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Today's Family Magazine

Wildfire Dance Studio

Wildfire Dance Studio has been impacting children through the art of dance for over 40 years! As a parent, you make choices about activities for your child – choices to make them stronger, to make them happier, to help them grow into successful young adults.  It has been their mission to provide classes that do just that . . . and that has been the key to their success.

Wildfire Dance Studio opened their Lake County location in 2018, but the program has deep roots in the area.  The dance program, which originated in Ashtabula County in 1980, had always had satellite locations in Geauga and Lake counties.  The decision was made in 2018 to make it permanent and they opened their doors at 1657 Mentor Avenue in Painesville. 

The studio owner, Scott DeCola, danced professionally and toured with Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, Joffrey Ballet II, Ohio Ballet and the Richmond Ballet.  Following his performing career, he joined the staff of Wildfire Dance Studio in 2014 under the direction of Mary Murtha, who originated the program in 1980.  DeCola had a lifelong dream to own his own studio and that dream became a reality in 2021 as he took over the well-established studio. Wildfire currently has two locations and over 300 students, with instruction for children ages 3-18.

Many students who continued dance in college have been very successful due to the “team” culture of the curriculum.  Wildfire offers classes in ballet, jazz, acrobatic arts and hip hop, but in addition to the styles most common to studios, they also have pom and combo classes.  “Most dancers who attend universities with competitive dance teams will need to be fluent in pom and kick.  Precision of movement is also key for collegiate styles.  Two of our 2022 graduates just made their college teams and scored very high because of their diverse training and knowledge in many genres,” said DeCola.

The Painesville location offers rec classes for ages 3-18.  Children who enjoy many activities including sports can also enjoy dance with the once per week format.  Curriculum is focused on creating an enjoyable experience for the students while improving coordination, rhythm, and agility.  Dance can build self-esteem and confidence, especially if the classes are structured towards that goal. 

Wildfire is also nationally recognized in competitive dance, winning the Studio of Excellence Award twice in 2022.  The high school division competes at studio competitions and also at The Dance Worlds in Orlando, Florida.  The younger Starz teams, ages 5–12, are also challenged with more advanced choreography set for the stage. “If rec students find that dance is more than a secondary activity, we have the competitive option for them.” said DeCola.  “We have something for everyone who enjoys music and movement!”

Fall classes begin on September 6 and students may enroll through the months of September and October.  If you are new to the studio and would like to try a free class, call 440-789-9541 for days and times by age. Visit for more information.