Betsy Shuttleworth | Director, Co-Owner
Betsy has been teaching for 25 years. She started taking dance at the age 9 at the Sally Miller Dance Company in Washington, PA. Betsy taught at various places and schools and attended Point Park University. In 1996, Betsy opened Betsy Wray’s Dance Extensions, now Dance Extensions Performing Arts Center. In 2001, Betsy became intrigued by the art of contortion. While ballet was where she had the most experience, she felt the desire to experiment with acrobatics and contortion, and soon many students were training in it. Through contortion agent and trainer Ska von Schöning, she learned the proper techniques for teaching this unusual art safely. Every year she travels with promising students to train in Las Vegas and is a annual participant in the International Contortion Convention, where her students get to work with fellow contortionists from around the globe. DEPAC students have auditioned for Cirque du Soleil, AGT, SYTYCD and Paula Abdul. Her students were featured on morning talk shows for their contortion as well as Fox Tv and have been filmed in a Powerade commercial and on tv in England through Silver River Productions. Betsy has also had years of judging experience in various dance competitions. Recently, one of Betsy’s students was hired professionally by the Hanneford Circus & Seyranyan Family Circus, as well as traveling to NYC to shoot a Nike Ad. DEPAC is now working often with Alixa Sutton, Creator of the “Mystic Pixies” and Le Petit Cirque in California.
Dawn Bercini Churney | Co-Director, Co-Owner
Dawn began dancing at the age of 14 and spent her high school years as a competition dancer at Borelli’s Dance Gallery in Bethel Park, Pa. She then furthered her education at Point Park University and graduated with a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Dance. Dawn has taught and choreographed at many studios and companies around the Pittsburgh area including, Abbey Lee Miller Dance Company, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet , Dance Etc, Borelli’s Dance Gallery, Dance Workshop by Sherri, Evolve Productions and The Bodiography Center for Movement. Some of Dawn’s performances throughout her professional dance career include, back up dancer for Weird Al Yankovich. Back up dancer for Bone Thugs and Harmony. Dancer/performer in “How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying,” at the Benedum Center, Pittsburgh, PA. A guest dancer with the Bodiography Contemporary Ballet Company in the “80’s Rock Ballet,” at the Byham Theatre, the “Wizard of Oz” at the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pgh, PA. She performed as a guest dancer in various shows with Evolve Dance Productions throughout the Pittsburgh area. She was also a dancer for many local venues and showcases with various companies and artists from around the world, including Bubba and Bonics from your local radio stations. Dawn was also seen in two televised commercials that aired throughout the United States. She had the opportunity and was honored to participate in Miss Teen Pennsylvania when she was a young 17 years old. Dawn still continues to educate herself by taking workshops with various artists around the world, including SYTYCD stars such as Jamie Goodwin, Audrey Case, Christopher Schruggs and the very well know Mia Michaels. Dawn is a well-rounded teacher and has teaching experience in many genres, including Ballet, Pointe, Tumbling, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Tap, Hip Hop and Dance Technique. She is also a certified Pilate’s instructor and incorporates that into her teaching techniques. Dawn’s goal is to help each dancer/performer grow technically and artistically so that they can share the beauty of this art and also to help them grow as an individual with a sense of confidence and charisma.
Ashley King | Ballet, Contortion, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Tumbling
Ashley Renee King loves all styles of dance. Starting at the age of seven, Ashley began her training in Jazz, Lyrical, Ballet, Tumbling, Hip Hop, and Contortion at Dance Extensions Performing Arts Center (DEPAC) in Canonsburg, PA. She later added Pointe to her repertoire. A member of the DEPAC Competitive Team, Ashley won many outstanding awards for her dance achievements. Later in her career, Ashley auditioned for America’s Got Talent, Paula Abdul’s “Live to Dance,” and other national competitions. She has performed at several venues in the Pittsburgh area including Phipps Conservatory, the Washington County Symphony, and the Kumite Classic of Pittsburgh. Ashley has studied dance under the direction of Mia Michaels, Christopher Scruggs, Will Thomas, Chebar Williams, and contortion instructors Ska von Schoning, Angelique Echimeg, Alixa Sutton, and Betsy Wray Shuttleworth; she continues her dance education through many dance workshops.