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Campbell Dance Studio Celebrates 50 Years

June 25, 2008

By Lisa Fernandez, San Jose Mercury News, Calif.

Jun. 25–Lovers of tap, jazz, hip hop and all-things Broadway will gather this week in celebration of the 50th anniversary of a beloved Campbell dance studio.

About 100 students from Marie Stinnett Dance will perform Thursday through Saturday at the Campbell Community Center in a biannual affair. This year, the acts pay homage to music written by Ray Charles, Barry Manilow and the Cheetah Girls.

Since 1958, Marie Stinnett has taught young and old alike to dance the step-ball-change and pony step under the big lights. Even today, at age 72, she teaches the “junior division,” of kids younger than 12, and is just “a real presence” at her studio, said dance teacher Nicole Reed. Stinnett is regularly hired to help local theater groups infuse their dancing with passion, and coach competitive dancing troupes on perfecting their steps.

Stinnett was featured in a 1994 column in the Mercury News, and told columnist Murry Frymer that while she brushed elbows with stars, she was happy to teach children so that she could be married and raise a family. Her daughter, Karyn, is a teacher at the studio, too.

Stinnett was cast for minor roles in more than a dozen films including “The Ten Commandments” (with Charlton Heston); “The Joker Is Wild” (with Frank Sinatra); “How to Be Very, Very Popular” (with Betty Grable); “It’s Always Fair Weather” (with Gene Kelly); and “The Virgin Queen” (with Bette Davis).

“I am so proud of her,” said husband Bruce Stinnett. “She is absolutely

fabulous. She has influenced the lives of hundreds, if not thousands, of kids in the valley.”

IF YOU’RE INTERESTED in seeing “Dance at the Gym 2008: Celebrating Fifty Years of Dance,” performances will be held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m. at the Campbell Community Center Main Gymnasium. Tickets are $15. For more information, click on www.mariestinnettdance.com.

Contact Lisa Fernandez at lfernandez@mercurynews.com or (408) 920-5002.

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