School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration Faculty 

Read our faculty bios and see what makes them stand out from the crowd

Dance Faculty 

Theatre Arts Faculty

Arts Administration Faculty

Administrative and Production Staff

Frances Donatelli, Administrative Assistant

Frances Donatelli joined The University of Akron dance staff in 1992. She assists the Director, manages the Dance office, and assists students. 

Danny Durst

Danny Durst is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a BFA degree in Art and Technology. He was active in the visual arts at OSU contributing pieces to solo and group shows while working as a student assistant in the Holography Lab with Art and in the Multimedia Lab with Multicultural Services. He was also a founding member of the student improvisational group, Talking Monkeys, and an international exchange student for a semester with Academie Minerva. Following graduation and a thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail, he worked with graphics and production at two different sign companies and later in the Reprographic Department of American Greetings.

His focus shifted from visual to performing arts with positions offstage at Dobama in Cleveland Heights, Beck Center in Lakewood, and the better part of a decade with Cleveland Play House. Amid studies towards earning an MA in Arts Administration at The University of Akron, Danny worked with New World Performance Lab on a two-festival tour in Poland, as a theater manager overseeing three venues at the Edinburgh Fringe, as a coordinator supporting the ACDFA conference in Akron, and as a coordinating producer with The University of Akron Steel Drum Band’s “Hammer and Steel” project filming in Trinidad and Tobago. He returned to Cleveland Play House as the Assistant Director of Production before finishing his thesis, “A Proposal for Securing a Sustainable Future for Blossom Music Center” and returning to The University of Akron as the Theatre Technician with the School of Dance, Theatre, and Arts Administration.

Danny maintains active outside of work having served on the Board of Directors with ANTIC (Actors-N-Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls), OCTA (Ohio Community Theatre Association), and the West Hill Neighborhood Organization. He is most notably an ongoing volunteer with Actors’ Summit, Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, and as a member of the Cuyahoga Falls Community Choir. When time allows, he could be planning the next trip having already visited over 40 states and 30 countries. There will always be a next project waiting in his century home in the historic West Hill neighborhood of Akron.

Christina Foise, Manager of Dance Institute

Christina Foise has a B.F.A. in dance from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and an M.A. in instructional technology from The University of Akron. She was a soloist with the Cincinnati Ballet Company, New Orleans City Ballet, and U.S Terpsichore Theatre Ballet (New York City) and was featured in productions of Nutcracker, Giselle, Paquita, Coppelia, Swan Lake Act II, Aurora’s Wedding, Pas de Quatre, Les Sylphides, and Balanchine’s Serenade, Concerto Barocco, The Four Temperaments, Valse-Fantasie, Donizetti Variations, and Raymonda Variations. Prior to becoming Manager of Dance Institute, Ms. Foisie was a prominent member of the Dance Institute faculty under the direction of Gena Carroll and Lana Carroll Heylock and adjunct faculty for the UA Dance Program. Ms. Foisie continues to teach Ballet and Pointe technique for The University of Akron’s degree-granting Dance Program and is also co-instructor for Digital Technology for Theatre and Dance.

Chris Hariasz, Technical Director

Chris Hariasz has a Master’s degree in science and arts administration from Drexel University in Philadelphia, a graduate degree in law from Marie Curie-Sklodowska University in Poland, and a state certificate as a Theatre Instructor of First Category, from Lubland, Poland. He worked at the University of Pennsylvania prior to coming to Akron.

Irene Mack-Shaffer, Costume Manager

Irene Mack-Shaffer has a B.A. in music with a focus in theatre from The University of Akron. She coordinates the UA Costume Shop and helps to design costumes for the University’s dance, theatre, and opera programs.