Amy Hlavaty Belcher, 39, owner and artistic director of Abrabesque Academy of Dancing, believes that for those who have been given much, much is expected. “I just try hard to do my best,” she said. I have been blessed with many opportunities and many gifts to pursue them. Belcher has been teaching for more than 19 years. Her extensive dance training began locally and eventually expanded to include studies with notable teachers such as Frank Hachett, Jeffery Ferguson, Karen Gayle, Jimmy Kitchler, Sue Samuels, Finis Jung and Billie Angel. She was privately coached in New York City by Catherine Kingsley, director of the Anglo-American Ballet and former performer with the Royal Ballet. She regularly attends teaching seminars conducted by Rhee Gold, and is a member of Sam Beckford’s Studio Mastermind program.
In addition to her dancing credits, Belcher had a chance to work with Paul Sorvino on the set of “The Trouble With Cali” as a stand-in for Mira Sorvino.
Belcher is a graduate of Marywood University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration. Upon graduation, she took a job working in business. She continued to dance and teach locally, then in 2005, she opened the academy.
Over the past few years, she has taught dance classes at United Neighborhood Centers for preschool students and has volunteered with the Spotlight Theater Group run by this organization. She also produced choreography for the original theater production of “This Is It” and “The Little Mermaid”.
While under her direction, the students of Arabesque Academy of Dancing have participated in several regional parades, and the studio is a four-time winner of the Grand Marshall’s Award for their appearance in the Greater Scranton Jaycees Santa Parade. The school’s dancers have performed at many venues as gifts to the community.
Her parents Nancy and Paul Hlavaty have been mentors and play a great role in care for their grandson, Jacob, so Belcher can work evenings. “My dad always worked really hard and he instilled that in me. My mom went back to school when we started school. At the time, that was kind of unheard of, and it made me realize that there isn’t exactly a timeline on when you can do things in life” she said.
Her boyfriend, Bob Melnick, has been supportive of both her and Jacob, and he works through the business end to make sometimes difficult decisions. She has great friends, especially Sarah and Luis Samudio.