Former students now the teachers

WHEELING – Since they were about 3 years old, Liza Jones of Tiltonsville and Megan Campbell of St. Clairsville have been dancing at the Toni Zeakes Performing Arts Centre.

Now, the local college students are joining the staff of the Center Wheeling business, which is about to kick off its 58th season of dance and gymnastics.

Jones and Campbell, who have many years of dance experience at the center, will now be adding new classes to the center’s already established curriculum of tap, jazz, ballet, pointe and gymnastics. Acting and Zumba classes are also available at the facility, according to owner Toni Zeakes.

“These two girls have been my assistants for a few years … they danced since they were three,” said Zeakes.

Jones, who was Buckeye Local High School’s feature twirler for the past three years and currently attends West Liberty University, specializes in baton and dance line work.

She will teach baton classes for those ages five and older.

Zeakes said the center also offer private lessons for older students who may be interested in becoming majorettes, feature twirlers or dance line members with their high schools.

“I’m excited to help girls so they can become twirlers at different schools … and help bring twirling back into the valley,” said Jones.

Campbell, who previously cheered for the St. Clairsville High School cheering squad and is now the cheering coach for the school, currently attends Ohio University Eastern.

She will also be conducting cheerleading classes for those ages five and older, and will work on jumps, cheers, and arm movements.

Campbell said she is delighted and “super excited” to be staff member at the center, noting she believes she is very prepared for her new role at the center.

Zeakes said the reputation of the business speaks for itself, as they have students who are third generation attending the center.

“I think what we have to offer is different,” she added.

Jones and Campbell join the center’s other instructors and staff, including Toni and Soozie Zeakes, Kelly Jones, Denise Howell, Rachel O’Brien, Danielle Helms, Marcie Lehrke, Lindsay Harms and Ed Street.

Zeakes said her students will once again perform the opening number for the Perkins Restaurant and Bakery Fantasy in Lights Parade this year.

She said they have performed the opening number for the parade for nearly three decades.

The public is invited to attend the center’s open house scheduled from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday. For enrollment information, call 304-233-2470.