ballet, DanceSations, and Kovacs Studio of Dance. She also spent her summer training at the Broadway Dance Center with many special guest artists. Jadene has performed in shows including Ragtime, Annie, Godspell, and Asher Dance Eclectic. She was the vocalist of the year in 2005 and has won Gold with Distinction at NYSSMA. She is part of the Sweet Adelines International. Jadene then moved on to Walt Disney World where she had the opportunity to work with Cirque Du Soleil. She has recently earned a degree in graphic design while continuing to teach recreational and competitive dance where she has received awards for entertainment and choreography. Jadene assists in directing the Fusion Dance Company Competition Team. She specializes in Tap, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Contemporary, and Lyrical.
Meet Our Instructors – Pat Zagers
Pat was born in Indiana and started dancing when she was just four years old. Her dance history began in India and then moved to Michigan, where she founded her own dance studio as a young adult. She’s had dance instruction in tap, ballet, jazz, acrobatics, and clogging. She taught at dance studios in Michigan, and also taught dance to adults at the college level until moving to Florida in 1979. She was very active in gymnastics as her daughters also competed, and became a certified gymnastics judge. Pat then returned to school and earned her Bachelors in Adult Education in the field of Exercise Physiology from the University of South Florida. She is proud to have taken classes with such great names as Buster Cooper and Al Gilbert and more recently has been instructed by well known Master teachers Avi Miller, and Ofer Ben, Dianne walker, Germaine Salsberg, and Jay Fagan. Pat loves children and believes that dance should be a combination of fun and discipline to make the best experience possible. Miss Pat is thrilled to be on faculty at Fusion Dance Company, and taught at Dance Evolutions for six years.