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 22th Anniversary season with a staff of 4 plus guest teachers.
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:
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 always enjoy coming back to MarLo, my home studio."
While at MarLo I had the pleasure to dance for three years before college, having performed in three Nutcrackers (two as the Sugar Plum Cavalier partnering MarLo alumna Christina Crawford) and four Spring Productions. After high school, I attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY, where I studied ballet outside of my major under 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. I also studied under Miriam Mahdaviani, former dancer and choreographer for New York City Ballet, and Steven Rooks, former principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company.
At Vassar, I was a member of Vassar Repertory Dance Theater, where I performed sections of Swan Lake and Balanchine's Divertimento No. 15 set by the Balanchine Trust under former NYCB principle, Merrill Ashley. During college, I attended Ballet West's Summer Intensive for 8 weeks in Salt Lake City, UT, and during my third year of college I studied in Berlin, Germany, where I continued to take dance classes. I was even able to take a class at the Berlin State Ballet School as well as meet the members of Berlin's premier ballet company.
After college, I had the amazing opportunity to become a ballet instructor at MarLo where I discovered the joy of teaching. Building upon all that I learned at MarLo and abroad, I was able to share my love of dance with the southern Oregon coast. After an incredible year teaching, I enrolled in law school in San Diego, CA, where I am currently studying to pursue a career in the public interest. I continue to hone my ballet skills while in school, and I always look forward to visiting Bandon where I can watch MarLo performances and teach guest-classes.
Before taking my first ballet class at MarLo at age 15, I had never danced before. Thanks to the excellent teaching and opportunities I found here, I've exceeded all of my expectations. MarLo prepared me very well for the challenges the dance world had in-store for me and continues to bring my way.
Faith Slater, a 14-year student of MarLo Dance Studio of Bandon is currently a second year apprentice ballet dancer for the Ballet Fantastique professional dance company. BFan is the 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 auditioned for their summer intensive program and 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….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 15 years has definitely prepared me for this and I am excited to see what is in my future."