Claire Hudzinski-began her dance training in Durham where she competed in numerous regional and national dance competitions. After graduating high school, Claire went on to pursue a BFA in dance performance and choreography from East Carolina University. She danced under Joe Carow, Alan Arnett, Patti Weeks and Pat Pertalion. Claire had the opportunity to dance with Mark Dendy, Frank Chaves of River North Dance Chicago, Bob Borross, Jay Norman, Mary Carbonara and Tomi Galaska. Claire has taught at various studios in the triangle area and then opened her own studio in 2001.
Claire Hudzinski has been educating young women and men from age 3-18 about the art of dance. Ms. Hudzinski has created a local business worthy of attention in Durham. Ms. Hudzinski has a strong belief in not only being a community business owner, but also a productive member of the community. It is this philosophy that she instills in her students by providing them an opportunity to give back through dance.
Claire started a non profit performance group in 2002, “Tour de Force” and has raised money for such causes as Angels Among Us which raised over $3000 and Alex’s Lemonade Stand which raised over $5000 for the cause, with help from Ms. Kristi Hash. Dance Theatre South has been a sponsor of the Get Heeled 5K for the past three years. Ms. Hudzinski has financially sponsored the Get Heeled 5K, a family fun run/walk to raise money and awareness of pediatric cancer. The event directly benefits UNC’s pediatric oncology program.
Dance Theatre South’s dance team, Tour de Force, has been an annual highlight of the event thanks to Ms. Hudzinski’s commitment to not only providing her dance students with a high quality understanding and appreciation of all types of dance, but also a desire to be productive members of society. Ms. Hudzinski has established quite a following, as many of her students have started their dance careers from the early age of three and continue on with her through their high school years.
She is a member of Delta Kappa Gamma (a professional honorary Society of women educators which promotes professional and personal growth of its members and excellence in education), and The National Dance Assocation of AAPHERD (mission is to promote and support leadership, research, education, and best practices in the professions that support creative, healthy, and active lifestyles).
Kristi Hash-has been dancing since the age of 5 under the direction of Sharon Bullock. She also attended East Carolina University and studied under Joe Carow, Patti Weeks, Pat Pertalion, Tomi Galaska & Mary Carbonara. She received a BFA in Dance Education.
Kristi taught at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, where she created a dance program as well as a dance company, which became highly recognized in the Wake County School system. She has also judged for dance competitions all over the state.
Kristi teaches all ages as well as assists with Tour De Force. Kristi realizes the value of classical ballet as a building block for all types of dance.
Ms. Hash shares the same philosophy as Ms. Hudzinski and takes part in all of the planning of Tour de Force and Dance Theatre South with the Get Heeled Events and other fundraising opportunities. Kristi also serves as Co- Artistic Director of Dance Theatre South.
Tiffany Torres moved to Durham in October 2016 from San Antonio, TX. She graduated from The University of Texas, San Antonio with a degree in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. She trained in ballet, tap and jazz at the San Antonio School for the Performing Arts and was an Alamo City Dance Company member. Tiffany taught dance at Heather Stolle’s school of Dance for 6 years before moving to Durham. She has a track record of inspiring a love of dance by utilizing a variety of styles and learning techniques and is excited to share her passion with the students at Dance Theatre South.
Amy Brannon is a former student of Dance Theatre South. She graduated from Appalachian State University with a B.A in Dance Studies where she had the chance to perform under the direction of Sherone Price and Regina Gulick-James. She presented several choreographic works for the Freshman Dance Concert and the Momentum Dance Group. She is involved with the American Dance Festival where she was an Intern in the Summer of 2011 and a Staff Assistant in their NYC Winter Intensive 2012. Amy believes in giving young dancers a strong technique foundation with the freedom to explore movement according to each dancers unique goals. Amy is also the dance teacher at Northern High School in Durham, NC.
LaQuinta Jernigan began dancing at the age of 5 in Reidsville, North Carolina. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communication, Public Relations sequence with a concentration in the Dramatic Arts. While at UNC, she founded the Star Heels Dance Team, a non-profit dance organization that conducts benefit concerts for local charities. She served not only as president but also as director of the jazz department and head choreographer. During her time in Chapel Hill, she also had the opportunity to teach at Dance Theatre South. After graduating, LaQuinta moved to Champaign, Illinois, where she directed Turning Pointe Dance Studio. At her studio, she taught all levels of jazz, creative movement classes for toddlers, and introduction to ballet for ages 5-7. LaQuinta believes in the importance of introducing the arts to children at a young age, and she is very excited to be teaching at Dance Theatre South again.
Damien Slade–Born in Washington D.C. but raised in Durham North Carolina, Damien has been performing and impressing audiences since and early age. . Joining a local dance troop allowed him the opportunity to dance on a professional level. This inspired him to move to Atlanta and train with industry professional choreographers and dancers such as, Devin Stevens and Jamaica, Chuck Maldanado, just to name a few. He was then blessed with the amazing opportunity to work with such national recording artist as, Jagged Edge, Avant, Lil Zhane and several other Atlanta based upcoming artist.His most recent success was choreographing for the 2010 Women’s Empowerment and Networking seminar fashion show in Raleigh, N.C. His passion for dance continues to show through his dynamic and creative performances and choreography. He continues to use his gift and love for dance to inspire and teach kids and adults at dance studios, workshops, and for dance companies. “”If God keeps blessing me with opportunities to use my talent I will continue to do what I am called to do and what I love to do, inspire others through the art of dance.”
Samantha Leder has been dancing since age 3 and is a DTS alumni. She found a home with the studio when they opened their doors in 2001 and has loved remaining involved over the years. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill majoring in Biology and will soon be returning to nursing school. While at UNC, Samantha was a dancer and choreographer for Starheels. She has taught ballet and tap and is part of the DTS office staff. Dance was an instrumental part of Samantha’s life growing up–building confidence, dedication, and creativity and she is excited to share that with others!
Kate Frauenfelder is a DTS alumni and was one of the first students at the studio. As a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she is double majoring in Public Relations and Public Policy. She is a member of Starheels dance team and participates in an annual philanthropic dance competition with her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. She is the Director of Public Relations for the Eve Carson Scholarship and Managing Editor of CampusConnect. Kate is currently on of the members of our office staff and a great substitute teacher!