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Our History

Finding Inspiration in Every Turn

Creative Dance Theatre was founded in 1958 by Helen Hithersay. A Polish immigrant, she spent her time teaching international folk dances to the San Diego community, and wrote the book “Tales from the Old Country” which included several of these folk dances, memories, stories and some poetry in remembrance of her home country. From 1960 — 1969, Creative Dance Theatre was known as the “Clairemont Community Dance Workshop”, which then grew a performing troupe and the name “San Diego Children’s Repertory Dance Theatre”. In 1974, Hithersay retired and went on to walk across the entire continental United States.


The studio was then turned over to four of her teen students; Faye Allen, Teri Lee, Meredith Newsome and Cathy Evans. As the studio grew, they moved it to its current location, as the studio was previously renting space from the Pacific Beach Women’s Club. In time, Cathy left to join the Ice Capades, Meredith became a high school gymnastics coach, and Faye bought out Teri. As the sole owner, Faye continued to help establish the studio in its current location, and continued to direct it for 15 years. In 1989, Faye moved to Washington to earn her Masters degree in Education, become a school principal, music/theater/dance department head at a school for the arts, and teach private piano lessons. One of her students and the assistant director, Laura Roach, bought the studio from her and became owner and director.


Roach shortened the studio name to “Creative Dance Theatre”, which it has been ever since. She went on to lovingly guide the studio for 33 years, including through one of its most challenging times, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. In January of 2021, Laura Roach retired and moved to Idaho to be closer to some of her family, and her student and assistant director Erika Madero bought the studio to become the latest owner and director.

Our Philosophy

We believe that dance is a living art, something that is passed down through the generations. We honor our roots by teaching folk dances from different cultures, and by preserving our traditions as the studio has passed from teacher to student over the years. We do not participate in competitions, as we believe each student has winning attributes and value regardless of individual skill. We provide an intentional environment where children can be comfortable to express themselves and communicate their emotions through movement and dance. Our students develop self-confidence, dance technique, self-awareness, leadership qualities, and coordination while having fun and feeling successful. We offer a developmentally appropriate program where dancers can experience a variety of dance forms.


Our Teachers & Staff

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