Dr. Carolynn's passion for dance began when she was a young child. She enjoyed following her mother (a former professional dancer and teacher in Chicago) around the house, dancing to her father's encouragement. She began pre-ballet classes at the age of four and, in time, added other dance genres such as jazz, tap, modern dance, Spanish flamenco, Mexican Dance, African dance, Latin dance and ballroom.
In 1970 she studied with American Ballet Theater in New York City and later, with the Stone/Camryn School of Ballet in Chicago. It was during this time that she learned the Russian (Vaganova) and Italian (Cecchetti) techniques.
In the early 1970s she opened Ballet Academy of Performing Arts and founded the Beaux Arts Ballet Company. She taught many students who eventually went on to become professional dancers throughout the United States. The Beaux Arts Ballet Company was very active and their repertoire included, Tchaikovsky's "Swan Lake," Chopin's "Les Sylphides," Rossini's Fantastic "Toyshop" which aired on WNIT, Bizet's "Carmen" with the Notre Dame Orchestra, Strauss's "Blue Danube" for a Marion Anderson reception when she performed at Notre Dame and "Holiday Fantasy" at the Morris Civic Auditorium. In the 1980s, Dr. Carolynn wrote and choreographed "God is Love," the Christmas story in classical ballet. This was performed three years in a row in the Bendix Theater at Century Center.
In 1986, Dr. Carolynn married Scott Johnson and moved to Philadelphia to pursue graduate degrees. Carolynn received a Doctorate in Dance Education from Temple University. A few years later, the couple moved to Virginia Beach where they toured the East Coast performing educational shows for children under the auspices of Young Audiences of Virginia. They were so successful in their History Alive show that Young Audiences awarded them Artists of the Year in 1996. They also trained other Young Audience performers.
In 1997 the couple returned to South Bend, Indiana and taught at Southwestern Michigan College in Dowajiac. During this time, Carolynn implemented a dance program at the college. A year later, they started Arts Alive Academy in South Bend. The school was successful. However, when Dr. Carolynn's father passed away she became the primary care giver for her mother. She decided to close the school in order to teach in her home where she could be close to her mother. She also taught part time at Bethel College (Dr. Scott was Professor of Communication) and Indiana University South Bend.
Dr. Carolynn was appointed Assistant Professor of Dance at IU South Bend in 2010. This full time position allowed her to implement two successful programs: a Dance Minor and a BFA in Theater with a Dance Concentration. She was the overseer of six part time dance faculty and taught ballet, modern dance, dance history, choreography and Latin dance. She also founded the IU South Bend Dance Company.
Dr. Scott passed away in 2011 and her mother in 2013. She continued to teach at IU South Bend. Eventually, she met Bryan Edington (composer, guitarist, singer), and married him in 2015. They have been performing together throughout the Midwest.
In June, 2016, Dr. Carolynn retired from her full time position at IU South Bend so she could spend more time with family and be more involved with the community. She continues to teach part time at IUSB and has once again, started her own dance school, Dance Nook and dance company, Wings of Dawn. She is very excited about this new endeavor and loves sharing her passion for dance with people of all ages. She believes It is never too late to begin something new. Every day we can be renewed like wings of dawn.
Dr. Carolynn has researched and written several articles on dance that she has presented at several scholarly conferences: These include: "Multicultural dance Education," "Female Empowerment Demonstrated in Flamenco Dance," "Incarnate Prayer: Sacred dance Defined," "Comparing and Contrasting Female Strength in Ballet and Flamenco Dance," "The Use of Gitano and Classical Stylistic Elements in the Work of Mariquita Flores and Victoria Flores Cooke," "All Our Relation: Native American Perspective of Creator Through Dance," and "Sacred dance as Communication of the Word." The title of her dissertation is Mariquita Flores and Victoria Flores Cooke: Two Prominent Women in the Development of American Flamenco Dance. Currently, she is researching how dance improves learning in children and how dance can mentally and physically help the elderly.