Dance classes for our GiGi’s Playhouse participants is coming to the Playhouse. Our first sessions are being offered to age groups 8-17 years of age. This is an exciting new program that offers our dance participants a chance to appear on stage at the Straz Performing Arts Center.
Our Program Lead is Susan Downey. Ms. Downey began her passion for dancing at age four in Oklahoma and never stopped. Her summer training in early years was at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Ft. Worth, Texas. She left for California at 18, and studied Musical Theater at United States International University in San Diego. She became an Actors’ Equity, Screen Actors Guild Member and enjoyed a diverse 10-year singing and dancing career that took her all across America. The last 20 years were spent in the N.Y. area where she began her teaching career. Ms. Downey was the director and lead dance teacher for the United States Military Academy at West Point’s Child and Youth Services program and was also head tap teacher for 12 years at Step by Step dance studio in New York state. Forever a student, Ms. Downey attends classes, workshops, and performances to stay fresh and current. Ms. Downey enjoys being a part of the Patel Conservatory and their vision for education in the arts. She teaches youth and adult Patel Conservatory students tap, jazz, hip-hop and classes in the Patel Conservatory Youth Ballet program. Ms. Downey also teaches dance, musical theater and drama to kids in the H.O.S.T. program in Hillsborough County Public School district.