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Suzanne Dennis honored as Citizen of the Year

A longtime arts advocate and owner of a local dance studio was honored Thursday by members of the Bellefontaine Kiwanis Club.

Dennis Suzanne

DENNIS

Suzanne Dennis of Bellefontaine was recognized as Citizen of the Year. Robert Notestine made the presentation on behalf of the Club.

“Suzanne has touched many lives over the years through her work as owner and operator of the Detwiler School of Dance and her many civic activities,” he said. “Her life brings grace and the appreciation of the arts to her students and the community.”

Mrs. Dennis learned ballet from her mother, Kathryn Detwiler, and studied at the Schwarz School of Dance, home of the Dayton Ballet, and danced with members of the company in its early years.

Following graduation, Mrs. Dennis continued her studies with noteworthy dancers including in Chicago with Robert Joffrey, founder and artistic director of the Joffrey Ballet Co., and Gus Giodano of Giordano Dance Chicago. She also studied with Melissa Hayden, Violette Verdi and Maria Tallchief of the New York City Ballet, and with Ruth Ann Koessun of American Ballet Theatre.

Students of the Detwiler Studio have given many performances and demonstrations over the years, and all proceeds are donated to various organizations with a focus on enriching the lives of children.

Mrs. Dennis’ parents, LaVon and Kathryn Detwiler have been an important part of the Detwiler Studio, from its remodeling to set building. Mrs. Detwiler worked in the office for more than 35 years. Mrs. Dennis was married to her husband, the late John Dennis for 44 years.

She served on the original Board of Directors for the Community Concerts Association including as secretary and president and remained active on that board for 24 years until the series closed. She was also one of the founding members of the Bellefontaine Cultural Arts Commission, including serving as its president. She remained active on that board for 19 years.

As a member of the Rake and Hoe Garden Club, Mrs. Dennis also works to beautify the city, including signs and park areas.

“The Kiwanis members are pleased to honor Suzanne’s life and work in our community that has brought beauty to the lives of so many,” Mr. Notestine said.

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