Brittany Barker has danced with Straub Dance Center since she was just a three year old in pre-dance. Brittany was an award winning member of Straub’s Performing Arts Company (PAC) for nine consecutive years. She won top overalls competing as a soloist and received 2nd runner-up in the Miss Dance KAR title competition. Brittany also was a member of the Westerville Ballet Company where she held lead roles in the Company’s performances of “The Nutcracker”. Brittany currently teaches at Straub Dance Center and is a valuable member of the office staff. She is passionate about dance and the benefits that children gain from dancing. Brittany strives to give her dancers memories of Straub Dance Center that are similar to hers. Brittany’s memories are those of absolute happiness and fun, and the friendships she made at Straub are lifelong. Brittany is a current student at The Ohio State University and is working toward a degree in early childhood education.
Ohio native, Drew Burgess made his industry debut on "Live with Regis" during Amazing Kids Week. Upon relocating to California, he trained at L.A.'s best studios including EDGE, Millennium, Fusion and the PAC Annex. Drew is highly sough after as a performer, choreographer, guest teacher, dance supervisor and dance captain. Drew has been on adjudication panels for NexStar, Headliners, American Dance Awards, Dance Educators of America and 10 different regional DMA chapters. A former, competitor himself, Drew's titles include Mater, Junior and Teen Mr. Dance of Ohio as well as Jr. Mr. and Mr. Dance of America. Drew is certified by test to teach in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Acrobatics through Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America, is an active member in both organizations, and often serves as a member teacher on their faculty.
Drew's passion for dance circles the globe with platform convention classes, performances and choreography, year-round. His corporate and live entertainment credits include: GMC, Nestle, Reebok and American Greetings with Taylor Swift. Drew's students have accolades including: Teen Miss Dance of America, Male Dancer of the Year, Miss Dance of Ohio and Mr. Dance of America. Drew's national choreography merits include the Sherry Gold Memorial Choreography Award at DMA and Best Group Choreogropahy at NexStar. in 2016, Drew was the choreographer of three out of eight titleists for Ohio Dance Masters, and also the newest Mr. Dance of America, 2017. Drew has also toured worldwide with Rasta Thomas' Bad Boys of Dance as a Wing in "ROCK the Ballet" and "Romeo & Juliet". Drew is thrilled to call Straub Dance Center his home beginning in the fall of 2016 where he will be teaching technical classwork as well as choreography for PAC routines.
Laura Chapin started dancing at the age of 3 and has been formerly trained in ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, contemporary, modern and hip hop. She particularly enjoys the discipline of ballet and, as a student took pride in being proficient in the technical aspects of the genre. As an instructor, Laura focuses her students on becoming technical dancers. Laura performed as a member of Straub's Performing Arts Company for nine years prior to graduating and placed first overall many times during those nine years with line and small group dances. As a soloist, Laura was always among the highest placed finishes with a top overall in her senior year. She won numerous scholarship awards through Dance Masters of Ohio. Laura performed with the "Nutcracker" as a party child in 2005, as Chinese back-up in 2007 and as Mouse King, a snowflake and the Rose in 2012. Laura started assisting Suzy Straub at the age of 13 and is beginning her fourth year of teaching at Straub Dance Center. Laura is attending The Ohio State University and is pursuing a business degree.
Ali began dancing at Straub Dance Center when she was three years old. At the age of six, she joined the Performing Arts Company (PAC) and she continued to grow into an outstanding dancer through competing in Senior Tap, Jazz and Ballet lines and groups. Ali competed as a soloist in lyrical and, her favorite, tap. Ali also studied pointe and performed with The Westerville Ballet Company in The Nutcracker. Ali has been a teaching assistant since she was 13 years old, and began teaching her own classes the fall of 2010. She currently teaches many different levels at Straub Dance Center. Ali is majoring in medical dietetics at The Ohio State University with a minor in dance. She trained with Sheila Barker at Broadway Dance Center in New York City and trained at Radio City with the Rockette summer intensive program. Ali also danced with the University of Akron dance company where she learned from Cydney Sphon, Maryann Black and Pauline Howe. She is in the Club Dance Connections program at OSU where she is able to perform and choreograph routines. Ali is excited to again be teaching at Straub Dance Center alongside the Straub family and instructors who trained her for more than 15 years.
McKenzie McGrath has been dancing at Straub Dance Center since the age of two as a baby dancer. McKenzie joined the Performing Arts Company at Straub when she was eight years old, and will be a Freshman at The Ohio State University this year studying finance and pursuing a dance minor. She won many first overalls as a soloist, was crowned Miss Dance of Ohio for 2017 and was named the Distinguished Young Woman of Ohio for 2017. McKenzie aspires to be a Radio City Rockette and has made it through all eight rounds of their auditions twice. She looks forward to helping another generation of Straub Dancers achieve their dance goals with a focus on technique.
Heather Podracky began dancing at Straub Dance Center at the age of five. She is trained in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and pointe. Heather competed as a member of many award-winning dance lines and groups as a member of the Straub Performing Arts Company. She also competed as a soloist for many years. Heather is a graduate of The Ohio State University where she was a varsity cheerleader for four years. Heather began teaching at Straub Dance Center 15 years ago and currently has two young daughters who are members of the Performing Arts Company. Heather primarily teaches tap and jazz at Straub Dance Center and the Center is thrilled to have Heather remain a part of the Straub family as a teacher and PAC dance mom.
Hannah Sabedra is a current senior at Westerville Central High School. She has been dancing at Straub Dance Center since the age of 4 and joined the Performing Arts Center when she was 7. Hannah started as a classroom assistant in recital classes and when she was 10 began assisting with the younger PAC classes. In 2016, as a junior, Mrs. Straub gave Hannah her first tap class to teach because of Hannah's sweet demeanor and incredible tap talent. She followed that up with teaching three classes in the baby room over the summer. Hannah loves dance and her dance family. She considers Straub her second home and wants to share that experience with others.
Lynn Slomsky has been teaching at Straub Dance Center for more than ten years and specializes in instruction for dancers ages two to six. Lynn started her Straub career as a dance mom and traveled the country for with daughter, Alexa and the Straub Performing Arts Company. Lynn is a hit with the young students and dancer parents because of her fun demeanor. She teaches baby dance, pre-dance, creative dance and beginning tap. Lynn looks forward to another year of educating the youngest Straub dancers!
Steffi Thomas was born and raised in England and trained at the Central School of Ballet in London. Steffi has worked and performed with the English National Ballet, the Scottish Ballet, the Cork City Ballet, the Peter Schaufuss Ballet and The National Ballet of Ireland. A few of Steffi’s other credits include dancing for the Queen at the Royal Variety show, performing in Shanghai China and Kazakhstan and performing at many corporate events such as The Discovery Channel, Bvlgari, Audi, Honda and Jaguar. Steffi is also a Pilates instructor and has taught ballet, jazz street dance and Pilates in several different dance schools in England and Ireland. Now in Columbus, Steffi is looking forward to teaching technical ballet at Straub Dance Center.