POLAND — Nian Cadman Dake, 79, passed away Friday, May 6, 2022.
Nian lived an amazing life. Nian was more than a dance teacher for her students. She was a mentor, role model, friend and even a second mom. She was constantly beautiful, cheerful and always friendly. Today she is dancing in the sky.
Nian was born in Youngstown, where she attended Austintown Fitch High School and graduated with her many friends in the class of 1960. While attending Fitch, Nian was a member of the The National Honor Society, performed as a cheerleader in all sports, and was elected homecoming and prom queen.
Around age 5, Nian discovered her lifelong love of dancing and began taking lessons from local dance instructors, including her favorite, Billy Dickson. As Nian grew, she realized even more that she had a love of dance, particularly tap, and a love of teaching others her growing skill.
She began her professional career with a dance studio in her parent’s home basement on Aldrich Road. Her classes from Ella soon outgrew the basement and she moved from there to the basement of a local business in Austintown, then to a ground-level business building, and finally to the old Austintown airport office and hangar. Nian’s love for dancing and teaching flourished into a dance school with hundreds of students participating in many prominent local and national events, including numerous appearances at the Canfield Fair, the 1964 New York World’s Fair and 1967 Montreal Canada World’s Fair.
During the Vietnam War, Nian and her troupe made many trips to Chanute AFB in Illinois to perform for the troops at the USO and various air base events. During one such event, Nian performed with celebrity Bob Hope, during which Mr. Hope awarded Nian a certificate of appreciation for service to the USO.
Eventually, Nian’s talent and energy led her to Phoenix, Ariz., where she taught while working with Wanda Manville at The Tempe Dance Academy and eventually with her own “Contempo” dance studio. Nian was featured on NBC’s “Second Chance: Search for America’s Most Talented Senior.”
During that era, Nian became a well-known member of Dance Masters of America and was recognized for her talent, teaching skills and ability to judge dance competitions around the world, including producing an encyclopedia of dance steps that is still used by teachers today. It is a huge understatement to say that Nian had a very positive influence on many hundreds of young and old dance students, most of whom remember her to this day.
Nian was preceded in death by her loving and beloved husband, T. Gale Dake; her father and her mother, Edward “Bud” and Eldora Dunn Cadman; her brothers, Harry (Carole Neff) and Robert “Bob” (Judy Baker); and her sisters of her, Dorothy (Ray) Menning and Terry (Ron) Houser.
She is survived by her brother, Larry, Linda (Hodson).
Services will be held Saturday, May 21, 2022, at Lane Funeral Homes, Austintown Chapel, 5797 Mahoning Ave., Austintown, OH 44515. Calling hours will be 11 am to 1 pm, with a celebration of life immediately following at 1 pm Services will be live streamed at 1 pm at lanefuneralhomes.com on Nian’s tribute wall.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests contributions to The Nian Cadman Dake Memorial Scholarship Fund, c/o Larry Cadman.