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- Snapshot: Becca Marks
Occupation: I run the Ashurst Academy of Irish Dance with my husband, Craig. We opened in 2016, so it’s been a really exciting year. We teach kids as young as 3½ all the way up through championship dancers. Our oldest dancer is in her 20s. We teach them traditional Irish dancing, and we have our certification through Dublin to teach it. It’s is our passion, and it is nice to pass it down to others.
Family: I have two brothers, Paul and Thomas Dolzall, and we went to the Newtown schools and grew up here. My parents, Garry and Donnette Dolzall, still live here in town. I met Craig while on tour with Riverdance in 2009, and we got married in October 2014. We had our ceremony and reception in Mystic, which was so fun. We had friends and family come from literally all over the world.
Pets: I have a 7-year-old dog named Abbey. I named her that because the first professional Irish dance show I was in was in Abbey Stone Theatre in Busch Gardens. She’s a six-and-a-half pound Papillon. Papillon means butterfly, and she has these huge ears like butterfly wings. I bought her when I lived with my parents, so she became everybody’s dog. She stays with my parents, then gets to come visit us.
How long have you lived in Newtown? I moved here with my family when I was in second grade, in the early 90s. I loved growing up in Newtown and the community. Craig and I toured all around the world and it’s exciting to see all these different places, but it makes you realize what you have is pretty good, too.
What do you like to do in your free time? We love to go to the movie theater when we can, try different local restaurants and coffees, and watch a bit of Netflix.
Do you have a favorite book? I love the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. She’s very masterful with weaving characters and storylines throughout the books. Also, I’m a self-proclaimed Hufflepuff.
What is your favorite travel destination? Disney World and Disneyland are definitely my favorite travel destinations. I just love all the details that are put into everything. I even love all the restaurants and the resorts. It’s the happiest place on earth.
What is the best part about Newtown? I love the small town feel, like how we have the Edmond Town Hall movie theater, the General Store, and all the fun town events like the Duck Race and the Labor Day Parade — all the little things that make it feel like you are in an episode of Gilmore Girls make it fun.
Who has been the greatest influence in your life? My parents. They allowed me to achieve all of my dreams and goals and get where I wanted to go. I started Irish dancing at 14 years old and they backed me up and brought me to lessons; then all of a sudden we were going to Ireland for competitions. I appreciate all that they did.
If you could spend the day with one person, who would you choose and why? Hanging out with Walt Disney or John Lasseter [chief creative officer of Pixar]. They are both such innovators and ahead of their time.
Who is your favorite musical artist? I’ve always liked Coldplay. Every album they come out with never disappoints. Recently I’ve gotten into Sia, as well.
Do you have a favorite TV show? We’ve been watching a lot of America’s Got Talent, World of Dance, and So You Think You Can Dance. It helps us stay inspired to see dancers passionate about what they do.
What is your favorite food? I love the chips and salsa you get when you eat out at a Mexican restaurant. I always end up eating at least a whole basket of chips. It ends up spoiling my appetite for dinner before it arrives, but it’s worth it, and I end up with leftovers. My favorites are Mexicali Rose in Newtown and Hacienda don Manuel in Brookfield.
What is the greatest piece of advice you have ever been given? Do what you love.