SUSAN DODGE – DJ Sparkles, Line Dance Instructor, Choreographer
Susan is currently teaching line dancing at Concord Senior Center, Walnut Creek Civic Park, and Napa Senior Activity Center. See section labeled “Class Schedule” for days and times. She teaches all levels from easy beginner to intermediate.
Sparkles began tap dancing and ballet at the age of 4, and has been dancing ever since. Before her retirement, Susan owned and operated the Academy of Dance in El Sobrante where she taught tap, ballet, jazz, tiny tots, and tumbling for ages 3 and up for 12 years. She taught 25 classes per week, and choreographed new dances each year for each class to perform in the annual recitals. In addition to teaching, and operating the dance studio she simultaneously owned and operated a Costume rental shop that also sold theater accessories, dancewear, dance shoes, and costumes. For over 30 years she performed as a singer, dancer, actress, and choreographer in community musical theater productions throughout the SF Bay area. Favorite roles included Mame, Annie Oakley, Hippolyta (A Funny Thing Happened…), Dominique (Lucky Stiff), and many more.
After moving to Benicia, she began taking line dancing classes in 2004, and took over the class in 2009 at the Benicia Clock Tower. She started teaching the Napa line dance class in 2015 at the Grange, and began teaching in Concord in 2019. For 3 years she has been a member of the Golden Follies, a precision chorus line troupe, which performs in the SF Bay Area several times per year.
At the Vegas Dance Explosion 2016 (an annual 7-day convention in Las Vegas for all levels of line dancing), Susan won the choreography competition in the Beginner Division with the dance: “Run with the Scissors.” The following year she was a guest instructor. In 2018 she became a member of the staff as a DJ. She has also been a guest instructor at “Boogie ‘til the Cows Come Home,” an annual workshop in Corning, Ca directed and produced by Michael Barr and Michele Burton. She is delighted to be a DJ once again at the Vegas Dance Explosion 2020 at the Westgate Resort and Casino, thanks to Doug and Jackie Miranda, the event directors.
In addition to these events, Sparkles has been the dance workshop instructor at the Performing Arts Committee’s annual 4-day drama workshop since 1996. In 2014, she was asked to be the costume designer for the musical South Pacific in Pittsburg. There were over 40 people in the cast with several changes each. It was an enormous task which took close to 300 hours working day and night (many all-nighters sewing). As a result she won a Shellie for best costume design for a musical in the SF Bay Area.
In March of 2020, shortly after the Covid 19 shutdown began, Susan continued teaching by recording short instructional videos for YouTube. She now has over 172 videos of line dances that include slow step-by-step instructions followed by a demonstration of the dance with music. See a listing of videos on this website.
Susan “Sparkles” Dodge (aka Susan Amacker) has choreographed several line dances including: One Smile, Cracklin’ Rosie, Glory and Grace, A Little Glory and Grace, It Ain’t Nothin’, Crazy Beautiful Life, Run with the Scissors, Kick Up Your Bare Feet, I Saw Her Standing There, She’s Better Looking When You’re Lonely, Skinny Women Ain’t Hip, The House that Built Me, The Clapper Song, Folkabilly Shuffle, Twenty-Thousand Roads, Ain’t That a Kick in the Head, I Married Up, Adalida EZ, Achy Breaky #5,297. It turns out it’s so much easier than choreographing for 25 classes/week at the studio she used to own.
Susan resides in Benicia, CA with her husband of 10 years. She has 3 grown children, and 4 grandchildren.