Our faculty of teaching artists are trained in the Company’s specific integrated technique to work with students of all ability levels. They are experienced in working with students who use mobility assistance equipment, such as manual and powered wheelchairs, crutches, braces, and walkers. They are also experienced in working with students who have a variety of various cognitive and emotional capacity levels. We strive to keep all classes integrated and pride ourselves in never turning down a student based on ability level or economic status.
Director of Outreach & Community Engagement, Teaching Artist – Sara Lawrence-Sucato hails from Columbus, OH. She graduated with Honors and a degree in Dance Teaching and Choreography from Mercyhurst University (Erie, PA). She has had ten seasons being a professional dancer with The Dancing Wheels Company where she is also the company’s Tour Manager and a company class instructor. In an outreach capacity, Sara has taught residencies, workshops, and master classes for Dancing Wheels. Her most recent teaching opportunities have been with the Adult Summer Dance Workshop 2015; residencies with Laurel School, Old Trail School, and Oliver H. Perry School in the Cleveland area; and master classes at Ohio University (Athens, OH), Edinboro University (Edinboro, PA), and Oglebay Institute (Wheeling, WV). Sara has performed works by Nai Ni Chen, Christopher Fleming, Stuart Pimsler, Robert Wesner, as well as renowned choreographers Donald McKayle and Dianne McIntyre. Sara teaches at several local dance studios and her most recent choreographic credits include “Revolutions” (2012) for The Dancing Wheels Company, a piece for “Top Ten” (2015) with The Cleveland Dance Exchange as part of CPT’s DanceWorks, and a 2016 Regional Dance America (RDA) piece “Concerto Impressioniste” for City Ballet of Cleveland.
School Administrator, Teaching Artist – Matthew Bowman began training in dance in 2012 at the Ohio State University. Concurrent with his training at Ohio State, Matthew participated in summer dance training programs at BalletMet Columbus, the American Ballet Theatre in New York City, and a seventeen day study abroad program with OSU Dance in Costa Rica. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance with Honors in the Arts and Distinction in Research in Dance, Matthew spent the following year in Columbus, Ohio on faculty at the BalletMet Dance Academy teaching modern dance, teaching for various studios and dance workshops around the city, and performing freelance with various dance companies. Matthew’s professional experiences include choreographing for Columbus Fashion Week’s Finale Runway Show (2014, 2015, 2017), performing with the Columbus Opera Project, dancing with New Vision Dance Company, Hixon Dance, Carpenter Productions, and premiering Song of the Stars (2016) with Seven Dance Company. In addition to teaching dance, Matthew is a 200 hr Certified Yoga Teacher through the Yoga Alliance, and enjoys integrating yoga and other somatic practices into his dance teaching and training. Matthew is currently in his third season with The Dancing Wheels Company as a company dancer, as well as the social media and archives manager. Initially drawn to Dancing Wheels because it is a teaching-oriented company, the past three seasons have provided ample growth and experience both as a professional performer and teaching artist in dance through tours and lecture demonstration performances.
L. Taylor Ashton
Teaching Artist – L. Taylor Ashton, a dance maker and native of Youngstown, Ohio graduated with honors from Kent State University with a BFA in Dance Performance in 2017. Ashton recently received her MFA in dance from Hollins University in conjunction with the Master of Contemporary Dance Education program at Frankfurt University for Music and Performing Arts in Frankfurt, Germany. Ashton’s current work in process, ataba is a multi-medium performance art piece that is anchored in the migration and displacement of Syrian refugees, drawing on her Syrian heritage and family migration story.
Teaching Artist – Kaitlyn Fabian, a Youngstown, Ohio native, began her formal dance training at age 10 at Ruth’s Dance & Fitness Co. Under the instruction of Ruth Smrek-Balestra, she quickly developed a passion for both teaching and performing. Kaitlyn furthered her dance studies at Youngstown State University where she graduated summa cum laude in 2012 with a B.A. in Dance Management. She was the first student to graduate YSU with this specialized degree and is a recipient of the Kocinski Award, given to an outstanding senior in the dance program. Her studies at YSU, under the direction of Christine Cobb, have provided a solid foundation in dance technique and pedagogy. Kaitlyn has taught a variety of children, teen, and adult level dance and fitness classes in the Youngstown area. She has been on the teaching staff at Ruth’s Dance & Fitness Co. since 2008 and served as the Assistant Artistic Director from 2012-2017. Kaitlyn has also taught ballet, jazz, and modern dance to students in grades 6-12 in the Visual & Performing Arts program at Chaney High School from 2011-2017. Kaitlyn is thrilled to share her love of movement and creative expression with others, and joined The Dancing Wheels Company & School in July 2018.
Andrea Belser McCormick
Teaching Artist – Andrea McCormick is a native of Cleveland with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Studies, minoring in Vocal Music and Dance from Wright State University. Currently, she teaches various dance and theater acting to students of all ages in a variety of theaters and outreach programs, including but not limited to Playhouse Square, Cleveland Play House, Karamu House, DANCEcleveland, and Great Lakes Theatre. Under the stage name Andrea Belser, she also performs as an actor, dancer, and/or singer around Northeast Ohio. You may have last seen her perform as 3/Ensemble in Panther Dancer at Playwrights Local, Sogolon in Sundiata at Talespinner Children’s Theatre, or Valeria in I Call My Brothers at Cleveland Public Theatre. In addition to onstage, Andrea also works backstage as a choreographer, stage manager, or dresser/costume assistant. She has also been awarded 2008 Best Actress in Cleveland and nominated for the same in 2012.
Teaching Artist – Celina Speck, born in Leuggern, Switzerland, started dancing at the age of seven. She trained in contemporary, modern, character, and classical ballet in Switzerland at the School of the Opera Zurich. Celina danced in several productions of the Opera Zurich including “La Sylphide” by Johan Kobborg. She is currently pursuing her Bachelor in Contemporary Dance at the University of the Arts in Zurich where she has danced in works by Itzik Galili, Barak Marshall, Michael Schumacher, Ihsam Rustem and Adrijana Danchevska. During her studies, she was part of the international dance festival “Steps” which toured Switzerland and Germany. Celina’s last year of studies includes the opportunity to take an internship in a professional company and she is very happy to join Dancing Wheels Company & School.
Meredith Aleigha Wells
Teaching Artist – Meredith Wells is a musical theatre artist and writer from Massachusetts. Most recently, Meredith performed her original one-woman musical Dysfunctioning Just Fine at the “My True Colors Festival” in NYC where she received the 2017 Purple Skies Playwright Award. In November 2015, she performed in the workshop production of the new musical Donny Johns, making UMass Amherst history as the first person using a wheelchair to perform in a Mainstage production. Other performing credits include: Cabaret (Emcee), RENT (Maureen), Les Miserables, The Body Project, “Bare with Me”, and West Side Story (Anybody’s). Meredith graduated from University of Massachusetts Amherst where she created her own Bachelor’s Degree with Individualized Concentration (BDIC) in Musical Theatre. She hopes to continue to use the arts as a platform to spread awareness and help Dysautonomia patients and other members of the differently-abled community. Meredith joined The Dancing Wheels Company & School in July 2017.