Joy of Dance
Instructor Allie O’Hare, or “Miss Allie” as she is known, brings dedication, energy and enthusiasm to her work with young dancers-in-training at MCC. Joy of Dance director Marilyn Baird, parents, students and Center staff have all been delighted to work with O’Hare for the last seven years.
O’Hare earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2007. After performing professionally, including with the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, she decided to try teaching. “I had no idea how much I would fall in love with it,” she said. “I get to share my love for the art with all of my students and at the same time, I learn so much from them.”
At MCC, she teaches a wide array of classes, including Pre-Primary I and II, Combination I, II and IV, Junior Company, Senior Company, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-Hop and Contemporary. “I love the sense of community, the staff and the atmosphere at MCC. All the families I work with are amazing and make me feel appreciated and loved. There is never a dull moment when I’m at work. My students never fail to make me laugh and touch my heart with their sweet little souls every day," she said.
In her free time, O’Hare enjoys spending time with her family. She describes her mother and father as her biggest supporters and her brother and sister have provided her with her favorite “role” thus far --- that of doting aunt to several nieces and nephews.
Our youngest and most precious patrons need no introduction to “Ms. Patti,” as Patti Papworth has been teaching Music Together at MCC since 2003.
A native of Salem, Ore., Papworth is one of seven children. She has been performing since she was eight years old and holds a B.A. degree in Vocal Performance from Utah State University.
Says Papworth, “I think the most powerful thing about teaching is seeing how kids learn and grow. I have always had music in my life and I also have a deep love for children, so when I came across this program, I knew it was a perfect fit for me. It’s amazing anytime I run into parents who give an update on their children—that they are now playing instruments or are involved in music programs—those are happy moments.”
Her involvement in music is not limited to teaching at MCC. She has a private piano studio and directs a regional, 60-member church choir. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, playing piano, cooking and helping people with interior design and staging.
Papworth says MCC is a wonderful gathering place that fosters friendships and understanding. “I love how it brings all cultures and lifestyles together. I have classes where every child or adult is from a different area of the world. It adds so much to our experience to be able to enjoy and learn from each other.”
Learning how to express oneself in writing has proven to be an isolated quest for many a would-be novelist. Thanks to MCC Writing Instructor D.A. Spruzen (aka Dorothy Hassan), these writers can now have the support of an experienced companion and coach to help them on their journey to publication.
A native of London, U.K., Spruzen graduated from the London College of Dance and Drama Education, and earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. Author of a historical novel, "The Blitz Business," a poetry collection, "Long in the Tooth," and "Crossroads: Two Novellas," as well as two novels in the Flower Ladies Trilogy - "Not One of Us" and "Lily Takes the Field," Spruzen knows firsthand the myriad issues facing writers.
For five years, she has taught courses to help grow fledgling writers: Getting Started (on the basics of creative writing), Word Portraits (on deepening character and setting) and Fine Tuning (a critique workshop). "I have always loved teaching and very much enjoy seeing my students' growth and their satisfaction in making progress," she said. "At MCC, the environment is collegial and the facilities are well-maintained and conducive to learning."
In her spare time, Spruzen says she enjoys spending time with her family, taking art classes, cuddling with her King Charles spaniel, Sam, and working on her flower garden. "I love flowers! I keep orchids, African violets and other plants in my family room, and the vase always has cut flowers whether from my garden or from the store."