Foxtrot Dance Studio's New Director Brings Knowledge and Love of Dance
Kassandra Humberson, the new owner and director of Foxtrot Dance Studio in Swissvale, is taking the reigns from her mother, Coleen, who is retiring from the studio.
Kassandra Humberson, the new owner and director of Foxtrot Dance Studio in Swissvale, might not have been alive for as long as the studio has, but the former lady-in-charge, her mother, said she’s confident Kassandra will continue her legacy.
Coleen Fox Humberson opened Foxtrot Dance Studio 37 years ago in Plum after she divorced. She opened the current studio in Swissvale, the town she learned to dance in, two years later at the request of some of her friends. A dancer since she was 4, Coleen said the studio was something she fell back into to support herself and her young son, and now she’s excited to pass it on to her only daughter.
“I did it on a wing and a prayer,” she said, “but it’s the happiest day of my life now to pass it on.”
Kassandra, 22, started in gymnastics at 3, but quickly took to dance.
She’s competed in—and won—several competitions, and received several scholarships and awards throughout her dance career, including Star Systems National Top Teen Soloist, Start Systems Regional Top Teen Soloist, Applause Talent Top Senior Soloist, Art Stone Dancer of the Year scholarship three years in a row, Dance Olympus VIP Scholarship, Starpower PowerPak Scholarship, Star Systems Shock the Intensive Scholarship, Gene Kelly Fine Arts Scholarship—and she was a Pennsylvania Governor’s School for the Arts recipient.
She also participated in her high school shows at Winchester Thurston School and has taught at the studio since she was in fourth grade.
It’s the latter that Kassandra loves – teaching.
“I love to teach the kids,” she said. “I like to help people, and I can see when they struggle.”
Student Megan Pietrusinski, 14, said Kassandra is a good teacher.
“She’s creative, and she’s nice,” Pietrusinski said. “She’s always giving us new and different [dances].”
Kassandra has taught not only dance at the studio, but also gymnastics at Kasamon Gymnastics and Dance Center in Penn Township, Westmoreland County, where she studied from the ages of 8 to 17, and as a teaching assistant at her college, Ohio University.
The recent graduate holds a bachelor of fine arts in dance and choreography and, according to Kassandra, is the only studio owner in the area who holds a degree.
“When you go to school for dance, you learn all the different parts of it,” Kassandra said. “I had classes in dance history and kinesthetics, which is about how the all the pieces of your body move.”
Kassandra also believes the connections she made in college will benefit the studio.
“I can have guest teachers here with new classes and techniques the kids have never seen,” she said.
Kassandra said classes will be different from when her mother ran the studio, but she said she will continue to have the compassion and respect for those who want to dance that her mother has established.
“Everyone is welcome here,” she said. “I want to be involved with the parents and have people come back. When they come here, I’m going to make sure they learn something.”
Pietrusinski’s two sisters, ages 22 and 16, have also taken lessons at the studio.
“Kassandra has been involved for many years in the studio,” said Margie Pietrusinski, the girls’ mother. “She’s ready for it. She’s talented.”
Kassandra said she’s excited to introduce new classes and types of dance and keep things exciting and new. She’s also excited for her students to continue competing.
“I have a head on my shoulders,” she said. “If I have a goal, I’m going to achieve it.”
Kassandra also recently began a new position at Winchester Thurston School, which she once attended, working in the Fine Arts and Dance Department to teach all grades movement and dance.
“The school has done a lot for me,” she said. “I love doing it.”
Foxtrot Dance Studio is located at 7542 Roslyn St. in Swissvale, and is open Monday through Friday, teaching all ages dance, tumbling and fitness classes. Call 412-351-1646 or 412-243-4875 for information.