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 35 years.  With over 50 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

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 Ezra?a hula training has been under Kumu Hula Hilary Kapilipu'uwai Silva of Florida. She has 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.
                  She runs the Vine Hula School and H?lau Hula Na Kal??auhihilani, which means Hula School Belonging to the Heavenly Vine, was inspired by the verse John 15:5 I am the vine; you are the branches. They are family-owned and operated, and have a heart to share their love for hula and the Hawaiian/Pacific American culture in a Christ-centered environment.

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.

Jessica Shaw - Instructor

Iris Duffany - Instructor

Melissa Elmer - Instructor