Center stage


Dusty Marshall completes lifelong goal of opening dance studio

Chelsea Hackett instructs Sierra Stice

Dusty Marshall began dancing at the age of five.

When she was a little girl, Marshall had one dream – to operate her own dance studio. With the help of her husband, David, Marshall has now opened Adagio Dance Studio in Westfield and is trying to instill her love of dancing into her students.

“It became an opportunity once we got were married three years ago,” she explained. “I needed to go for it now because I may never have an opportunity again.”

David said the opening of the studio has been an exciting collaboration for the couple, who completely renovated the space and installed spring floors.

“It’s fulfilling on a personal level,” he said. “She’s the happiest when she is in the studio. I can see a light go off.”

Marshall, who has been away from dance for a few years, said her return is “refreshing.”

“Dance has always been a part of me,” she explained. “When I wasn’t dancing I was going to ballets or somehow being involved in it. I feel like myself again, like I can be creative again … It doesn’t feel real.”

Marshall has 15 years of experience in world of dance, where she was trained in ballet and tap under the tutelage of Kathy Simpson.

“She was the best dance teacher and mentor,” she said. “Miss Kathy loved dance and set a stellar example for us to follow. She was always looking for learning opportunities for her dancers. I’ll never forget when she drove me to downtown Indianapolis to audition for Sleeping Beauty and also arranged for me to audition for classes at the Indianapolis Ballet Theatre.”

Marshall said the IBT was a pivotal time for her as a dancer where she learned from renowned instructor Yu Qin Hao of the Royal Ballet of China.

“I’ll never forget her warmth and genuine concern for her dancers’ well-being. I strive to do the same for my students as well,” she said.

Adagio stands for “a slow, unfolding movements performed with fluidity and grace.” Marshall said her academy is performance-based and focuses on creative expression through dance. Just as Simpson did for her, Marshall hope to provide her students with the greatest gift – dance.

Meet Dusty Marshall


Residence: Westfield
Birthplace: Whidbey Island,Wash.
Hobbies: Dance, biking, anything outdoors, camping and designing
What do you enjoy most about teaching dance: Seeing the students become more self confident and love dance as much as I do.
Favorite style of dance: Ballet
Favorite ballet performance: SwanLake.
Favorite food: Any berries, I love fruit.
What would you be doing if you were teaching dance: I’d be a mom and if I couldn’t be that, I’d be in project management construction.
Personal quote: “Those that don’t make mistakes work for those of us that do” ~ Mark Twain

“I want them to have something nobody can take away from them – self-discipline and self-confidence,” she said. “I’m still friends with the girls I danced with years ago. I’m hoping to bring that to Westfield.”

Adagio Dance Academy is located at 108AE. Main downtown Westfield. The studio is on the second floor and uses Good Life Café as its waiting room.

“As soon as we opened the doors for the studio, I knew it was the space,” she said. “We weren’t looking into opening anywhere else. We thought Westfield had a real need for our niche – older girls that want to focus on technique.”

Adagio Dance Academy insrtuctor Chelsea Hackett teaches ballet and tap lessons to Sieraa Stice and Isabella Duray. (Photos by Robert Herrington)

Classes are available for 3 year olds to adults and include pre-ballet, ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, pointe and pre-pointe ballet. The dance academy also provides a conditioning class – a mix of ballet, pilates and yoga – that gives adults another opportunity to exercise.

“It doesn’t hurt your joints or body nearly as much but you’re still getting that workout,” said Marshall. “Dancing is for everybody. It doesn’t matter how old or how much training you have.”

Clara Duray of Westfield has three daughters taking classes at Adagio. Duray explained that her children used to take classes in Fishers but the rush hour traffic made traveling difficult. The family then moved to a dance studio in Noblesville but had troubles with class times.

“I’m really excited to find them so close to home,” she said. “They’ve been very accommodating.”

Duray took dance classes as a child and hopes her children learn discipline. Although the family only recently completed their first dance lessons, Duray likes the style of Adagio.

“There’s beauty to it – expression through body,” she said. “My children love all the personal attention they get with smaller classes.”

Adagio Dance Academy, 108AE. Main St., Westfield, is still allowing sign-ups. For more information, call 867-3043 or visit


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