MarLo Dance Studio opened its doors in 1999 with two co-founders/teachers, Maria Merriam and Lois Henry instructing in ballet and tap respectively. This fall we will enter our 17th Anniversary season with a staff of five plus guest teachers in ballroom.
The staff at MarLo believes that dance training provides a mentally and physically healthy interest, valuable life skills such as respect, teamwork, commitment, creative expression and the achievement of personal goals.
We are a performing arts school! MarLo's annual spring productions are major community events; not just for parents and friends. With the support of the community and business sponsors, MarLo Dance Studio has created an annual fund for scholarships through these performances.
Throughout the years MarLo has had many amazing students grace the doors of our dance studio! We invite you to meet a few of them:
In 2015 Dakota Bouher graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in dance from the University of Oregon in Eugene. During her senior year she was the president of the student organization Dance Oregon, and was a member of the University of Oregon Repertory Dance Company. Dakota has performed at the 2014 American College Dance Association’s (ACDA) regional conference in Missoula, MT, as well as at the 2014 ACDA National conference in Washington DC. She also attended the 2014 Strictly Seattle dance intensive at Velocity Dance Center where she performed in an original work by Seattle based choreographer Zoe Scofield.
After college Dakota spent a year working, performing, and creating dance in Eugene, OR. During this time she co-created a two person dance troupe called BODY PARTY. Together with her collaborator, Mariah Melson, she has created and presented four complete works. One such work was invited by former professor Shannon Mockli into the formal concert Breathing Under Water in Portland, OR which premiered in September 2015. Dakota was also a member of the Lane Dance Company for their 2015-2016 season, where she performed in an original work by Connecticut-based choreographer, Heidi Henderson.
Dakota is currently living in New York City where she works, and is continuing to pursue dance as a career.
"I am so grateful for the opportunity Marlo Dance Studio presented me with - not only did they accept me as a
teen-beginner, they encouraged me to never stop dancing and to always chase the dream. Thus, I studied modern dance
in college, and found an even greater love for movement and the the body. I hope to continue for as long as I live
and I hope also to always be sharing knowledge and passion gained."
Brooke Crawford is currently a third year student at OSU's College of Veterinary Medicine.
She has trained in classical ballet for 19 years with diversification in jazz, lyrical, and ballroom. As a MarLo student she grew into feature dance roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy and Tinkerbell. In addition, she participated in MDS teacher training, working her way onto the staff where she demonstrated a gift for choreography.
After high school, Brooke attended the University of Idaho. While there she continued her training with Festival Dance at University of Idaho and Graham Academy Ballet where she also did substitute teaching. An avid ballroom dancer, Brooke served as the coach of the U of I Ballroom team.
Presently she dances and substitute teaches for Corvallis Academy of Ballet and is a member of their company, Willamette Apprentice Ballet. Over the last six years Brooke has been a regular guest performer for MDS productions including the upcoming 2016 Nutcracker. She also returns to MDS as guest instructor/choreographer for the MarLo Dance Studio Summer Sessions and weekend Ballet Acceleration program.
Christina Crawford is an apprentice member of the Christian company, Ballet Excelsior of Houston, Texas. She has been a company member since graduating as a veterinarian from Oregon State University in 2014. In June 2016, she toured to Poland and Czech Republic where Ballet Excelsior performed their production of "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe". Crawford danced the role of the Morning Bird soloist, and several corps dances. She enjoys continuously honing her talents as a dancer and working as a veterinarian.
Christina has been dancing ballet for 24 years, 17 on pointe, which is her favorite dance form. MarLo welcomed her to the studio so she could continue dancing when she moved to Bandon in 2005. She studied ballet with MarLo during high school, as well as jazz and lyrical. MarLo also introduced her to ballroom, which she continues to enjoy as a relaxing hobby.
Christina continued dancing and teaching through her pre-veterinary undergraduate degree at University of Idaho. She also took class from Festival Dance, and taught for Northwest Dance Center during that time. Through veterinary school at Oregon State, she was able to take class at Corvallis Academy of Ballet and performed as a company member with Willamette Apprentice Ballet. For six consecutive summers, she has spent 6-8 weeks participating in Ballet West Summer Intensive program; first as a student, then as a Resident Assistant. During these summer intensives, Christina has trained under such ballet stars as Pamela Robinson-Harris and Jane Victorine Woods, former principal dancers with Ballet West and Megan Fairchild and her husband Andrew Veyette, both principals with NYCB.
As a MarLo dancer and alumna, Christina has enjoyed performing various roles including Cinderella and Sugar Plum Fairy (once with the Cavalier Strider Kachelein). Since then, she has performed multiple roles from classical ballets such as Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. She has also performed in original choreography by studio owners and guest choreographers.
"It has been my pleasure throughout college to teach and perform with MarLo. I am excited to perform with them again this December 2016 for The Nutcracker! I always enjoy coming back to MarLo, my home studio."
While at MarLo I had the pleasure to dance for three years before college, dancing in two Nutcrackers and three Spring Recitals. After high school I chose to attend Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, partly due to their excellent dance program. I am part of the class of 2017 and will be graduating with a bachelor's degree in German Studies with a minor in Anthropology. There I study under Miriam Mahdaviani, former dancer and choreographer for New York City Ballet, and John Meehan, former principle dancer with American Ballet Theater, past artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet, and current judge for the Youth America Grand Prix.
At Vassar, I am a member of the audition-based dance group VRDT (Vassar Repertory Dance Theater), where I have danced parts of Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15 set by the Balanchine Trust under former NYCB principle, Merrill Ashley. Between my freshman and sophomore year at college, I attended Ballet West's Summer Intensive for 8 weeks in Salt Lake City, UT. During my third year of college I studied in Berlin, Germany, where I took open ballet classes geared towards professional dancers. Additionally, I was able to take a class at the Berlin State Ballet School as well as meet the members of Berlin's premier ballet company.
My favorite role and proudest dancing achievement, however, is the Sugar Plum Cavalier from MarLo's production of the Nutcracker. Performed alongside MarLo alumna Christina Crawford, I have yet to encounter a piece requiring more practice, concentration, and physical exertion.
Before taking class at MarLo at age 15, I had never danced before. Thanks to the excellent teaching and opportunities I found at MarLo dance studios, I've exceeded all expectations I had when I first began and after MarLo, I felt very well prepared for all the challenges the dance world had in-store for me. When I'm home in Bandon, I always enjoy visiting MarLo Dance Studio and continuing to take classes there and improve.
Faith Slater, a 14-year student of MarLo Dance Studio of Bandon is now apprentice ballet dancer for Ballet Fantastique, resident ballet company for the Hult Center for the Performing Arts in Eugene, Oregon.
The connection with Ballet Fantastique began when MDS director/owner, Maria Merriam arranged performance field trips for the studio to attend during their 2014/15 season. One of those fieldtrips was a performance by Ballet Fantastique of their original ballet, Dragon and the Night Queen. After the ballet, Faith with help of Ms. Maria, began looking at BF’s summer intensive programs. Her family took her to Eugene to audition for the summer program and she was accepted. Regarding her summer intensive training, Faith said “Dancing at Ballet Fantastique over the summer was such a fun experience and I was very honored when they offered me a an apprentice position (2016/17 season)….It is an amazing opportunity and I am so excited to be dancing with them…”. In addition to her training, Faith will excel in a full season of professional performance concerts with the Ballet Fantastique Chamber Company at the Hult Center.
“I have to thank MarLo Dance Studio because I wouldn’t be where I am if it wasn’t for my teachers there and their great training. Ms. Maria and Ms. Trish have both been a huge part in my dance training since I was very young and I cannot thank them enough for their amazing training, continuous inspiration and for always pushing me to be a better dancer. Dancing at MarLo for 14 years has definitely prepared me for this and I am excited to see what is in my future."