Dance Ensemble Hosts 12th Annual Dance Festival Sept. 24

Guest choreographers: Teena Marie Custer, Hayley Platt, John Scacchetti, and Heather Taylor-Martin.
Guest choreographers Teena Marie Custer, Hayley Platt, John Scacchetti, and Heather Taylor-Martin.

The Department of Theater and Dance announces the 12th annual Dance Festival presented by the YSU Dance Ensemble 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 24 in Beeghly Center on the YSU campus.

The Festival is a series of master classes geared to anyone age 13 through adult, and will conclude with an informal dance concert by participants and guest artists. The cost is $40 per person or a half-day for $25. Participants may choose from a combination of classes, including Improvisation, Breaking, Contemporary Dance, House Dance, Classic Theater Jazz and Conditioning for Dancers.

A series of classes in ballet, jazz technique, hip hop and contemporary/modern technique for young people ages 9 to 12 that will be taught by YSU dance majors for $7 per class or $25 for all four classes.

Guest artists include choreographers Teena Marie Custer, urban dance artist from Pittsburgh, Pa.; Hayley Platt, YSU graduate, dance artist and educator in Columbus, Ohio; John Scacchetti, Broadway dance artist; and Heather Taylor-Martin, dancer, teacher, choreographer and fitness instructor from Pittsburgh, Pa.

Custer’s urban dance theater work has been presented at Sadler’s Wells Theater in London, The American Dance Festival, Kelly-Strayhorn Theater, Ford Amphitheater in LA and the American College Dance Festival Gala Concert.  She has also created hip hop dance theater works for over 30 university dance departments around the U.S., and her tv and film credits include BET, MTV’s MADE, the feature film “Leading Ladies,” directed by Erika Randall and “Fathers and Daughters” starring Russell Crowe.

Platt, a native of Warren, Ohio, graduated from Youngstown State University in 2014 with a BA in Dance Management under the direction of Christine Cobb. She was a member and choreographer for the YSU Dance Ensemble and also represented YSU at the American College Dance Association in March of 2014. She has performed with Youngstown Dance Project and Lindsay Renea Dance Theatre before dancing with Oyo II in 2015.  In 2016, Hayley was promoted to the corps in ODC.

Scacchetti has performed on Broadway in the 2001 Revival of 42nd Street, and the 2008 Revival of Gypsy starring Patti LuPone. National Tour credits include 42nd Street, and My Fair Lady directed by Trevor Nunn and choreographed by Matthew Bourne. His class will focus on the Theatre Jazz stylings reminiscent of Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly.  Emphasis is placed on finding the ease and pureness of the movement, musicality and storytelling.  There will be a brief warm up, across the floor progressions focusing on style and a combo.

Taylor-Martin is a dancer, teacher, choreographer, and fitness instructor. She spent much of her dance career performing with the West Virginia Dance Company, where she is now a choreographer. She has also worked for the Kitchen Sink Dance Company in New York City, Attack Theatre, Pittsburgh Opera, PSAHPERD, Dreamer’s Academy, as well as numerous colleges and universities. Currently, she is the owner/operator of Full Life Fitness. Her class will focus on conditioning for dancers and will aim to supply dancers with ways to balance out the repetitive demands of dance training. They will work to promote physical and mental wholeness for fullness of movement through strength exercises.

Participants are advised to bring a bag lunch or money to purchase lunch from nearby restaurants or vending machines. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. in the front (south) lobby of Beeghly Center accessed from Fifth Avenue. Parking is available in the M70 surface lot on Fifth Avenue for a $5 fee payable in cash only.

More information is available by contacting Christine Cobb at 330-941-1896 or The deadline to advance register is Sept. 19.