Our Dance Instructors
Meet Our Team
Co-Owner, Instructor, & Dance Company Director
Sherry is a certified member of Dance Masters of America, Inc. and Mid-Atlantic Dance Masters Chapter 17. In New York, she studied on a scholarship at the Broadway Dance Center under such teachers as A.C. Cuilla, Sheila Barker, Germaine Goodson, Finis Jhung, Savion Glover, Ann Reinking, and Frank Hatchett.
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.
Co-Owner & Instructor
Karen has loved to dance since starting at Darleen Paddison’s Dance Studio in 1971 at the age of 6. When she was 16, she began assistant teaching, and she continued on to teach her own classes at 20 years of age. In 2008, she and long- time friend and fellow dancer, Sherry Rouscher, bought the studio, and it became 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.
Michelle “Shelley” began dance at the age of 3 at Innovations Dance Center in York, PA (formerly Darleen Paddison’s Dance Studio). As a teenager, she was a dance assistant and attended additional dance classes in Lancaster from Judy Williams-Henry and Chet Zercher. Upon being accepted as a member of Lancaster Dance Company, she performed at the Fulton Opera House, and took part in an Esprit television commercial.
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.”
Mary followed in the footsteps of her sister, Karen (Alwine Adamson), and began taking dance lessons at Darleen Paddison’s Dance Studio in 1974. She was a ballet, tap, jazz, and pointe student for many years before becoming an assistant teacher in 1985. Mary taught her own class for 8 years and then rejoined the staff in 2011. Mary has also choreographed West York Area High School’s productions since 2014, including Footloose, Annie, The Little Mermaid, and Shrek.
Teaching young students who are just beginning in the world of dance is what she enjoys most. The excitement they express and joy in learning makes dance fun. Mary is the proud mom to three beautiful children, one of whom dances at Innovations.
Mel Hoffman began taking dance and acrobatics at Darleen Paddison’s Dance studio in York, PA at the age of 2. While there, she was an assistant teacher and competed with the competition group in both regional and national acro competitions. Mel was a competitive gymnast and has over 20 years of coaching experience. She previously coached levels 5-10 and choreographed for levels 7-10 for several gyms in York, Harrisburg and Hershey, PA. Mel’s experience includes coaching girls who have competed at the state, regional, and national levels of gymnastics. She has professional membership and safety certification through USAG Gymnastics.
Mel considers safety and correct technique to be the most important features of a great acrobatics program. Since taking over the acro program at Innovations, Mel has used her expertise to make sure students were progressing safely and learning the correct skills for their level. She worked with the studio to acquire new equipment to accelerate students’ progression and assist them in learning both basic and advanced skills.
Mel graduated from York College in 2000 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioral Science, and has two children, Cole and Ava, who are her absolute pride and joy. Mel feels the staff at Innovations is like a second family, and she is excited to be working with a wonderful group of people.
Eric M. Cunningham-Durden Jr.
Eric Durden Jr. is a hip hop dancer born and raised in Harrisburg, Pa. His Father is a Professor and Historian of Hip Hop. At a young age Eric Jr. would watch his Father and try to mimic his movement. Eric would practice with his Father and travel to Philadelphia to take workshops. In 2009, he moved to Philly and danced with Chosen Dance Company and The Sunny Delight Hip Hop Stop. In September of 2014 he joined the Keystone Dance Project (KDP), formed by his Father, Moncell Durden. He is now acting as company manager as well as teaching and performing with the company and starting more arts programs in the city.
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.
Justine Diggs was born and raised in Harrisburg, Pa. She trained at Harrisburg Gymnastics at age 5 and later attended classes at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. In middle school, she started cheerleading and eventually joined the competition team at her high school. When she was 17 she auditioned for the 2009 National Cheerleading Association, All-American team. Upon making the team she had the opportunity to perform in the 2009 FEDEX Orange Bowl.
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.