KAREN WILLES

Carousel Dance Studio


I was born into the world of dance, figuratively "born in a trunk." My parents were a vaudevillian "song and dance" team, mom a Highland dancer/piper directly from Scotland and dad a featherweight boxer turned tapper. My early dance education began in Cleveland at the age of 3 and continued with trips to cities like Chicago, Boston and New York to study with the best teachers the East had to offer. I began working as a dance class assistant at 11 and was given my own classes to teach at 16 at one of our 2 family owned and operated dances studios in the Cleveland suburbs. While teaching at several studios in the Cleveland area, I also performed in musicals at the Cleveland Playhouse, did club dates throughout Pennsylvania and New York as a featured dancer and was a member of the Cleveland Civic Ballet Company. Spending several summers as a teenager at a performing arts camp and dancing with the CCB Company were some of my happiest childhood memories. Owing to 11 years of violin lessons, I was able to utilize my dance training and music as a production assistant at WKYC-TV on televised programs that involved the world famous Cleveland Orchestra.

Teaching has always been my first love. After moving to California in the 60’s I worked in music production while teaching at several San Fernando Valley dance studios until I was able to invest in my own studio. I am the owner/director of Carousel Dance Studio in West Hills, California, which proudly celebrates its 30 year anniversary in September 2013. I have been blessed to work with some amazing students and am proud that my incredible staff and I have been able to pass on our passion for dance throughout the years. There’s a statement that says "Those who can’t do, Teach." I prefer this one: "Those who care, Teach." Passing along my love for dance has been it’s own reward and I hope to continue teaching for many years to come. I am grateful for all that life has brought me. I am a proud mother, a proud grandmother and a proud dance teacher. Life doesn’t get much better than that.