Former Huntington dance studio owner being remembered

A Shelton woman who ran a well-known Huntington dance studio for 40 years will be remembered during a memorial service Saturday, May 30, at 10 a.m. at St. Lawrence Church, 505 Shelton Avenue.

The late Barbara J. Hillis taught about 100 students a year at the Barbara Hillis Dance Studio, according to her daughter, Judy Hillis.

The studio started with five students in the Hillis home in the Judson Street/Judson Circle area, “and from there just kind of developed,” Judy said.

Taught multiple generations

Barbara Hillis taught ballet, tap and jazz dance to students from age 2 to those in their 60s. In many cases, she taught multiple generations of the same family.

“The teens who stayed with her from being youngsters to their high school years were really proud they stayed committed to dancing despite all their other activities as they grew up,” said Judy, who taught at the dance school with her mother for 25 years.

Barbara Hillis died at age 83 on Feb. 25. She also was quite active at St. Lawrence Church. The dance studio closed in 1999.

'She he was far ahead of her time'

“She had wanted to be a Rockette but had a bunch of kids instead,” Judy Hillis said.
Barbara and husband Arthur L. Hillis raised eight children in Huntington. “She was far ahead of her time, finding a way to work and be home with us,” Judy said.

The Saturday Mass in celebration of the life of Barbara Hillis, open to the community, will be followed by a reception in the church hall.

Click below to read Barbara Hillis' obituary: