Fred Astaire Chagrin, Cleveland Ballroom Dancing

Our Staff


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.

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!

Angel Criado

Angel Criado (Dance Director)

Angel has been professionally teaching the various styles of partnership dancing (American and International Styles) for over 25 years and carries certifications with several National Dance Council of America recognized dance syllabi, the Fred Astaire Franchised Dance School curriculum, as well as with several independent dance organizations. He is currently working towards Licentiate certifications in both the Fred Astaire curriculum and the internationally recognized Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance organizations.

To give an idea of the type of teacher Angel is, he provided an e-mail from one of his amateur
couples…

“I really can’t express how much [my wife] and I appreciate the effort you make to … coach our dancing. When we decided to move on from group lessons and began working at [our local dance studio], we improved significantly. But then we plateaued again with [our instructors] and despite 3 years and nearly 300 lessons, didn’t qualify at full Bronze in any dance.”

“When you started working with us, we began to improve again. I believe your experience, standing in the dance community, study of motion and dance, provide you a vision of what our dancing can be, even with our physical limitations, that we are not able to see. I want you to know I value every moment of dance training I can have with you and appreciate that you drive me to your vision of our dance ability, even though it is sometimes physically taxing.”

Angel is presently an instructor and the Dance Director for our school, responsible locally for the quality of our instructors’ and students’ standards of social, competitive and exhibition dancing.

Shari Smith-Shemitz, ballroom dance instructor

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, ballroom dance instructor

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!

Diane Lambert
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Diane Lambert

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.