Dance World Dance Studio

The Longest Operating Dance Studio in Watertown, New York

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About Us

Meet Our Faculty

Cindy Babel - Owner and Chief Instructor of Dance World

Miss Cindy has owned and operated the dance studio for over 25 years.  With over 40 years dance experience, Cindy combines her passion for dance and her love of children to offer the community an affordable dance program with a family atmosphere. 

Cindy's dance career began locally when she was 3 years old.  She also studied in New York City, Toronto and Buffalo.  Cindy was tested and has been certified by the Dance Educators of America.  Besides the studio in Watertown, Cindy has had several satellite studios in the area.  These include, Alex Bay, Brownville, Chaumont, Evans Mills, Felts Mills, Fort Drum, Gouverneur, Hammond, Rodman, Theresa, Philadelphia, Star Lake and Three Mile Bay.

For 5 years Cindy was the director of the Lord of the Dance Camp at Camp Aldersgate in the Adirondacks.  Cindy continues to do guest teaching at local schools, day camps, lyric theater and other special events. 

Sarah Thomas - Instructor

Sarah started dancing at Dance World in January of 1988 at the age of 2. She was a part of the original "Showstoppers" Troupe that formed in 1996, and participated in many performances and dance conventions with the troupe.
She graduated from Watertown High School in 2004 with her regents diploma, and completed her Associates Degree with Honors from Jefferson Community College in 2006. She is currently finishing her Bachelors Degree through Empire State College.
She works at the dance school as a secretary and recital design coordinator as well. Her two daughters also take dance lessons at Dance World, marking the 2nd generation for their family.

Jillian Norris - Instructor


Katy Michael - Instructor

Katy began dancing at the young age of 4 with Miss Cindy and eventually with her mother, Miss Kathy. She has continued her passion of dance all through high school and for the year she spent at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC, studying with teachers such as Michelle Buckner, Casey Colgan, and intensive private lessons with Terpsie Toon. Katy was in the highest level ballet class for her semesters along with the second highest for jazz and tap. She hopes to combine everything she's learned through the years and spread her joy for dance to all of the students.

Heather Miner - Director of the Showstoppers Dance Troupe

Heather has been at Dance World since age 10.  She quickly worked her way up to teacher's assistant and then dance instructor.  She has taken Tap, Choreography, Jazz, African, Clogging, Lyrical, Improvisation, Modern/Contemporary, Ballet, Musical Theater, Pointe and Hip-Hop classes.  She has danced in the North Carolina production of The Nutcracker, in workshops with choreographers Wade Robson, Brian Freedman, Jeff Hill and Kim Cooper, and participated in the Syracuse productions of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

She has won many awards and was chosen to perform with the Footloose National Extreme Team in 2006 and spent a week in Disney World, Florida taking classes and performing at the Magic Kingdom.  As part of her college education, she choreographed and performed in large productions and choreographed two high school productions as an Arts in Education Intern.  She also participated in the American College Dance Festival while in college, and earned her Bachelor's Degree in Dance in 2008.  She completed her Master's in Education Degree in 2009.

Ezra Gonzales - Instructor

The majority of my hula training has been under Kumu Hula Hilary Kapilipu'uwai Silva of Florida. I have also taken lessons from Kumu Hula Kawehi Punahele of Hawaii, Aunty Otila Massaro of Samoa & her daughter, "Baby O", Otila Senitima Massaro Balewski, and Kumu Kea, Kumu Hula Pattye Kealohalani Wright, of Hawaii.

Alyssa Fuoco - Instructor

Alyssa Fuoco moved to the Watertown area in 2015.  Originally from Grand Island, NY, she has been twirling baton since the age of 7.  She started out with the Islette's Elite Majorettes baton team in her hometown and twirled as a member of their competition team from 2002-2010.  Alyssa has also danced all of her life at Adell's School of Dance in Niagra Falls, NY. During her time there she took Ballet, Jazz and Lyrical classes.  In 2010 she joined Crescendo coached by Kelli K. Russell, a world known baton coach, that incorporated some of the best twirlers in the country.  Alyssa twirled as a soloist at the intermediate level with Kelli as her coach and competed at the National Baton Twirling Association nation competition in South Bend Indiana for ten years in a row.  At the end of her competitive baton twirling career in 2012, she was brought on by Kelli Russell to coach a beginner twirl team for Crescendo which took 1st place at nationals two years in a row.  Now that she has settled in to the North Country, she is excited to branch out on her own and start coaching a new group of students!  

Hannah Cottrell - Instructor

Hannah Babel, daughter to Cindy, has been dancing since she could walk.  Hannah has taken many forms of dance throughout her life including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Hip-Hop, Modern, Lyrical, Clogging and Liturgical Dance.  She has received numerous awards through her participation in the Showstoppers Dance Troupe. 

In high school she was a cheerleader for General Brown.  She has taught our cheerleading classes here at Dance World since she began college.  Currently, she is a cheerleader for the Watertown Red and Black Semi-Pro Team.  She is a graduate of General Brown High School and Oneonta State University.  She is currently a Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher at Indian River Middle School, and a Graduate student at SUNY Oswego.

Rachel Auricchio - Instructor

Rachel Auricchio graduated from South Jefferson High School in 2004.  From her seventh grade year through her Senior year she was a member of the South Jefferson Dance Company.  After high school, Rachel attended Paul Smith's College where she started her own company.  She also choreographed competition routines for a family friend while in college. 

Rachel has taken Ballet, Modern and Jazz for years but once she took Hip-Hop in her Junior year of high school she fell instantly in love with it.  She loves to dance for fun and for its fitness links.  She is eager and excited to begin teaching children and adults the love of Hip-Hop.