Meet our Team

Kara received her early dance training in Akron, Ohio at the Dance Institute at the University of Akron. She went on to study as a full scholarship student at the School of Cleveland Ballet, graduated from the University Of North Carolina School of The Arts, and received her B.A. in Psychology, B.F.A in Dance, and Masters of Arts Administration from the University of Akron. She has performed as a member of The Ohio Ballet, The Eliot Feld Ballet, Long Island Dance Theater, The Washington Opera, Toledo Opera and The Cleveland Opera. Kara is a      full-time faculty member in the School of Dance, Theater, and Arts Administration at the University of Akron where she manages the pre-professional Dance Institute and teaches courses in dance and arts administration. She is the           co-author of Enhancing DECA Protective Factors Through the Arts and Using the Arts to Develop Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Competence (Department of Mental Health) and has written a professional development Teaching Artist training course for The Center for Arts Inspired Learning that is actively in use today by the Ohio Arts Council. Kara was honored to be selected to present her research regarding dance programming and its effect on impulse control capabilities in children with exceptionalities at the national VSA conference at The Kennedy Center. She was recently awarded an Arts Administrator of the Year Award for Summit County, has served as a board member for Summit Arts Space and  NEOS Dance Theater.

Kara Stewart

Executive Director & Founding Artistic Director

Ron, a powerful basso with a rich yet incisive tone, has captivated audiences

with a wide range of musical styles and characterizations for over 30 years.

Ron has appeared with the National Light Opera Company,

Cleveland Opera Theatre, Cleveland Opera, The Ohio Light Opera Company, Carousel Dinner Theatre, and Kenley Players. As a soloist, he has been

featured with The Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Huntington Chamber Orchestra,

The Canton Symphony, The Cleveland Chamber Choir, and

The Cleveland Orchestra. Mr. Hazelett earned his Bachelors Of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Kent State University, and a Masters Of Music Degree in Vocal Performance from Marshall University.  He has served as Music Director for many professional and community theatres including Wright State University Music Theatre Department, Goodyear Theatre, Weathervane Playhouse, Stow Players, Brecksville Little Theatre, Reach Out And Dance (ROAD), and The In School Touring Program at Elizabethtown College. Besides working with ArtSparks, Ron currently teaches voice at The West Side Vocal Academy.

Ron Hazelett 

Founding Music Director &

Musician

Shauna Conzaman was born in Ravenna, Ohio and received most of her dance training at the University of Akron’s Dance Institute. She also received summer training at The Rock School of Pennsylvania Ballet, Joffrey Ballet School, Cleveland Ballet School, and Pittsburgh Youth Ballet. Shauna danced professionally for four seasons with the Ohio Ballet and five seasons with the Eisenhower Dance Ensemble (Michigan’s premiere contemporary dance company). She toured all over the U.S. with these companies and has also guest performed with Groundworks Dance Theatre and Michigan Ballet Theatre. She has been teaching dance in all genres since 1996 and spent six years as the assistant director of Kensington School of the Arts in Michigan. Shauna has been with ArtSparks since it's inception and, besides her passion for her faith and family, ArtSparks' mission for children is a driving force in her life. 

Shauna Conzaman 

Managing Director &

Lead Teaching Artist

Erica graduated summa cum laude from The University of Akron with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelors of Arts in Dance Education. During her time at the university, she had opportunities to perform in works by professionals from The Joffrey Ballet, Ballet Memphis, Hubbard Street Dance, Neos Dance Theatre, and Alexandre Munz's S.A.F.E. Project as well as taking classes from the many companies in residence each year. As an officer of the student dance club, Terpsichore, Erica produced, choreographed, and performed in many student productions. She also traveled to the American College Dance Festival and participated in community events with the Akron Children's Hospital. Erica's passion for quality dance education has led to some amazing experiences. She is a member of the National Dance Education Organization and has attended their national conference. She also attended intensive teacher training with the acclaimed National Dance Institute in New York City. Erica is excited to share her love of dance through ArtSparks!

Erica Piper 

Artistic Director &

Lead Teaching Artist

Simon began studying music at the age of nine when he persuaded his mother to enroll him in piano lessons. A few years later he developed an interest in the guitar and eventually joined several bands as a teenager. After high school he attended Kent State and played piano for their Jazz Ensemble, ultimately graduating with a BS in Mathematics and Biology. Currently, he is the accompanist for Stow Community Church and the drummer for progressive rock band, Crown Kingdom. In his free time, Simon enjoys going on bike rides and playing tennis.

Simon Hunt 

Music Director &

Musician

Egan has been a professional musician, educator, and producer for the past 20 years. He attended the Columbia College in Chicago, IL, and received his bachelor's degree in Music Composition and Performance. Egan is a versatile performer who has worked with multiple nationally touring musical groups and has been involved in a variety of recording and production projects. Currently, he lives in Akron, OH and is closely working with local talent to create a larger platform for the Akron Arts Community.

Egan Ammerman 

Musician

Marquis Brown is a graduate of Barberton High School and has expanded music talents and accomplishments as a pianist. He has been a staple in the local music community for over a decade where he has performed and accompanied in a variety of genres. His musical prowess is exemplified through producing, writing, composing, and directing a multitude of music.   Currently, Marquis is the worship leader at the Greater Galilee Baptist Church in Barberton, Ohio. When he is not busy with his musical schedule he enjoys spending time at home with his wife and three children.

Marquis Brown 

Musician

Jessica Doughty began her dance training at the age of three in her hometown of Norwalk, Ohio. She continued her education at the University of Akron and received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a Business Cognate in 2018. During her time at the university, she performed in many works by faculty, guest, and student choreographers; received training from companies in residence, such as Koresh Dance Company, A.I.M by Kyle Abraham, and GroundWorks DanceTheater; and was introduced to the magic of ArtSparks. She is currently in pursuit of a degree in physical therapy and is beyond honored to be a part of the ArtSparks team!

Jessica Doughty

Teaching Artist 

Alice Duey is a performer, educator, and advocate for strengthening communities through the arts.

 

Her career in entertainment was spent primarily as a supporting lead singer with Holland America Cruise Line and at Walt Disney World as a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Her main roles included Dance Captain for the Magic Kingdom's castle stage holiday show, and Lead Actor of “Disney Jr. Live on Stage.” Alice has performed extensively across the globe, in television productions, and with Universal Orlando.

 

An Akron native, Alice trained under the tutelage of her mentors, Teri Martell, Kelly Berick, and Ron Hazelett. Her shift toward education in the arts was ignited by her intrinsic love for nurturing connection in creative and authentic ways. She is completing her degree in Child and Family Development at the University of Akron and was recently appointed by the Summit County Juvenile Court as a CASA volunteer.

Alice Duey 

Lead Teaching Artist &

Advanced Teams Coordinator

Sophia Fugate is currently a junior at the University of Akron pursuing a BFA in painting and drawing, a BFA in graphic design, and a minor in illustration. She has been dancing since age 4 across many studios including Martell School of Dance where she currently works as a desk manager. She has danced predominantly in ballet and hip hop.

Sophia Fugate

Teaching Artist &

Visual Art Coordinator

Kayla Keys is a senior at The University of Akron and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Accounting with a minor in Dance. She has performed as a member of Ft. Hayes Arts and Academics Dance Ensemble, Marion Franklin High School Red Devil Productions, Southfield Missionary Baptist Church Liturgical Dance, Mime and Step Group, Jelani Dance Ministries, Selah Dance Ministries, University of Akron Dance Program, and UA Terpsichore Dance Club.

During her High School years, many opportunities were obtained from singing and dancing in High School productions of "The Wiz" and "Annie" and the once in a lifetime opportunity to dance at the annual Martin Luther King Breakfast in Columbus, Ohio, which is one of the largest celebrations in the country honoring Dr. King. She also was able to participate in Original pieces created by the students and guest choreographer of the Ft. Hayes High School Dance Ensemble which lead to being invited to The Ohio State University Black History Program.

Kayla has continued to perform on Akron’s campus and has also traveled to and performed at the American College Dance Festival. She started with ArtSparks as a volunteer during the 2018-19 school year. Kayla plans to soon obtain her Certified Public Accountant license and specialize in the Nonprofit industry where she can stay connected to her passions of the arts.

Kayla Keys 

Advanced Teams Assistant

Brittany Medlong is from Independence, Ohio. Her dance training began at the age of 8 at Revolutions Dance Academy under the direction of Lisa and Tricia Bires. She continued her dance training at Baldwin Wallace University where she graduated with a Bachelors of Arts degree in Communication Disorders and Dance. During her time at BWU, she had the opportunity to perform in pieces by Sara Whale and Gregory Daniels. After graduating from BWU, Brittany took on the role of a teaching artist where she taught integrated dance classes throughout Cleveland at The School of Dancing Wheels. She continues to expand her knowledge as a dance instructor by attending conventions and master classes. Brittany is also an instructor at Revolutions Dance Academy. Brittany is honored and looking forward to sharing her passion for dance through ArtSparks!

Brittany Medlong 

Lead Teaching Artist

Allison discovered her love for the art of dance as a child. She continued her education at The University of Akron where she earned her BA in Dance with a Business Cognate. She has performed with The University of Akron Dance Company, Ballet in Cleveland, Denise Nahat's San Jose Ballet production of The Nutcracker at Playhouse Square, Real Edge Dance Company. Allison has taught and choreographed for several studios throughout the State of Ohio, and has been acknowledged for her creative approach to choreography.

Allison Urban 

Lead Teaching Artist &

Marketing/Media Coordinator

Abby Murray is currently a senior at Firestone High School in both the International Baccalaureate program and the Project Lead the Way Engineering Program. She will be studying at the University of Akron next year, pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Corrosion Engineering. She started her dance training at 5 years old at the University of Akron’s Dance Institute. Through this program she has had many opportunities to train and perform with local dance companies like Neos Dance Theatre, Groundworks Dance Theater, and Verb Ballets. In addition to this, she has had the opportunity to be the Snow Maiden, in The Snow Maiden, which was her favorite role she has ever performed. Abby started as a volunteer with ArtSparks in the summer of 2017 and cannot wait to continue to learn and grow with team TNT and XD!

Abby Murray

Advanced Teams Volunteer