Marilynn Piazza Esper
Marilynn Piazza-Esper, co-owner of the Piazza Dance Company, was introduced to the world of dance at a very young age. Her first teacher, Eva McKeon, taught and inspired Marilynn for over 15 years. McKeon’s energy, vitality and enthusiasm for the art was contagious, and Marilynn soon grew to appreciate and love all aspects of dance. Marilynn has trained at the Lambert Dance Theatre and the Severo-Geiger School of Ballet. She has also studied with many master teachers from New York, Chicago and California and continues to regularly participate in professional teacher’s workshops. Marilynn, along with her sisters Gina and Denise, was a member of a professional Hawaiian-Tahitian group called the “Hapa Hula Dancers.” For 10 years, the group toured Michigan and the surrounding states, performing for many private and corporate functions.
Marilynn has been teaching jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theater and character dancing for 30 years and con honestly say that she has loved every minute of it!
Throughout those years, her students have won high honors in both regional and national competitions. The most recent accomplishment, her long-time solo student, Briana Bock, won the coveted title of MISS DANCE OF MICHIGAN-2010 in the prestigious Dance Masters of Michigan Miss Dance Competition. Briana went on to compete in San Antonio for the National Title of Miss Dance of America and placed #6 as a semi-finalist. Several other solo students of Marilynn have won coveted titles including First runner-up to the Teen Miss Dance of Michigan, Miss International Dance Elite, Special Awards: “Overall Top Performance” and several Outstanding Choreography Awards.
Marilynn’s group dances have also been the recipients of countless overall victories and cash prizes. In addition, her choreography has been recognized and awarded by professionals at both the regional and national levels for her creative JAZZ & MUSICAL THEATER choreography. Marilynn won the 2002 coveted honor of Overall High Score for her intense Senior Small Group- “Come Together.” In addition, in the summer of 2005, her Musical Theater Junior Large Group, “Mama’s Talkin’” won PLATINUM MEDAL and 1st PLACE OVERALL HIGH SCORE and also won ‘DANCE-OFF 1ST OVERALL and was presented with a SPECIAL AWARD: “MOST ARTISTIC PERFORMANCE.”
Marilynn is very proud of all her soloists and groups, and not to forget, she’s equally proud of the countless number of students she has taught over the past 30 years! Marilynn was asked in 2003, by the Farmington Players Barn, (a prestigious community theater organization) to choreograph their spring production of “ONCE UPON A MATTRESS.” The Farmington Observer critiqued it as: “the best musical we’ve seen at the Farmington Players in a very long time!”
Marilynn and her husband, Mike are the parents of two grown children, Michelle Martin, a former PDC instructor; and Mark, a physical therapist, who now lives in Chicago with his wife Claudia and their two children, Rebekah and their new addition, baby girl Bella, born July 21, 2010. Michelle and Ken martin, who lives nearby in Commerce Township, have one daughter, Abigail, who turned 6 years old this May. Marilynn and Mike enjoy babysitting for Abigail several days a week and also help in “home-schooling” her with reading, writing, math, science, art, piano and of course, Dancing!
Besides co-directing a business and teaching, Marilynn has enjoyed painting and playing the piano. Before the PDC opened in 1981, Marilynn was an avid and busy artist who sold some of her pieces at various local art shows. One of her acrylic watercolor paintings was also selected for display in the lobby of Henry Ford Community College. Marilynn loves music and the visual and performing arts equally, but in recent years, due to extensive involvement in dance and the business, she has not been able to pursue her musical and artistic talents. But she has not regretted for a moment, the path she has chosen to “chasse’” down! She loves dance, children, and teaching students of all ages, and looks forward to the coming dance year at Piazza Dance Company.