Meet our Team
Kara Stewart is a graduate of The University of North Carolina School of the Arts and received her B.A. in Psychology, B.F.A. in Dance, and M.A. in 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 companies.
Kara is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the School of Dance, Theater and Arts Administration at The University of Akron where she teaches courses in dance education and non-profit management. Her research has focused on using the arts to develop social, emotional, and behavioral competence and the ways in which the arts may minimize impulsive behavior in individuals with developmental disabilities.
Kara is currently working with The Center For Arts Inspired Learning to create a professional development series for teaching artists who work in K-12 settings. Kara was the proud recipient of the 2016 Arts Alive! Outstanding Arts Administrator Award and serves on the Board of Directors of NEOS Dance Theatre and Summit Art Space.
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 Theater, The Ohio Light Opera Company, Carousel Dinner Theater, and Kenley Players. As a soloist, he has been featured with the Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Huntington Chamber Orchestra, Canton Symphony and the Cleveland Orchestra. Ron holds a Bachelors of Music in Piano Performance and a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance. He has served as Music Director for many professional and community theaters including Wright State University Theater, Goodyear Theater, Weathervane Playhouse, Stow Players, Brecksville Little Theater, Reach Out And Dance (ROAD®), and the In-School Touring Program at Elizabethtown College. Ron currently teaches voice at Mount Union University and West Side Vocal Academy.
Shauna Conzaman was born in Ravenna, Ohio and received most of her dance training at the University of Akron’s Dance Institute. Every summer she studied at other schools, including, 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 since 1996 and spent six years as the assistant director of a performing arts school in Michigan. Shauna is married to a wonderful man and has three children who are the light of her life.
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!
Artistic Director &
Lead Teaching Artist
Allison discovered her love for the art of dance as a child while studying at Noreen Londregans School of Dance. 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.
Lead Teaching Artist
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!
Abigail Viscomi grew up in Lakewood Ohio dancing at the Beck Center for the Arts. In Spring of 2017, Abigail graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and is now working towards a Masters of Arts in Teaching with a dance concentration at Kent State. While student teaching at Firestone High school in Akron, Ohio, Abigail is also teaching dance and adaptive dance at the Beck Center as well as working with ArtSparks. Through her teaching, Abigail aims to bring the joy of dance to all who enter her classroom.
Teaching Artist &
Visual Art Coordinator
Alice Duey is an Akron native who recently returned to her hometown to pursue her degree in Child and Family Development at The University of Akron. Throughout her career in entertainment, she sailed the world with Holland America Cruise Line as a supporting lead singer, while training with acclaimed choreographers and musicians. While on dry land, Alice's career highlight has been working at Walt Disney World for seven years as a member of Actors’ Equity Association. Her primary roles included Dance Captain for the Castle’s Holiday Show, “Celebrate the Season”, and Lead Actor of “Disney Jr. Live on Stage.” She has also performed in numerous dinner theater shows, television productions, and with Universal Orlando.
Alice’s shift toward education in the arts was ignited by her intrinsic love for teaching dance and music to children. Nurturing her students' imaginations and social emotional development in theatrical and thoughtfully expressive ways is one of her most valued goals as a teacher. Her own educational path is focused on researching the impact of the arts on children’s development.
Lead Teaching Artist &
Advanced Teams Assistant
Darcie graduated summa cum laude from the University of Akron in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance Education. While at Akron, she served as an officer for the university's dance club, choreographed in several student productions, and performed with the University of Akron Dance Company. Since graduating, she has danced with several dance companies including: DCDC2, Real Edge Dance Company and Inlet Dance Theater. Alongside performing, she has taught at several dance studios in the surrounding Akron area and enjoys every opportunity to share her love of dance with students!
Kathleen has loved dance since the age of five when she began to study at local studios, summer camps, and theaters. As a member of Ohio Youth Ballet through high school, she performed in dozens of community outreach performances. She studied dance and nutrition while at The University of Akron, as well as performed in the University of Akron Dance Company. As an officer of the University's dance club for three years, she coordinated many events, trips, and performances. She also produced, choreographed, and performed for a variety of University performances, and had the opportunity to work with professional companies such as Momix, BalletX, Neos, Ballet Memphis, and Streb. Kathleen graduated with her Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2015, and has been striving to bring dance to others ever since!
Teaching Artist &
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.
Advanced Teams Assistant
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.
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.
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.