Carole Straub, Director, (pictured with grandchildren, Liam and Caroline) has been mentoring dancers since 1967 and believes “the proof is in the pudding.” Her passion for dance and love of children led her into this business, where she believes in providing opportunity and encouragement for each student based on desire, ability and effort. She has an awareness and concern for each and every student and believes in finding the best possible teachers to develop proper technique in a quality environment. Carole feels that details and technique are the hallmark of Straub Dance Center and she is very proud of the staff she has assembled. Her skills and tenacity have landed some dancers with professional and semi-professional performances including 15 students appearing in a Professional Summer Stock Production as well as the Straub Dancers providing (ala Rockettes) a dance line for the Ohio Theatre’s Summer Movie Series, movie premiers of “That’s Entertainment”, as well as performances at Wendy’s International, Busch Corporate Center, Columbus Blue Jackets, United Way, Veterans Memorial Grand Celebration and many more special events, including local charities and nursing homes performances. The Performing Arts Company only goes to quality competitions, as Straub believes you “soar with the eagles or drown with the ducks.” She also is heavily involved in the community, and is actively involved with the St. Paul’s Catholic Church, Westerville Ballet Company and WARM (the Westerville Area Resource Ministry and Food Pantry). She is a generous contributor to many, if not all, animal rights organizations. Carole Straub is the proud mother of five, grandmother of ten, great-grandmother of seven and “stand in” mother, mentor and grandmother to many. She resides in Westerville and is very active in the Westerville Community.
Suzy Straub, Artistic Director and Instructor, has been passionate about dancing since she was a little girl. She loves teaching and her commitment is demonstrated by the achievements of her students. She has had Top Overall Winners in the State for many years and has had many National Champions including the Top Junior Line in the Nation nine different years. Suzy also has received Top Choreography Awards from Dance Masters of America, KAR, Showbiz, American Dance Awards, Ohio Dance Masters and On Stage America. Suzy has trained and coached many award-winning and recognized dancers, including four Radio City Rockettes, several in Broadway shows, three dancers who toured in 42nd Street and numerous title winners. Another student performed in Germany as well as Ariel in Tokyo’s Disney. This past December she went to NYC to see her former students performing professionally. Barbara Jo Bednarczuk was appearing in Broadway’s “My Fair Lady”, Beth Johnson was Mona in Broadway’s “Chicago”, and McKenzie McGrath was a new Rockette. Suzy is a graduate of The Ohio State University, Certified by Dance Masters of America in tap, ballet and jazz and was certified in Ballet by the Cecchetti Council of America. She has taught and judged for Dance Masters as well as other National Competitions all over the country and also has been the Choreographer for the Miss Ohio Scholarship Pageant and many other events. Suzy lives in Westerville with her husband, Bill Kiefaber and their two children, and is actively involved in the community.
PAC Choreographer and Instructor
Melynda Straub Lott was a founding teacher at Straub Dance Center having trained in all forms of dance since the age of five. When she was 10, Melynda became a Junior Dancer with Columbus’ “Christopher Ballet Company” and at 12 she was an apprentice at the Columbus Civic Ballet (the forerunner of Ballet Met). By the summer she turned 16, she auditioned for Professional Theatre and became a member of the professional theater union “Actor’s Equity”. For seven summers, while going to school and teaching dance, she performed all over the country with Juliet Prowse, Tommy Tune, Robert Horton, Florence Henderson and many other stars. Randy Skinner, famous Broadway Choreographer, was Melynda’s dance partner in his first professional show, “Pajama Game”. Melynda and the dance center has maintained a friendship with Randy and Randy has taught master classes at Straub Dance Center. Randy has hired several Straub dancers to dance in professional theater. Melynda was certified in Cecchetti Ballet and by Dance Masters of America. Melynda has studied with many great master teachers through the years, notably, Duard Farquhar, Russian Tatiana and Deitzi Nagy. Melynda’s daughter, Christy, teaches at Straub Dance Center as one of Straub’s Performing Arts Company instructors and choreographer. Melynda has four grandchildren that she adores: Alex, Sofie, Cooper, and Jaycee and also is a fantastic Aunt “Nena” to all of her nephews and nieces. Melynda resides in Westerville and is very active with St. Paul's Church in Westerville.
PAC Choreographer and Instructor
Christy Lott Weigand (pictured with son, Cooper) is one of Straub Dance Center’s primary teachers and is an outstanding asset for the studio. Christy is the granddaughter of Director, Carole Straub. She is a former Pre-Teen Miss Dance of Ohio, Teen Miss Dance of Ohio and Miss Dance of Ohio. Christy studied with the Kirov Ballet and received a dance scholarship to Wright State University. She was also a member of the Dayton Ballet Junior Company. Christy teaches tap, pre-jazz and jazz, pre-ballet and ballet, contemporary and hip hop and is one of Straub Dance Center's outstanding Performing Arts Company instructors and choreographers. A teacher at Straub nearly 20 years, Christy is a favorite among the students. Her PAC routines have received her and her dancers state and national recognition. Christy and her husband, Rick, reside in Westerville with their son, Cooper who takes tap and hip hop classes at Straub and Baby Jaycee who was born in 2020.
Instructor and Office Staff
Ann Boyd has been a member of the Straub Dance Center family since 1978. She studied ballet, tap and jazz with the Center and competed with the Performing Arts Company. In 1989, Ann started teaching classes at Straub Dance Center and continues to support the Center as a member of the office staff. She is a graduate from The Ohio State University and a very distinguished business professional in Central Ohio. Often considered a daughter to Mrs. Straub, Ann is very much so family to the Straubs. Ann is a dance instructor and manages student accounts and more through the office.
PAC Choreographer and Instructor
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 Master, 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 Choreography at NexStar. In 2016, Drew was the choreographer of three out of eight title contestants for Ohio Dance Masters, and 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 since 2016 where he teaches technical classwork as well as choreography for PAC routines.
Tara (Bennett) Leskovac started dancing with Straub Dance Center at the age of three. Tara was trained primarily by Suzy Straub in the fields of tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and pointe. She traveled the country as a member of the prestigious “Performing Arts Company” where she and her teammates won many State and National awards and recognition. Tara has taught tap, jazz and early-childhood classes at Straub Dance Center. Tara is married with two beautiful children, Cohen and Zoey, both of whom are proud Straub Dancers! Tara is thankful for everything she learned during her years of dancing at Straub and couldn’t imagine her own children dancing anywhere else. Tara graduated from Otterbein and is employed by Aetna. Tara resides in Sunbury and enjoys spending time with her family and friends, attending her kid's sporting events and volunteering at their school.
Lynn Slomsky has been teaching at Straub Dance Center for more than 14 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 her 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!
Diana Trigg started working at Straub Dance Center in 2014, but has been a part of the Straub community since her daughter, Tara, who is now an adult, was three years old. She also has an accomplished adult son, TJ. Diana was employed over twenty years in the sales field and for several years in the office of a Westerville, Ohio physician. Her pastimes include gardening, history, and genealogy, photography and fundraising, cooking for her family and attending artistic events in the city of Westerville, where she resides. Diana traveled the country with Straub Dance Center and has always enjoyed the incredible talent and kindness of all of the competitors. She has never missed a Straub dance recital and loves watching the youngest of dancers to the astounding PAC performers shining on stage. Diana currently serves as an office staff member at Straub Dance Center (alongside her daughter, Tara) and is happy to provide great customer service to the Straub families, friends and dance students.
Tara Trigg started dancing with Straub Dance Center at the age of three. More than 30 years later she is proud to still be a part of the Straub family (and working with her mom, Diana). Tara was trained primarily by Suzy Straub in the fields of tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical and pointe. She traveled the country as a member of the prestigious “Performing Arts Company” where she and her teammates won many State and National awards and recognition. One of the memories she cherishes the most is when her tap group, the "Rhythm Babies" was cast to perform in Walt Disney World during the summer of 1997. Tara has taught tap, jazz and early-childhood classes at Straub Dance Center. Nothing brings her more joy than sharing her love of dance, especially tap, with children in the Westerville Community. Tara holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from Otterbein and is employed in local government. Tara knows that there is no other dance studio in Ohio that provides the technical training in a family-friendly and loving environment than Straub Dance Center. Tara and many of Straub’s teachers are proof that dance teaches much more than just steps; Tara credits her confidence, time-management skills and poise to Carole and Suzy Straub. Tara resides in Westerville and is an active volunteer in the Westerville and Central Ohio Communities.