UTICA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) – Eyewitness News was made aware of an alleged incident having taken place at a dance competition held at the Stanley Theater over the Mother’s Day weekend.

Dominique Dawkins, owner of Dominique’s Dance Creations in Syracuse, has accused a Utica Fire Marshal of unwarranted invasion of privacy in the dressing room area, and undue attention toward her dance team.

Dawkins noted that the Fire Marshal attempted to get into the dressing room where children were in various stages of dressing for their stage performances; she says that the pretense for entry to that dressing room by the Fire Marshal was to go through the dance team’s bags, despite all bags having already been checked by Stanley security (in order to enter the building).

Dawkins contends that it was only her dance studio singled out by the Utica Fire Marshal.

Her concerns have circulated through the dance community – even reaching North Shore Massachusetts.

Some are calling for a boycott of further events at the Stanley and/or in Utica. However, multi-day events bring in hundreds of people to the area and generate a good deal of revenue.

Eyewitness News sat down with Dawkins on Wednesday, to hear more from her side of the story, and where the situation currently stands.

She says that she has reached out to the Stanley Theater and is waiting for a response, while the Utica Fire Department’s Chief, Scott Ingersoll, told her:

“He is now in the process of investigating,” she said, “So, I’m gonna be waiting to hear back from them.”

Dawkins says that she is also waiting on a reply from the director of the competition, Shaun Moe. When we spoke with him via text message on Wednesday afternoon, he said that he was waiting to speak with his lawyers before getting back to us.

After marinating on the situation for a couple weeks, Dawkins adds that she’s usually not big about posting on social media but felt like she had to do something.

“After the competition, the fact that nothing transpired – like there was nothing that was said and or done – didn’t sit well with me,” she explained, “And I’m like, well that’s not fair because had you like felt the feelings that my dancers and I felt, it would’ve been handled differently.”

“It was like – we spent the money for the venue, let’s make sure we can keep the peace long enough to get through the weekend.”

She continued, “So I feel like, low key, I was looking for support so that I knew that I had backup. You know what I mean?”

“Because if I’m fighting this battle alone, nobody’s going to listen to me.”

Some comments on social media say to boycott Utica and the Stanley Theater, and while Dawkins says this makes her feel supported, she just wants to see something done by UFD regarding Fire Marshal Gerald Foster.

“This man has been with the Stanley for years, and this is not the first time there’s been a complaint,” said Dawkins, “So, to be this close, and work in your company, like that’s telling me you don’t care about the clients.”

“I think that after the first incident, it should have been taken seriously and he should have, I mean, obviously maybe you can’t remove the Fire Marshal, but you can say, ‘Hey, we’re gonna call the Chief.’”

And that Foster gives off every vibe but that of safety.

“If I was in a house fire and I saw him at the other end – I’m going back into the fire,” she said.

“I would rather try to find my own way out through the fire than go to safety to him, because he gives off everything but safe.”

“I feel creeped out when I’m around him,” she explained, “I feel taunted, and I feel like I have to watch my back.”

She concludes by saying that she will personally wait to hear from Chief Ingersoll by early next week at the latest, but in the meantime, she’s not giving up.

“Without even knowing it, I’m the one that needs to say something,” she said, “You know? So, I will.”


Eyewitness News has been in contact with the Fire Chief, Scott Ingersoll, who said, “At this time the city, on its own initiative, has started a precautionary outside investigation into this matter. As with any investigation into a city employee, it is a personnel matter, and we are unable to comment on it at this time.”

The mayor’s office could not comment either, but says they too are looking into these allegations.