Footworks | Percussive Dance Ensemble Dance and Music

Educational Background/Training

Marsha Searle (Director) holds a BA in World Dance and History from Brigham Young University and has been a professional performing artist with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble for over 17 years. Starting as a principal dancer she have served as School Show Director, Rehearsal Captain, Company Manager, CoDirector, and now as Director. Marsha has 17 years of experience as a Certified teaching artist with Young Audiences of Maryland, performing in Arts-In-Education performances, teaching residencies, afterschool programs, and classes and is a Certified Wolf Trap Early Learning Teaching Artist.

Footworks’ Performing Artists include the Grammy Award Winning musician Mark Schatz and stellar musicians Jon Glik and Danny Knicely. Footworks Dancers include traditional dance experts Emily Crews, Agi Kovacs, and Marsha Searle.

The company has a reputation for exceptional performances, bringing the joy and energy of percussive dance and music to audiences worldwide and always performs with its own highly accomplished award-winning musicians. Footworks is recognized for over 40 years in Arts-In-Education and is dedicated to teaching and working with youth and adults of all ages. Footworks’ prides itself in making learning fun and accessible for all ages and skill levels and offers a wide range of services including theater productions, community concerts, festival performances, workshops, arts-integrated school assemblies and residencies, and youth and community outreach programming. Responding to the need for more culturally and ethnically diverse arts experiences and to serve a broader range of the population, Footworks presents multi-cultural music and dance in all performances, the company’s artists includes males and females, and is multi-generational and multi-ethnic.

About the Artist/Ensemble

Celebrating 42 years as a performing arts ensemble, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble is an internationally recognized, roots-based music and dance company showcasing the cultural diversity of percussive dance. Since 1979, Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble has delighted audiences of all ages and cultures around the world thrilling audiences as guest artists in the London run of Riverdance and representing American culture in Japan with the Smithsonian Institution. Footworks, recognized as pioneers in bringing traditional Americana music and percussive dance to the concert stage, has performed in numerous venues such as The Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Recently Footworks created and performed the opening production number, to a standing ovation, for the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Show, televised nationally.

Educational Program Description

“Keeping the Beat: Multicultural Influences in American Music and Dance”
Content Areas: Music, Dance, History, Social Studies
Footworks conveys the power and joy of percussive dance while illuminating the multicultural roots of American music and dance, including African, European, and Native American traditions. Live music and an exciting array of percussive dances are performed, including step dance, gumboot dance, tap, clogging, and hamboning, along with inspiring audience participation.

“Irish Roots and American Branches”
Content Areas: Music, Dance, History, Social Studies
Performing live Irish music and dance with their descendant American styles, Footworks illuminates the American story of traditions coming from the Old World and meeting others here, resulting in new traditions. Students learn the powerful role the Irish played in the shaping of the United States, and American culture.

“Roots and Rhythm: Exploring Cultural Diversity Through Traditional Dance”
Content Areas: Music, Dance and Movement, American History, Social Studies
This arts-integrated residency explores the diversity and commonality of the people of the United States. Dances and their histories from different cultures are taught in a fun and inviting way, bringing students together in rhythms and songs that build community and connect participants to one another. Teachers can choose dances from Ireland, Africa, America, Mexico, Honduras, Scotland, China and more. Singing, hamboning, and improvisational exercises are included in learning sequences that develop communication, motor skills, focus, and cooperation. Students will learn the vital role that music and dance play in history and the human experience.


  • All Ages
Skip to content