Northfield Dance Studio makes sure two girls can keep dancing after losing their father

NORTHFIELD, Ohio. The Hudson family, facing an unimaginable loss, is receiving support from near and far so their two girls can continue doing what they love: dancing.

Every week, hundreds of students and their parents walk through the doors of the Center Stage dance studio in Northfield. The studio offers dance training in all styles of dance for children and adults, both for recreation and for competitions.

Mitchel Federan is the owner and director of the studio and he knows when a student or students have something special. He immediately saw it in 14-year-old Selina Lee and her 10-year-old sister, Alicia.

“I was just blown away by their potential,” he said. “They are the hardest working and so talented. I mean the undeniable talent of these two girls.”

Jordan Salisbury has been Lee’s teacher and choreographer for the last few years.

“I know these are the students I will remember forever,” she said. “Their passion is undeniable and they always support their teammates.”

But it was not only the girls’ tenacity that made them special, but also their father, Sinan, and mother, Ying.

“I rarely talk to a dancing dad, usually I deal with dancing moms,” Federan said.

He said he had never seen a father more determined to help his girls develop their love of dancing.

“He was here in the studio every day while they were dancing,” Federan said. “Watching them on our monitors, at every dance competition, again, not many fathers go to every dance competition, but he has always been there.”

Earlier this month, Sinan was involved in a bicycle accident that resulted in a fatal head injury. It was a loss that shook the entire Center Stage community.

Lily Detwiller, 15, dances with Selina and Alicia. She said the news of Sinan’s death was surreal.

“I thought it couldn’t be, it couldn’t really be,” she said. “We just wanted to be close to them.”

Federan knew that girls shouldn’t lose another love.

“All we can do is make sure they can keep dancing because everything else in their lives will change and we don’t want that to change too,” he said.

He knew they would need financial help to maintain the level of dance they are at now, saying that in 2021-2022, the Lee family paid thousands of dollars for their education, including group dances, ballet training programs, private lessons, master classes, competitions. entrance fees and much more.

“When a family turns into a single-family household, something like extracurricular activities should usually be the first thing they have to give up,” he added. “These are not girls who come here one day a week, these are serious dancers. They are here four days a week. We knew from the beginning that the financial burden that would fall on them now could be overwhelming.”

He created a GoFundMe page for the Lee family.

Donations came from their family on the center stage, the Hudson community, and dancers from across the country. The page raised over $19,000 in two weeks.

Federan said staff, friends and teammates are coming together to find out what else can be done.

On Wednesday, Salisbury hosted an alumni dance class, and dancers who may not have even known the Lee family danced for them.

“All former Center Stage dancers are coming tonight. It’s $20 per person, and all proceeds go to Lee’s family,” she said.

And a few doors down from the studio, hundreds of people turned up for a charity dinner at the Center Stage. Bussey Events provided the venue for the event and Spennato’s restaurant donated food.

Federan said he hopes to raise enough funds to keep the girls dancing in high school.

“I know that during this terrible time of grief, this will be a great way for them to find something permanent in their lives, and I know that dancing can be that for them.”

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