Dance Fusion celebrates the art form
By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski, Foothills Focus Executive Editor Mar 27, 2022
Dr. Linda Simon grew up watching musicals starring Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
“My parents were huge dance and musical theater fans,” she said. “Growing up in New York City, we would go to Broadway shows three to five times a year.”
Simon was inspired by her mother who saved every Playbill from the Broadway shows she attended in the 1950s. Simon’s love of her mother and musicals is reflected in Dance Fusion, a Scottsdale dance, fitness and yoga studio for adults, at 7601 E. Gray Road, Suite B-C.
“I took 25 of the best Playbills and made a collage back in my studio,” she said.
Simon does not have formal dance training but took jazz and tap classes with Fred Kelly at Pace University in New York City. Starting college at age 16, Simon is a chiropractor in Scottsdale. So, to run Dance Fusion smoothly, she hired the best in the business for Dance Fusion.
“I found a dance studio eight years ago that had adult classes,” she said. “I went for a year and the studio closed. People were heartbroken when the studio closed. I didn’t want to let this go. So, within 90 days, Dance Fusion was created.”
When Simon renovated the studio, an old karate dojo, she was touched by the outpouring of support. More than $18,000 worth of wood was donated to her.
“It was a miracle, miracle of miracles that helped us get this place together,” she said.
“Dancers are a very loving community. I’ve never seen anything like this. Dance Fusion has been a labor of love since the very beginning.
“Other studios shuttered, so people relocated to attend Dance Fusion. That’s how we’ve expanded. It’s been phenomenal. It’s been like a miracle. We have this great artwork in the studio. It’s all about love and joy. That’s what dance is — love and joy.”
Dance Fusion Teen Division/Dance Fusion Youth Academy is a noncompetitive developmental dance program for teens and youth. It takes a different approach.
“Most of the dance studios have a similar business model, where the kids come in really, really hungry and they pick the ones who are dancers and get them into competitive programs,” she said.
“The kids are competing every single year. With the competition schedules, there’s no time to dance during the summer.”
Teachers and students told Simon that that rigorous program is stressful.
“The studio started as adults only,” she added. “We do have the youth students.”
Dance Fusion Studios is hosting “Dance Dance Fusion Revolution” dance festival and celebration of the arts on Sunday, April 3, at Cactus Shadows High School.
The two-hour family-friendly performance showcases more than 70 adult, teen and youth performers in dance, music and musical theater, featuring local talent and internationally acclaimed performers and choreographers. Performers from other studios will also hit the stage.
Also featured are vendors, raffles, prizes, discounts on Dance Fusion class packages and memberships.
“Dance Dance Fusion Revolution” celebrates the love of dance and video games. It will feature numbers in ballet, tap, jazz, musical theater, hip-hop, Bollywood, gypsy folk, Indian classical, belly dance, contemporary and lyrical.
“This is a jam-packed show,” Simon said. “We have 36 routines. We’re also going to livestream it so families on the east coast can tune in, and grandmothers and grandparents can watch their grandchildren dance if they want to. The showcase brings everybody together—other outside groups, different dance studios that have relationships with the academy.”
The show will serve as an outreach to the greater dance community, she said. The lobby will have vendors selling items like dancewear and jewelry.
“It’s a really fun environment,” she said. “It’s a blast. Everybody who comes to the show gives such amazing feedback.”