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Cyndi’s Studio celebrates 20 years

Its passion that has driven Cyndi Rist Roth to spend three decades teaching children dance, tap, flag, tumbling and twirling.

“Dancing has never felt like a job to me, it has always been a passion for me,” Roth said. “I’ll probably do this as long as I can, health wise.”

She was just 16 years old when she got her teaching certification in twirling and dancing from the U.S. Twirling Association. She taught with other studios before going out on her own in 1989, when she started Cyndi’s Studio in the school gym of Lombard Elementary.

She has also spent the past 31 years as an employee with National City Bank and is the branch manager in Coal Grove.

“Twirling is my favorite because that is what I started with,” Roth said. “Dance came along later.”

Her students range from 18-month-olds to 18 years olds. There is also a senior division for twirlers 19-29 years of age.

In her years of teaching, she has taught hundreds of students and now has a second generation of students.

Stephanie Kelley was a student of Roth’s when she was a kid and now brings her daughter, Breanna, from Wheelersburg to Ironton.

“It was something I wanted to do and I started with Cyndi when I was 4. I loved twirling,” Stephanie said. “And when she was little, Breanna didn’t want anything to do with twirling but she wanted to dance. And I didn’t want anyone but Cyndi teaching her.”

She said Roth is not just a teacher, but cares about every student she has.

“It’s just a big family and that is important to me,” Stephanie said. “I would not have anyone else teach her.”

Breanna, for her part, started with the dance but after a year got interested in twirling despite her initial reservations.

“I didn’t want to do it, I thought I was going to get hurt,” she said. “I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I do now.”

Now Breanna’s twirling goal is ambitious. She wants to twirl for Marshall University when she is college aged.

When asked what her favorite part was, Breanna’s reply was simple: everything.

“I just like it and I want to go far,” she said. “I like Cyndi. I enjoy dancing and being here.”

When she was 3 years old, Sara Cochran began as a student of Cyndi’s and now the 20 year old is an assistant at the studio, doing choreography.

“I do this for the pure love of what we do,” she said. “And it is different here, we have fun and we are friends here and we love to compete, but if we don’t win it is still fine.”

She said it feels different to go from being a student to telling other dancers what to do.

“But it’s a good thing,” she said. “I feel my favorite part is getting the routines together and taking them to the competition.”

Awards line the walls of Cyndi’s Studio’s new location on the second floor at 117 S. Third St. in downtown Ironton. But it isn’t all the studio has received.

“We have over 300 Ohio State Twirling team titles and over 50 regional dance titles,” she said. The studio has 23 national twirling titles including six first place titles from the Daytona Beach 2008 national competition.

Since competitive dance teams were added in 2000, the have taken 50 regional dance titles and 4 grand champion regional titles.

Cyndi’s Studio is going to celebrate a 20th annual recital this year and is hoping to have a reunion recital team with members from the past two decades.

“I enjoy watching children learn and grow,” Roth said. “And I feel fortunate to have been a part of so many children’s lives over the past 20 years.”