About Us


The Heritage Dance Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that seeks to promote the performing arts in dance, theatre, and music through encouraging opportunities, presenting scholarships in the area of all performing arts, providing social dance lessons in ballroom, dance styles, and through productions in the community that benefit various charities.   The Heritage Foundation seeks to cultivate excellence within the performing arts.  The Heritage Dance Foundation is the largest non-profit, independent organization of its type in the US and continues to assist various professionals, amateurs, and organizers in granting scholarship funds for competition ballroom dancing as well as other related areas in the performing arts throughout the country.

The Heritage Foundation opened Top Hat Ballroom in 1992.  The instructors at the Top

Hat Ballroom have been teaching competition and social ballroom since 1992. This dance studio offers private and group classes as well as competition choreography, special wedding and cotillion instruction.  A youth program will begin in the fall of 2012.

In 2012, the Zwerling Performing Arts Center (ZPAC)  was opened in the Acme Theatre which was restored in 2011.  This restoration has incurred expenses exceeding $65,000 so far.  The Zwerling Performing Arts Center serves as a theatre for smaller venues as well as a place for performing arts groups to utilize for rehearsals for many events in Wayne County.  Currently, the ZPAC is in need of lighting, dressing rooms, and furniture to fulfill the needs of the community for a performing arts center.  Currently, the ZPAC is home to Encore Entertainment, a local singing group and the Miss Goldsboro Scholarship Pageant.

The Heritage Foundation has been produced several projects in the performing arts to include:

“Remember the Paramount” and “Broadway at Paramount” in 2007-2008

“A Time to Dance” in 2009-2011, a regional  television series

“Dancing Stars of Wayne County” in 2011 and 2012, an annual charity fundraiser   event to benefit the Wayne Education Network

  1. Board      of Directors

The Heritage Dance Foundation Board members include:  Dr. Charles Zwerling, Chairman; Melissa Zwerling, Vice Chairman; Patti Troy, Artistic Director; Alexis Zwerling, Treasurer; Tiffany Thomas, Secretary.  The Board of Directors include:  William Hooper; Ms. Susan Nobers; and Sadie Futrell.

  1. Staff      Members:

The Heritage Dance Foundation’s subsidiary, Top Hat Studio, contracts  with Mr. Norman Hooker; Mrs. Ella Mae Hooker; Ms. Joy Williams; Mr. Carl Williams; Ms. JoAnne Barbour; and Mr. Marty Barbour as instructors .  Ms. Patti Troy, a certified World Adjudicator,  is the Artistic Director of the dance studio.  Hailey Best, Miss North Carolina 2011 is the Director of the Acme Theatre and Jordan Ferraro is the Director of  the Zwerling Performing Arts Center.  Dr. Debbie Hall Grady is a retired educator and volunteer who chairs the Events & Fundraising Committee.


Charles S. Zwerling, MD, FACS is a board certified ophthalmologist in Goldsboro, North Carolina. He is the former Senior United States Latin Champion and Triple Crown Champion, a certified professional ballroom dance competitor, certified dance instructor with NADTA, and qualified national judge. He founded The Heritage Dance Foundation, a public non profit 501-c (3) corporation after seeking a need for further information and education about ballroom dancing throughout the United States.


Dr. Zwerling is the editor-in-chief of DanceWeek, the thirty five  year old national publication of the Heritage Dance Foundation. He serves on the Board of Governors of the National Dance Council of America.


In August 2007, Dr. Zwerling produced the first ever joint community based performing arts collaboration, “Remember the Paramount” then “Broadway at Paramount in 2008”. The shows were a major source of income in the rebuilding efforts of the new Paramount Theatre. Dr. Zwerling is the Executive Producer of “A Time to Dance”, television show
series and "Dancing Stars of Wayne County" produced by the Heritage Dance Foundation. 


In 2012, Charles and Melissa Zwerling bought and restored the old ACME Theatre in Goldsboro to serve as a performing arts rehearsal studio (ZPAC) for all the performing arts in Wayne County, NC. The 4700 square foot facility has a 2400 square foot floating dance floor, stage, and professional audio sound and recording equipment .


Currently, ZPAC or the Zwerling Performing Arts Center is home to Encore Entertainment, The Miss Goldsboro Scholarship Pageant ( member of the Miss North Carolina and Miss America Organizations), and the Dancing Stars of North Carolina.



Melissa G. Zwerling is the President of MAZ Distributors of Goldsboro, NC. MAZ

Distributors is a licensed and bonded NC vehicle brokerage firm doing business since 2002 and is listed in Who’s Who among American business women.. 


She is an award winning ballroom dancer who competes with her husband.. Melissa serves as Vice President of the Heritage Dance Foundation, Inc. and is the managing editor of DanceWeek, a national publication of the HDF for the past 30 years.


She has been the co director of the United States Dance Congress and  associate editor of ABILITY: Ballroom Dance Journal. In 2007, Melissa co-produced and danced in the shows, “Remember the Paramount” at Wayne Community College in 2007  and “Broadway at Paramount” at the Paramount Theatre in 2008.


Due to her steadfast support of the arts, the stage at the new Paramount Theatre is the named donation in her honor. She is also the Co-Producer & Associate Director for  “A Time to Dance”.  Melissa was the Co-Producer and served as the Head Judge for the production of "Dancing Stars of Wayne County" in 2011.