The Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival will be overseen by co-founder and Festival Director Jane Startzman, a former dancer and Executive Assistant to the late Heinz Poll with Ohio Ballet. Tuesday Musical Association of Akron is the financial manager for the dance festival.
Jane Startzman - Festival Director
Jane is Festival Director and co-founder with Dave Lieberth of the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival. She joined Heinz Poll’s Ohio Ballet in 1969, as a dancer during its second year and danced major roles in nearly all of his ballets until her retirement from dance in 1989. As a company member, Ms. Startzman was also selected to dance principal roles in works by other master choreographers including Paul Taylor, George Balanchine, Laura Dean, Robert Joffrey, Anna Sokolow, Ruthana Boris and Pilobolus.
She traveled with the company on tour throughout the United States, South America and Central America. As a guest artist, Ms. Startzman performed with Ballet Puertoriqueno, directed by Ramon Segarra, and the Tampa Ballet. From 1989-1999, she was Artistic Administrator/Company Manager of Heinz Poll’s Ohio Ballet . Ms. Startzman has been on the part-time faculty for The University of Akron and has also taught for the Dance Institute of The University of Akron. She owns licenses to 5 of Heinz Poll’s ballets, and has re-staged his “Elegiac Song” for the Ohio Ballet in 2001 and for Verb Ballets:Ohio.Contemporary.Ballet in 2005, 2009 and “Adagio For Two Dancers” in 2009. Ms. Startzman is a 2021 Arts Alive award winner as an Outstanding Artist in Dance.
Jonathon Hunter - Technical Director/Lighting Designer
Jonathon Hunter currently serves as the production manager for the Department of Dance at The Ohio State University. He has previously worked in this area for Cleveland Play House, Rubber City Theatre, and Weathervane Community Playhouse as well as with Neos Dance Theatre, Groundworks DanceTheater, Dancing Wheels, and Dance Institute at The University of Akron. He was first involved with the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival in 2008. He received his BA from The University of Akron and his MFA from The University of Virginia.
Dave Lieberth – Co-Founder
Mr. Lieberth co-founded the Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival with Jane Startzman and has managed the program for the City of Akron from 2006 until 2020. Without Dave’s devotion and dedication, we would not have a Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival.
For Dave, the festival has been a personal matter. Not only was he the stage announcer for Ohio Ballet’s final performance on August 6, 2006 at Goodyear Metropolitan Park, but in 1968, as a 21 year old junior at The University of Akron, he was a technician, overseeing the audio playback of music for the very first performance of Heinz Poll’s company.
Lieberth’s daughter, Kate Lytton had a professional ballet career and began her love for dance at the Ohio Ballet’s Summer Festival performances when she was very young.
Founding Steering Committee
- Dr.Margaret Carlson, Producing ArtisticDirector, Verb Ballets:Ohio.Contemporary.Ballet.
- Lana Carroll Haylock, Former School of Dance, Theater & Arts Administration, the University of Akron.
- Dave Lieberth, Co-Founder, Chairman, former Deputy Mayor, the City of Akron.
- Christine Mayer and Leslie Nelson, The GAR Foundation.
- Christine Meneer, Artistic Director, Ballet Theatre of Ohio.
- Neil Sapienza, Director, School of Dance, Theater & Arts Administration, the University of Akron.
- David Shimotakahara, Executive Artistic Director, Groundworks Dance Theater.
- Jane Startzman, founding Festival Director.