Cynthia Merrill School Of Performing Arts

History

Cynthia Merrill opened her first studio in Amherst, MA in 1965. Her second school was opened in Austin, Texas in 1967. In the 1970’s, she began teaching dance in the San Joaquin Valley for the Clovis Unified School District, Fresno City College and California State University, Fresno’s Extention Division. Her private studio in Fresno began in 1971 with a small group of adults from Fresno’s Medical Society and pre-school children whose parents specifically requested Cynthia as a teacher. The school has continued to grow into a full performing arts facility and reached its peak in 2000 when she entered a partnership with Julie Ann Keller and Chris Campbell. Together they opened the new Cynthia Merrill’s 16,000 sq. ft. cultural arts center at 4750 N. Blackstone.

Cynthia is a credentialed elementary school and junior college teacher with a B.A. in anthropology and a minor in dance from the University of Massachusettes. She did her graduate work in dance theater and education at the University of Texas. While in Austin, Cynthia became a credentialed teacher and taught English and mathematics. She moved to Fresno in 1970 as a migratory resource teacher developing a creative dance and creative writing program for the Pinedale-Lincoln elementary school in Clovis. In 1971, she took a position as an instructor of modern dance at Fresno City College. Her expertise in dance and reputation as a motivating teacher has lead Cynthia into many facets of the cultural arts community here in the valley.

Her private studio has been growing consistently since it opened in the 1970’s. She has continued to add well-qualified staff and various cultural arts programs culminating in a school that teaches everything from creative dance and theater to foreign languages. All the dance and arts programs were originally started and developed for the benefit of her two sons Cyrus Merrill, a teacher of American History and World Cultures and Nathan Merrill, a professional football player. She believes the arts can be an intellectual, social and creative tool and are an important source of enrichment for both children and adults.