Photos and article by Jan Cox

[media-credit id=53 align=”alignnone” width=”300″][/media-credit]  Joan Zuehlke began dancing at six years of age.  Born and raised in Pasadena, CA during World War II, when money and goods were scarce, she took lessons in Character Dancing from a Spanish troupe because it was inexpensive and close-by.  She later began her training as an adult through the recreation department.  After marrying Fred Zuehlke, the couple moved to Redding, CA and later to Burney where she used her talents to teach as well as raise their family of three boys. As their sons grew, the Zuehlke’s knew they must move to a town with a high school and soon settled in Susanville where they have lived ever since. Here they began a business, Tinkers to Teens, and she opened her dance studio in 1973. Using the Cecchetti method, the well known Italian method in classical ballet, she has taught here for 40 years. With this method, she is enabled to teach good classical ballet so her students will always be able to find a place and be accepted anywhere, worldwide. Joan says, “I believe in the art of dance for the discipline it offers.”  She also suggests that it gives the students who enjoy dance a beautiful way to express themselves as well. If her students continue on with her through the years, they will have the quality education necessary to dance anywhere and the training to become teachers themselves. Her studio is located above the garage on the lot of their beautiful Victorian home at 110 S. Gay Street. It is here that she teaches children from 65 families from the area.  This year approximately 150 primary and intermediate students will also be taught by three of her advanced students while they in turn, earn their certificates. These student teachers, Samantha Husky, Sarah Salem, and Jillaine Singleton have been with her since they were between 4 and 6 years old. The walls of her dance studio are lined with beautiful pictures of the ballerinas and tap dancers she works with during the week.  These children just completed a dance recital which included the Peter Pan Ballet, Sleeping Beauty, Raymonda, and for the advanced students, Variations from Swan Lake. Tap dancers performed Memories from 1930-1999. The recitals are open to the public. For more information on class schedules, rates, and prices of lessons, the yearly calendar of dance events, studio etiquette, dance categories, and further information on this dedicated teacher, go to  or call 530-257-3197 or email to [email protected]