Karen L. Gates (Owner)
Karen has had a passion for dance since she was five years old taking Jazz, Tap and Ballet lessons. She continued dancing throughout her school years until the present. Karen met her husband, Bob, when she was taking Disco Dance Lessons, as he was her instructor. After they were married, they went on to competing with the Fred Astaire Dance Organization. Karen and Bob took many 1st place awards. She has worked at the Ohio Regional Office of Fred Astaire Dance Studios for over five years as an Executive Assistant to the Ohio Franchisor, Guy A. Schiavone.
Karen is excited to have the opportunity to open up her Fred Astaire Dance Studio right here in the Chagrin Area. She is looking forward to extending her love of dance to the residence of Chagrin Falls and the surrounding areas.
Bob D. Gates (Manager / Instructor)
Bob started Ballroom Dancing in 1977 as a student. His love for dance grew and he soon became a ballroom dance instructor. While teaching Disco at a local establishment in 1979, he met his wife, Karen. They soon married and have been sharing the love of dance ever since.
Bob and Karen have been dancing for over 30 years and have competed several times in regional Fred Astaire competitions, winning various 1st place awards. After competing as an amature, Bob became a Fred Astaire certified ballroom instructor. For Bob, dance is a great way to relax and have fun. Bob looks forward to having a fun filled lesson with you!
Shari Smith-Shemitz (Instructor)
Shari’s love of Dance began at the age of 7 when began taking Tap, Jazz and Ballet with the Neylon Dance Studio. At age 9, she began to heavily focus on ballet. She then studied at The Fine Arts Association in Willoughby under the direction of Ray and Jan Smith. She attended the University of Akron with a Major in Performing Arts and Ballet from 1977-1981.
Unfortunately, the shelf life of a Ballerina is short- lived and with life changes, she discovered the wonderful world of Ballroom! Taught, trained and certified through Fred Astaire Dance Studios since 1992. Shari has competed in numerous competitions throughout the country both with her students and as a professional. Shari would love to share her passion for dance with you!
Ryan Schultz (Instructor)
Dancing has always held a special place in Ryan’s heart. After enjoying social dancing for years, Ryan decided to broaden his horizons and become a ballroom dance student. As Ryan learned more about the vast ballroom world, he decided to turn his hobby into a profession. Ryan is now a Fred Astaire Certified Instructor. As Ryan continues to climb the instructor rankings in the state of Ohio, he also enjoys competing professionally. Ryan has taken two first place and one second place award in the Novice Division of Fred Astaire’s regional competitions.
Although Ryan is certified in all Ballroom styles, he specializes in Argentine Tango, Salsa, and Bachata. He would love to share his passion for these dances with you on a fun filled lesson!
Shannon Taylor (Instructor)
Shannon has been with Fred Astaire Dance Studios for 6 years. She has done choreography locally, competed and placed in rhythm and smooth categories. She, along with her fiancé Ethan Konig, often performs and teaches throughout the Greater Cleveland area. She has been a featured dancer on Channel 8, PRIDE Cleveland, NBA halftime performances, and more. Shannon started in theater and vocals at 5-years-old, has been training in belly dancing since she was 12, and began studying ballroom at 16. She has been known to put together local competitions, large events, and showcases. “I can’t imagine my life without dance in it, my world is a brighter color!
Everything is better when dance is involved.”
Ethan Konig (Instructor)
Ethan has been teaching and training in ballroom dancing for more than 8 years. He specializes in Theater Arts (lifts, dips and drops) and his favorite dance styles are smooth and International Standard. He has won awards in both rhythm, and smooth dancing competitions throughout Ohio, and nationally. “Dancing saves my sanity,” Ethan says. “It can make any situation better, and I can’t wait to pass that along to my students each day.” Ethan’s love of dancing shines through every moment of the day; and he can help you find the passion and joy in your life, too. He locally performs and teaches with his fiancé, Shannon Taylor, in the Greater Cleveland Area.
Colleen Juhasz (Instructor)
Colleen Juhasz has a Bachelor of Science and Masters of Education in Exercise Science. She has been involved in athletics and the arts throughout her life. She is an avid runner and believes in living by healthy behaviors and decisions. Colleen has enjoyed dancing since she was a child and feels it is a great expression of one’s emotions, feelings, passions and life. She believes in building strong foundations with fundamentals; being able to learn and show progression is the best way to show success. She is excited to be a part of the Fred Astaire Team and grow along with her colleagues and students.
Diane has been involved in the Health and Wellness Industry for over 25 years. Diane holds a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science, is a Certified Corporate Wellness Coach, and Certified Personal Trainer from the American College of Sports Medicine. She is a trained facilitator for the Freedom from Smoking Tobacco Cessation program and also enjoys teaching Zumba classes several times a week. Diane received her Zumba Certification in November of 2007 and has been teaching ever since.
As a Be Well Solutions Health and Wellness Coach, Diane has spent the last five years helping clients discover and implement the tools needed to transform their unhealthy lifestyle habits into healthy and sustainable lifestyle habits. This ultimately improves the quality of their lives. Diane loves to share her expertise at each of her Zumba classes.