Our Dance Instructors
Sherry’s New York experiences include: television special with Brooke Shields, an Esprit clothing commercial, MTV’s The Real World New York (the first season – 2 episodes), danced with Jennifer Lopez and Lane Napper (co-star and choreographer on Victorious), and was the primary demonstrator for internationally known jazz teacher Frank Hatchett at dance conventions. Other performance opportunities: Disney World and Universal Studios Florida. She has performed locally in numerous York Little Theater and Fulton Theatre productions, and was the lead dancer for the Lancaster Dance Company.
Sherry began her dance training in York, PA at her great-aunt Darleen Paddison’s Dance Studio, where she eventually became an instructor. In 2008, she and fellow teacher Karen Adamson purchased the business, creating Innovations Dance Center.
Karen has performed in Universal Studios and Disney’s Magic Kingdom. She has attended the Dance Teacher Summit in New York City in 2006, 2008 and 2011, and has taken class at the Broadway Dance Center.
Teaching young dancers is her favorite part of what she does. They are eager to learn, uninhibited, and enthusiastic. She loves to watch them grow into not only beautiful dancers but respectable and independent, young people. Dance gives them a place of their own, as they learn to express themselves and be comfortable with who they are. It is her hope that they will call the studio home the way she and her fellow staff do.
After high school, she attended Point Park College in Pittsburgh, PA for dance, and in 1996 rejoined Innovations Dance Center as a teacher. Shelley was also the Assistant Director with Innovations Dance Company from 1996 to 2011, and has been the choreographer for York Suburban High School’s Musicals since 2005. She has attended Dance Masters of America Master Classes and taken classes at Broadway Dance Center in NYC.
Shelley loves working with children and young adults and helping them explore the world of dance. She says, “The students and the staff are truly my extended family and I love being part of such a wonderful team.”
In June of 2015 Eric Jr. was accepted into Jacob’s Pillow for Jazz to Hip Hop Social Dance Program and earned a Dance Professional Advancement award. In 2016, he and his dance partner Justine Diggs were selected to join the Frankie Manning Foundation as Ambassadors of Lindy Hop/Swing and traveled to Detroit to represent the company at the American Lindy Hop Championships. In 2017 the president of the International Dance Council, nominate him to become a member of the council, which he accepted. Currently the Keystone Dance Project and their mentors The Hood Lockers joined to make the crew Hood Nation, focusing on supporting the youth and arts throughout the East Coast.
At age 20 she met her current dance partner Eric Durden Jr. who introduced and inspired her to learn and train in all of her current styles. She auditioned for the 2014-2015 Harrisburg Stampede Crush Dance Team and earned the most improved dancer award. In the summer of 2015 she attended the two-week Social Dancers: Jazz-Hip Hop program at Jacob’s Pillow and earned a Professional Advancement award in dance. In 2016, she and her dance partner, Eric Durden Jr. were chosen to be part of the Frankie Manning Foundation and are now ambassadors for the program. She is currently training and dancing with Keystone Dance Project, directed by Moncell Durden. Keystone Dance Project is also affiliated and training with Hood Lockers from Philadelphia, Pa. The two crews combined operate under the name Hood Nation.
Katie started dancing at Darleen Paddison’s Dance Studio in 1997. Through her journey of dance she has taken jazz, tap, lyrical, ballet, and her favorite, pointe. She started assisting classes in high school and became Innovations Dance Center’s Company captain in 2008. She graduated high school in 2009 and shortly after joined Clarion University’s dance team. During her senior year she became caption of the team. She choreographed dances the team would perform at football games, basketball games, wrestling matches, as well as parades. Once Katie graduated college with a degree in Early Childhood and Special Education her dance journey seemed to slow down resorting only to Zumba classes at a local gym. However, that just didn’t seem the same. Four years later after graduation she was asked to teach summer classes and found absolute joy during that time and was asked to be a part of the family at Innovations Dance Center.
Melissa’s dance background is very extensive. Starting at a young age she discovered her passion for dance at Darlene’s Dance Studio and is excited to return to where it all started for her. While growing up she also took gymnastics which lead her to be an All American Cheerleader in high school.
Melissa graduated from Shippensburg University where she was on the college dance team. She is currently a math teacher at York Catholic High School where she coaches cheerleading. When she’s not teaching she enjoys spending time with her husband, Matt and French Bulldog, Bruno.
Cody started dancing at Darleen Paddison’s Dance Studio at the age of 6. In the thirteen years she spent at the dance studio, she took jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip-hop, and tap. She started to assistant teach dance classes at the age of 15 and continued until she graduated from high school in 2008. She also became the co-captain of Innovations Dance Company from 2006-2008. She graduated from West York High School in 2008 and continued her education at Millersville University. She graduated from Millersville University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a minor in Psychology. Cody continued to take summer classes for a few years after graduating but always wished she could incorporate dance into her life in other ways. She was absolutely overjoyed when she was asked to teach classes at Innovations Dance Center starting in the Fall of 2020.
Cody will continue her educational journey in the Fall through York College and will be working towards a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Cody is currently a Kindergarten teacher for The School District of the City of York. In Cody’s spare time she spends time with her fiancé Jeremy and her three guinea pigs (Taylor, Cinnamon, and Nibs).
Samantha is a recent graduate from Eastern University with a B.A. in Dance and a B.S. in Environmental Science. Her early training began at Innovations Dance Center, where she studied jazz, tap, ballet, and modern. At Eastern University, she continued her technical training, performed in numerous dance concerts, and set choreographic works for the stage.
In 2019, Samantha performed her original work “As the Water Rises” and co-choreographed work “Progression.” In 2020, she prepared to present her senior thesis entitled “Again, My Mountain Calls.” In addition, she was co-president of Eastern Dance Ministry and president of Eastern Dance Club. In 2018 and 2019, Samantha attended various workshops and performed at two American College Dance Association (ACDA) festivals adjudicated by dance professionals, including Thomas F. DeFrantz, Loretta Livingston, Christine Knoblauch-O’Neal, Charles O. Anderson, Leslie Kraus, and Michael J. Morris. Recently, she prepared to present “Progression” at ACDA 2020. In addition, Samantha is a company member of NetCo Dance Company in Lancaster, PA and a dance instructor at Innovations Dance Center.
Rebecca Smith Kingston
Rebecca “Becca” began dancing at age 3, but her love of ballet started as a young teen in a beginner ballet class. Her dance journey led her to dance with Viktor Yeliohin at the Viktor Yeliohin International Ballet Academy in Lancaster where she performed in The Nutcracker as well as Swan Lake Act II, Paquita and Sleeping Beauty. Becca spent a year training privately with Gretchen Patchell at Ballet York where she learned and performed an original piece set to Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune in the 2016 Distinguished Young Woman Scholarship Program. Becca represented York County as Distinguished Young Woman for 2016 and would continue to train at the Dance Conservatory of Maryland in both ballet technique and pointe work. In college, Becca was a member of the corps de ballet for Skidmore College’s performance of Swan Lake Act II, and continues to train at Temple University as a dance minor. She also taught at The Belmont Summer Theatre Camp for three years as their resident dance teacher for both small groups and full group dances. Becca is in her final year as a major in Early Childhood Education at Temple.
Rebecca “Becca” began dancing at age 3, but her love of ballet started as a young teen in a beginner ballet class. Her dance journey led her to dance with Viktor Yeliohin at the Viktor Yeliohin International Ballet Academy in Lancaster where she performed in The Nutcracker as well as Swan Lake Act II, Paquita and Sleeping Beauty. Becca spent a year training privately with Gretchen Patchell at Ballet York where she learned and performed an original piece set to Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune in the 2016 Distinguished Young Woman Scholarship Program. Becca represented York County as Distinguished Young Woman for 2016 and would continue to train at the Dance Conservatory of Maryland in both ballet technique and pointe work. In college, Becca was a member of the corps de ballet for Skidmore College’s performance of Swan Lake Act II, and continues to train at Temple University as a dance minor. She also taught at The Belmont Summer Theatre Camp for three years as their resident dance teacher for both small groups and full group dances. Becca is in her final year as a major in Early Childhood Education at Temple. Becca aspires to share her love of ballet’s power and grace with the students at Innovations, a studio where she always felt welcomed and wanted. She loves that her life has led her back to support the dancers who bring joy and community into the studio, and she looks forward to the summers when she gets to see the growth each dancer has made during the year!