GENERATIONS: Decades of dance

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 26, 2021

Trophies won over the years by students from Cyndi’s Dance Studio. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Roth has been teaching dance, twirling for 33 years

For multiple generations of Ironton families, Cyndi Roth has been a teacher.

The owner of Cyndi’s Dance Studio, located at 117 S. Third St., she has been teaching for 46 years.

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“I’ve been on my own for 33 years and got my license when I was 16,” Roth said.

A featured twirler when she attended Ironton High School, Roth said she helped out with children at local studios.

“And when I got a little older, I decided to do it on my own,” she said.

Roth offers baton, dance, ballet, jazz, tumbling, hip hop, lyrical and flag to students from 18 months into adulthood.

Roth says there is no upper limit on age for the sport, pointing out that she was part of a team that once won at a national competition after she was 40 years old.

Roth’s business has been at it current location for 15 years, one she had to customize by removing the ceilings to give more height to its rooms for twirling.

She said her students come from across the Tri-State area, with the furthest being from Rush and Ashland in Kentucky and Wheelersburg.

“My entire staff are all instructors who took classes from me,” Roth said, adding that a 6-year-old granddaughter in her family “has kept me going a bit longer.”

She said she has some third generation students from families she has taught.

“We have the grandmother, mother and kids,” she said. “And there are a lot of second generation.”
Roth, who retired from PNC Bank after 39 years, also operated Island Heat tanning and a tuxedo and dress rental business in Coal Grove

Her family includes a son, Blake, a daughter, Ariella, a sister, Teresa Belcher, who has been an instructor with her for 31 years (another instructor, Alice Patrick, has been with the studio the same length of time), her mother, Rose Rist, who serves as her secretary, and a sister, Beth Rist.

A major challenge her dance studio faced in recent years was the COVID-19 pandemic, when it was forced to shut down in March 2020, after a health order from Gov. Mike DeWine closed “nonessential businesses.

During the wait until it reopened that September, Roth said her instructors made videos for children, teaching the routines at no charge.

In April, her students came home with 12 first place team awards and one second place award following a competition at Sissonville High School in West Virginia.

Thirteen teams from the studio attended what was their first competition in two years, competing in twirling, jazz, hip hop, lyrical and solos, with all solos placing first or second in their age group.

Pre-pandemic, Roth said her students regularly went to national competitions in Ohio and Florida and have won national titles, as well as titles in regional competitions.

“We have had one or more Ohio State Twirling Championship titles every year since 1990,” she said.

And it was one of those championship teams who performed at an event in 2019, when her studio celebrated 30 years since its start in the basement of Lombard Elementary.

After all this time, Roth said two things have kept her operating for so long.

“The love of kids and the love of the sport,” she said.