Ms. Marcia began her dance education with the Alabama Ballet Academy, Birmingham Ballet and Glen Studios. When she was in the 7th grade, she was introduced to gymnastics. When her parents said she had to choose between dance and gymnastics, she chose gymnastics. She competed all over the southeast with Vestavia’s gymnastics team, where they ranked 2nd to the team coached by the current Olympic gymnastics coach. She returned to dance while at UAB, working on her degree in Early Childhood Education, when a church friend and Corky Bell owner asked her to become an assistant teacher and dance with the Corkettes.
Through the years Ms. Marcia has taught dance and gymnastics classes, worked the desk and driven for after school pick-up for other Corky Bell owners. In 1999, she became the owner of the Homewood Corky Bell Dance Studio. Since then, she has taken on many other roles around the studio. Ms. Marcia loves working with children and providing a positive atmosphere for them to learn to work with others and develop their love of dance. Corky Bell is a family, where we love each other and help each other in whatever way we can.
Ms. Catie has been dancing with Corky Bell for 14 years. While attending Homewood High School, she was a member of the band and the Star Spangled Girls, where she participated in the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Parade and Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, as well as Disney and Universal Studios Parades. As a Star Spangled Girl, she participated in the All Star Competition in Louisiana, where they received all blue ribbons. Ms. Catie’s dance education includes classes at Homewood High School and a summer intensive at Birmingham Ballet. She currently attends Birmingham Southern College, where she is pursuing a degree in Elementary Education. Ms. Catie has been teaching at Corky Bell for 5 years, where she teaches preschoolers through teens.
Ms. Starla started dancing at the age of 4. She took tap and ballet for 3 years at The Dance Academy in Leeds, AL. This is where her love for dance began. After her family moved to Irondale, AL, she attended Dancemakers School of Dance through high school, adding jazz, cheernastics, lyrical and swing. While at Shades Valley High School, she was a part of the dance line for 4 years. She was the co-captain her senior year and choreographed her dance solo in the half-time show. A few years after graduating, Ms. Starla started working at the Fairfield Corky Bell, as the secretary and as an assistant teacher. She has been teaching at the Homewood Corky Bell since 2018. Her sons Oliver and Fisher take a tap and ballet combo class here, as well.
Ms. Lana has been dancing with Corky Bell for 16 years. She attends Homewood High School, where she is a member of the band and a Star Spangled Girl. She has participated in Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, as well as Disney and Universal Studios Parades. As a Star Spangled Girl, she has participated in the All Star Competition in Louisiana, where she has won All Star Dancer twice. Ms. Lana has been teaching at Corky Bell for 4 years, where she teaches preschoolers through teens. She is passionate about teaching, because of the great influence her teachers have had on her and wants to do the same for her students.
Ms. Melanie teaches baton, tap, jazz and ballet. For 20 years she has trained dancers of all ages and levels. She received her dance training from Genny's School of Dance in Alexander City, AL. Ms. Melanie started teaching baton in Alexander City, while she was a majorette at Benjamin Russell High School. She attended many Allstar camps and won several twirling competitions. She continued her dancing while she attended UAB, teaching private baton lessons and preparing many for auditions. Ms. Melanie's love for dancing and children shows in every class she teaches. She believes dance is a beautiful way to make friends, learn teamwork and enjoy life.
Ms. Cassie grew up in Virginia, dancing at Balletnova Center for Dance, where she danced through high school. After high school, she continued her dance education with The Richmond Ballet as a trainee. In 2018 she moved to Birmingham, to dance with the Alabama Ballet. She is currently dancing with the company while working towards an Exercise Science degree. This is Ms. Cassie’s 2nd year teaching ballet at Corky Bell. Ms. Cassie says “Teaching ballet has allowed me to share my love of dancing with children, and I look forward to continuing to do that!”
Mr. Tucker grew up in Spokane, Washington, where he began dancing ballet under Dodie Askegard and later at Spokane Ballet Studio with Sara Donally. He has attended multiple summer intensives on scholarship, including American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, and Ballet West. After high school, he was accepted as a trainee with Ballet West for their two-year program. In 2020, he then joined Alabama Ballet as an apprentice and was promoted to company dancer for the 2021-2022 season. Mr. Tucker is excited to be teaching ballet at Corky Bell and to share his love for dance with the students.
Ms. Kaitie grew up near Huntsville, Alabama, where she danced at Soles Dance Center for 16 years, competing for 8 of those years. She was involved in the Sparkman High School Theatre Program and volunteered at the Merrimack Performing Arts Center for 4 years. Ms. Kaitie also loves working with special needs children. She currently attends the University of Alabama in Birmingham, where she is pursuing a degree in Kinesiology. After completing this degree, she plans to pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy. Ms. Kaitie has been teaching preschoolers through teens for 3 years. Her favorite styles of dance are contemporary, acro and hip-hop.
Denise Merrill Katz
Denise began as a Corky Bell dancer at the age of 7. She started teaching for Corky Bell after she graduated from high school, and has now been a dance educator for over 35 years. Her dance education includes classes at Homewood High School, University of Alabama, Los Angeles and New York, where she was able to take dance classes from some of the most well known professional dance instructors. She was able to participate in several special performances, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, a Dallas Cowboys half-time, the Atlanta Falcons and dancing on top of the World Trade Towers. She has been a Miss Alabama Dancer and Assistant Choreographer, taught many high school dance teams, competition teams and camps at Birmingham Southern, Birmingham Children's Theater, Birmingham Girl's Club, and Jacksonville State University. Throughout the years she has taught at schools, daycares and other studios and does individual choreography for schools, pageants and competitions. She has also been a professional judge for Dance Masters of America.