Owner / Directors
While living in New York City, Carr was on scholarship at Steps on Broadway, where she served as an assistant manager. After performing and training in New York City, Carr moved to Ann Arbor to dance professionally with the Parker Copely Modern Company, as well as Jazz Dance Theater. One of her career highlights was being named “Michigan Dance Teacher of the Year” in 2001.
Teaching since 1976, she has won numerous National and Regional Honors, and has students dancing professionally in Ballet & Modern Companies, as well as Broadway Shows and National Tours. Carr also has numerous students with studios and companies of their own. She is in demand as a Guest Teacher and has taught for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival, Cecchetti Summer Workshops at Michigan State University, Hope College, and Cleveland Ballet, Detroit Windsor Dance Company, South Dayton Dance Theater, Macomb Arts Festival, Badgerette Dance – Milwaukee, and Performing Arts Dance Theater.
She served as the President of the Northern Michigan Dance Council for 8 years, facilitating scholarships and performance opportunities for Traverse City Area dancers.
Sahra Turner is a native of Australia where she was a serious ballet student for 16 years. Sahra performed with the Australian Ballet Company before moving to Northern Michigan. In addition to her training in Australia, Sahra has also studied with Susan Buck, Betsy Carr, and Melinda Baker. She has been teaching at Dance Arts Academy for since 2002.. Sahra serves as a Rehearsal Director for Company Dance Traverse, and our Nutcracker Performances. Everyone at DAA values her attention to detail in her student’s early training. Sahra’s students are known for their lovely training, and fun, yet disciplined work ethic. We are thrilled with all that Sahra has to offer our dancers!
Laurie Murphy has been dancing all styles of dance since the age of three and started teaching at age 16. She spent summers dancing in Chicago and moved there after High School graduation to dance and train with the Gus Giordano 2nd Company. After relocating to San Diego, Laurie taught throughout the area for 10 years and subsequently owning her own highly successful studio, The Dance Connection, for 10 years before she moved to Traverse City. Co-Owner Betsy Carr and Laurie danced together at Betsy’s Mom’s Studio in Howell when they were young. Laurie will teach Creative Movement/Tiny Tap Combo Class (ages 3-4) and Pre-K Ballet/ Tap (ages 4-5) as well as a great Adult Tap Class on Monday’s. We are thrilled to have Laurie on our Teaching Faculty.
Welcome Sarah Wolff, formerly of the National Ballet of Canada to our DAA & CDT faculty. A native of Northern Michigan, Sarah began her training at DAA with Sue Buck & Betsy Carr. She moved to Toronto at the age of 13 to attend The National Ballet School full time. After graduating with honors, she furthered her training through NBS’s post secondary program. During that time she was a Guest Artist with The Dutch National Ballet before becoming a member of The National Ballet of Canada. She performed with them in Toronto & internationally for 7 years. She also danced with BalletMet in Columbus and has performed lead roles with The National Ballet of Canada, Ballet Minnesota, and BalletMet in addition to free lance and commercial work in Toronto and NYC. She completed Fletcher Pilates Teacher Certification in Matwork I & II, Advanced Matwork, and Towelwork during her career in Canada and has enjoyed teaching throughout Ontario, Michigan, Minnesota, and Ohio.
Erin Peck has taught Musical Theatre Dance at Interlochen Arts Camp for the past ten years. She has also taught Jazz and Musical Theatre Dance for many years and has choreographed theme park shows for American Entertainment Productions. Erin has also choreographed and assistant directed dozens of musicals and shows seen at the State Theatre, Traverse City West and Central High Schools, and Leland High School. Erin has been the the Artistic Director, choreographer, and lighting designer for Miracle Productions which produced summer stock type musicals in Northern Michigan. Some of her favorite recent Miracle Production shows are Phantom, WIZ, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, and Godspell. Several DAA graduates have performed professionally with Miracle Productions. Erin trained at Point Park Conservatory of Dance in Pittsburg where she also worked for Brockett Productions performing in industrials as well as the Majestic Cruise Line Shows. She has been seen on stage at The Mark II Equity Theater in Orlando, Florida, as well as Capone’s Dinner Theater in Orlando, where she played the lead and served as dance captain. She has also danced professionally with Michigan Ensemble Theater. She spent a year performing with Michigan State Repertory Dance Company. In college she spent her summers performing at theme parks around the country working for Showbiz International Productions.
Maria Curiale has her BFA with honors in Dance Performance and Choreography with a minor in Dance Education from Marymount Manhattan College in New York City. Maria received more training as a scholarship student and teaching assistant at NYC’s Broadway Dance Center, and as a student at the Paul Taylor School in New York. As a gifted performer, Maria danced professionally throughout the US and Japan, as well as for Carnival Cruise Lines. She taught in New York City, and on Long Island for several years. She has also choreographed for several high school musical productions, and Long Island studios. Maria has worked as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor, specializing in core strength and flexibility coaching, as well as Zumba and cardio dance. Most recently, Maria received her Master’s of Education in Elementary Instruction and Curriculum from Grand Valley State University, where she worked with children in various classroom settings and perfected her approach to teaching children of multiple learning styles. Maria had been teaching & choreographing for DAA for 6 years prior to her move back to NYC. We are so happy she and her young family have permanently relocated to Northern Michigan. Maria is looking forward to sharing her love of dance with all of our students at DAA for many years to come.
Judy Lynas Harrison
Judy Lynas Harrison
Judy Lynas Harrison began dancing at the age of three. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, character and modern. Studying the Cechetti Ballet technique, Judy completed through the advanced exams, passing all with honors. She received her Bachelor of Science in Classical Ballet from Indiana University. After college she travelled to Germany and Iceland performing in a USO show and then took a job as a choreographer for cruise ships and theme parks around the US and Canada. Judy joined the faculty of Interlochen Arts Academy in 1998 and remained for twelve years, teaching Musical Theatre Dance and choreographing musicals such as Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cabaret, Seussical, Carousel, A Christmas Carol, Fiddler On The Roof and many more. Judy is the owner of High Impact Productions and sings with her seven-piece country/classic rock band, ReBooted and ten-piece swing band, SwingShift. She does radio, television, and industrial voice over work across the country. Judy is the creator of the fundraising event SwingShift and the Stars, which has raised over 3.1 million dollars for local charities in Grand Traverse County and the Great Lakes Bay Region.
Tyasha Harrison is a native of Atlanta, GA where as a child she danced all over the metro Atlanta area and developed a great love and passion for dance. As a pre teen and teenager she performed for the The Atlanta Workshop Players acting company and also for several years was a memeber of The Atlanta Hawks Junior Dance Team. At a young age dance became a great outlet for her and her energy. After graduating from North Springs High School for the Performing Arts, Tya wanted a higher education in Dance. Tya recived a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Dance Pedagogy from Brenau University’s Women College in Gainesville,GA. After graduation, she spent 3 years as a show performer for The Walt Disney World. There she performed many shows and parades across Disney’s property like ‘The Lion King’, ‘Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It’, and ‘Block Party’. During her time in Florida, she was also a member of the Orlando Magic Professional Dance Team. Tya now lives in Lake Ann with her husband Joe and their three boys. Tya has turned her love for performing and dance into a high energetic teaching style. She enjoys helping her students explore their creativity and discipline for dance!
Cheri Forte grew up dancing with Co-Owner Betsy Carr & Betsy’s Mom, Sandy Glenn, at Glenn’s School of Dance and Performing Arts Dance Theater in Howell. She was an award winning dancer, and talented choreographer. After studying accounting in college, Cheri opened her own Dance Studio in Stockbridge where she taught all styles, levels and competition groups for many years. She comes to us most recently from Las Vegas where she taught for various award winning studios there, including the acclaimed Bunker Dance Center, where she also served as the Office Manager. Cheri brings talent, experience and heart to us and we enjoy her teaching as well as working at our front desk and at Diva Dancewear.
We are thrilled to welcome Pam McCormick to our DAA Faculty!! Pam has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications & Journalism from Michigan State University, including Dance Specialization studies. Her foundational dance training was based in the Saginaw/Midland area at local studios. Pam has been teaching her love of dance for over 25 years, including 20 years in Traverse City teaching Celtic, Musical Theater, Preschool Dance, Tap, Jazz, and Ballet. She has attended Dance Master Teacher’s training seminars, Dance Maker’s (DMI) Teacher events/classes, Competitions, and Broadway Master Classes, studying with several choreographers and artists from all over the U.S. Pam was the Artistic Director for a Jr. and Sr. Dance Company in the Lansing area and has choreographed for musical productions through the Midwest area. She has also completed and passed her Ballet Cecchetti exams with honors. Pam contributed her time as an instructor/performer for the local charity dance fundraiser, “Swingshift and the Stars” and took home the 2014 Dance Team Winner and 2014 Charity Donation Team Winner awards. She was also a judge in 2015. Her other performance experience includes many musicals, dance revues, original works and featured roles in ballets such as (Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, and Cinderella). Her Irish dance foundation includes competing in the International Irish Dance Feis for 9 years, winning several solo and team medals. She has enjoyed performing Irish Dance with Song of the Lakes, and several other local bands. Pam is the Editor of the community magazine, GATHER Old Mission and the new website GATHERGrandTraverse. Pam’s fun-loving, playful enthusiasm is inspirational as she brings JOY back into DANCE and into her classes. Expression and dancing from the heart is her motto in all of her classes. Welcome Miss Pam!
Holly Provenzano received her Bachelor of Applied Arts degree from CMU in Interior Design, Construction Management and Dance and is a certified Interior Designer. She has been teaching for over 15 years and is a Traverse City native. She received her foundational training in Traverse City as well as Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, Joel Hall in Chicago, Central Michigan University, (where she was the Ballet Mistress), Momix Dance Company, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble and various workshops ranging from ballet, modern and African dance. She has trained with David Howard, Joseph Fritz, Jefferson Baum, Katherine McCormick, and Thomas Alexander. Holly has performed locally as well as in Europe with the Blue Lake International Ballet Ensemble and CMU Orchesis Dance Theater. In addition, she has taught and choreographed for many local organizations (Old Town Playhouse, TC West Dance Team, Global Hair Show & more), started her own competitive dance team, CMU Orchesis dance company, and Visions Studio of Performing Arts in Mt. Pleasant. Holly loves mentoring her students and getting them to explore their creativity and passion for dance!
Alyssa Troyer grew up in mid-Michigan, and at the age of six she began her study of ballet. She dedicated 12 years to the growth of her passion of ballet, and had many wonderful experiences throughout her time as a student. She grew up dancing at DuHadway Dance Dimensions, in Alma, Michigan with Jillian DuHadway as an integral part of her ballet education. Throughout her years as a student, Alyssa maintained a strong focus on ballet, and acquired a firm foundation in the Cecchetti Method of Ballet. Through her dedicated work, Alyssa completed her Cecchetti Ballet Student Exams, grades I-V with commended marks. Alyssa has been a part of many ballet productions. As a young child, she received roles in the Alma College Dance Company’s production of The Nutcracker, as a party child, and later as a fairy. When Alyssa was a junior in high school, Tom Morris, the director of the company, invited her back to the production to dance as a flower in the Waltz of the Flowers. The following semester, she was also invited to dance with the company in their spring production of La Bayadère.
Alyssa taught and shared her passion for ballet for 7 years at her home studio in Alma before moving to Traverse City in 2014. As a teacher, she completed grades I and II in the Cecchetti Method, and has the intention of pursuing additional grades. Alyssa has always enjoyed the ability to share her knowledge of ballet, and has had students ranging from 4 years old to high school age. Alyssa graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in English Creative Writing and plans to pursue a Masters of Social Work degree through Grand Valley State University.
We are thrilled to welcome Tera Garrow to our Dance Arts Academy Family! She brings a lifetime of teaching experience to our dancers. Tera received her foundational training in Grand Blanc, with renowned Cecchetti Technique teacher, Lena Pelio. As a young dancer, she was a member of the Greater Flint Ballet Company, under the instruction of Iacob Lascu, and attended many dance education workshops, conventions and Summer Intensives. Tera holds two teaching certifications, from The Cecchetti Council of America and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. Tera has taught for nearly twenty years, including directing many diverse companies, competition teams and youth ensembles. She has received several choreography awards for her work and many of her students have gone on to dance professionally. Tera is a gifted dancer and teacher and is excited to share her passion for dance with our DAA students, and we are so excited to have her expertise in our studios! Tera will be teaching our Mini Fusion & our Mini CDT Companies on Wednesday’s in the Fall!! Welcome, Miss Tera! We are so happy to have you on our Faculty!!
Justin Koertgen was born and raised in Northern Michigan, he attended the Interlochen Arts Academy from 1994 -2000. He spent twelve seasons dancing with Dayton Ballet, where highlights included the roles of “Dracula” in Dayton Ballet’s Dracula, “Laertes” in Stephen Mills’ Hamlet, “Romeo” in Septime Weber’s “Romeo & Juliet”, “The Cavalier“ in the Nutcracker, and the title role in Christopher Fleming’s “The Who’s Tommy”. Teaching credits include The Huntsville Ballet, Mercyhurst University, City Center Ballet and Interlochen Center for the Arts. He worked as the Ballet Master and the Rehearsal Assistant for the Dayton Ballet and taught for the company and school for four years. Justin has choreographed for Interlochen Center for the Arts, Mercyhurst University, and for the Dayton Ballet. Justin has also danced with Ballet Fleming in Philadelphia and Ballet Montana. We are so happy he will be teaching at Dance Arts Academy & working with Company Dance Traverse this season!
Judith Wonacott has taught dance and movement arts for the past 20 years. She traveled in the international group Up with People. She was cast as a Principal Dancer performing in five countries including the 1996 Olympic Welcoming Ceremony. She is a graduate of Michigan State University with a B.A. degree in Interdisciplinary Humanities with a Dance Specialization. She was an active member of the MSU Repertory Dance Company holding roles as dancer and behind the scenes as Technical Director, Costumer, and Choreographer. She was also the President of Orchesis, the student dance organization. After college, she lived in New York City for two years teaching dance and attending school at the Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies (LIMS) Yearlong Program to become a Certified Movement Analyst and the PhysicalMind Institute to become a Certified Pilates Instructor. In 2002, she moved back to her hometown of Elk Rapids and founded Bodywise in 2002. It is a studio that has had numerous different dance and movement arts classes, including ten years of children’s dance and gymnastics. Judith is a licensed Zumba Instructor as well as a Registered Yoga Teacher with the Yoga Alliance at the 500 hour level with Shiva Rea studying in Costa Rica & California. Judith can be found teaching yoga on the beach, Stand Up Paddleboard Yoga and regular weekly class offerings. But she LOVES to dance and is excited to teach dance again at Dance Arts! We are so happy to welcome Judith to our DAA Family!!
Roxanne Blumerick began dancing in her home of Honolulu, Hawaii, training at the Honolulu Dance Studio. She immersed herself in the study of ballet, jazz, contemporary jazz, and hip hop. She continued to dance throughout high school, and began teaching jazz and hip hop while in college at the University of Honolulu. Upon graduation, she joined Convergence Dance Theater modern dance company with who she trained, performed, and continued to teach and grow her art. In 2010, she was asked to join Boogie Down Productions Hawaii hip hop company. While in this company, she competed in several competitions including the World of Dance. During her time with Boogie Down, Roxanne began to refine her hip hop choreographic and teaching capabilities. Roxanne finds no greater joy in life (except for watching her daughter grown & thrive) than sharing her love and passion of dance with the world and teaching others to do the same. She is utterly thrilled to join the family at Dance Arts Academy and cannot wait to get dancing with everyone!
Grace Clutts has been training at Dance Arts Academy for 15 years. Grace has been a stand out student at DAA, performing in our Nutcracker, and as a leader and soloist with our Senior Fusion Company. She has been assisting all of our Faculty in classes and Summer Camps for the past two years. Grace will be assisting on Tuesdays and teaching our beginning levels of Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, & Lyrical on Saturdays. Her love for dancing and our students is felt by all who get to work with her! We are so delighted to welcome her to our faculty this season!
Suzi Taylor, an internationally recognized master teacher and choreographer, has been training professional and aspiring young dancers for the past 26 years. Combining her talents as dancer, teacher, and choreographer, she has been invited to teach, perform, and adjudicate at 5 National dance festivals in Rio De Janiero, at ABT star Julio Bocca’s school for Ballet Argentina in Buenos Aires, in numerous workshops throughout Italy, Japan, France and Canada, and has set works on companies in Scotland, Israel, Italy, and Brazil.
She has been a faculty member at 4 of the biggest NYC studios, currently and for the past 20 years at Steps on Broadway. She is sought after to teach and lecture at universities, schools, and organizations across the U.S., has been teaching with the New York City Dance Alliance (NYCDA) since its inception. Suzi has been teaching workshops and setting choreography on Company Dance Traverse for many years.
Guest Teacher Andy Pellick originally hails from Pittsburgh, PA, but has called New York his home for well over a decade. Currently performing Off-Broadway in “Fuerzabruta”, he has also danced in the original Broadway casts of “Wicked”, “Tarzan”, “La Cage aux Folles” (first revival), and “Dance of the Vampires”. He’s also performed Off-Broadway in “De la Guarda”. He was featured in the films “The Polar Express” and “Show Business”. He has appeared on “The David Letterman Show”, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the “VH1 Vogue Fashion Award”, “Broadway: The Golden Age”, and”The Tony Awards”. Before moving to New York, Andy’s first job was to be the understudy for Tommy Tune in “EFX” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he was also a featured dancer. When not performing, Andy fills his time teaching and choreographing across the country. He feels blessed to work with the upcoming generation of dancers, and loves being a part of such an incredible community. Don’t miss this amazing opportunity to train with a very inspiring teacher!
Michael Spencer Phillips
Michael Spencer Phillips
Michael Spencer Phillips received his early training from Betsy Carr, and was a principal dancer with her former company in Howell, Performing Arts Dance Theater. He won numerous scholarships to Interlochen, Tremaine in Hollywood, and The University of Michigan. Michael received his BFA in Dance Performance from the University of Michigan. He received further training in NYC at the Merce Cunningham School and The Martha Graham School. In 2002, he joined RIOULT Dance NY, a modern dance company under the artistic direction of Pascal Rioult, with whom he has performed throughout North America, Mexico, Europe, and Asia. He has also restaged Mr. Rioult’s work, and taught extensively for RIOULT Dance NY. Michael is on summer faculty at Interlochen Arts Camp and has taught master classes for the Silesian Dance Festival in Bytom, Poland, the Open Look Festival in St. Petersburg, Russia, Gibney Dance Center, the Peridance/Capezio Dance Center, Broadway Dance Center, and numerous universities, conservatories, and private studios across the country. Michael has choreographed original works for Carnegie Hall, Universal Records, Cosmosis Productions, The Dancers’ Space of West Palm Beach, the Alvin Ailey School, University of Michigan, Interlochen Center for the Arts, and Richard Stockton College. His additional performance credits include Battleworks Dance Company under the direction of Robert Battle, Merce Cunningham Repertory Group, New York City Opera at Lincoln Center, Fire Island Dance Festival, Jennifer Muller/The Works, Bill T. Jones, and “Debutaunt” directed by Mary John Frank. In 2010, Mr. Phillips received the prestigious “Emerging Artist” award from the University of Michigan’s Board of Governors naming him one of U of M’s “Distinguished Alumni”. He has spent part of the past 8 summers teaching a DAA, and we are excited to welcome him back!
Jennifer Turner received her early training in the Lansing area with Diane Newman at the Happendance School. At fourteen, Jennifer traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia to perform with students of the Vaganova Ballet Academy and upon returning, she attended the North Carolina School of the Arts on scholarship. She continued her training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, School of American Ballet (SAB) and Ballet Academy East (BAE) in New York City. Her summer program study included SAB, ABT and Boston Ballet. Jennifer danced professionally with Miami City Ballet and Ballet Austin, performing such diverse Ballets including: Napoli, Tarantella, Serenade, Five Concerti, Balobile, Emeralds Pas De Trois from Jewels, Twinkliana, The Magic Flute, Raymonda Variations, Stars and Stripes, George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake. She has served on the faculty at Teachers College Community School, Ballet Academy East, NYC, Ballet Austin Academy and she was also an Artist in Residence for the San Angelo Civic Ballet Company. She has been on the Summer Intensive faculty at Ballet Austin and has been proud to teach at Dance Arts Academy since 2010. In addition to teaching Ballet, Jennifer is also a certified Pilates Instructor. Jennifer holds an Associate degree in Art History from John Cabot University, a Bachelors degree in Anthropology from the University of Michigan and a Masters degree in Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Nick Young grew up dancing at his mom’s dance studio, Young Dance Academy, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, training in all styles of dance. He has trained under tap dancers such as Danny Wallace, Anthony Morigerato, Chloe Arnold, Mark Goodman, Ayodele Casel, Chris Scott, and has performed with Danny for the “Tap City” tap festival in New York City. He was showcased on the FOX TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance” as one of Season Eight’s Top 20 dancers, specializing in Tap. After choreographing for the show’s finale, Nick went on to tour the country with the top 10 dancers on the show. After tour, he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue his career in acting, singing, and dancing, and has appeared on Disney Channel’s “Shake It Up”, “Glee”, and “The Goldbergs”. When not performing, Nick is a faculty member of New York City Dance Alliance, and is in high demand as a tap teacher and choreographer.
Dana Wilson was born in Aurora, Colorado, and studied many styles of dance at Michelle Latimer Dance Academy, was a past NYCDA Regional Outstanding Dancer, and at age 18 moved to Los Angeles to follow her dreams. In little time, Dana found herself working in contemporary companies, commercials (Target, Verizon, Southwest, Amazon Prime to name a few), for every artist from Hozier to Justin Beiber, in movies, and on two tours with Justin Timberlake. Even while performing and teaching around the globe, Dana prioritizes training and focuses on keeping a diverse skill set. Dancing in the opening scene of La La Land was a career highlight for Dana. She is also featured in JT and The Tennessee Kids’ Netflix Original, Charlie Wilson’s War, and she is the movement behind the animation for Fiona in Shrek 4! On the smaller screen, you can spot her in episodes of Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, Crazy Ex Girlfriend, Dancing with the Stars, and she was a guest choreographer on Season 7 of So You Think You Can Dance. Dana has been a part of JT’s creative team since 2007, and recently contributed choreography for Miley Cyrus, Joe Jonas, 2 Chainz & Kendrick Lamar with Robin Thicke, and Vance Joy. Dana is an amazing teacher with New York City Dance Alliance as well as master classes at Millennium Dance Complex, Movement Lifestyle, and Kinjaz Dojo. She also loves teaching at Broadway Dance Center when in NY, and has been featured in several other workshops in Canada, Australia, Europe, Japan, and all over the United States.
David Prottaswas a member of the New York City Ballet for nearly 10 years. As a teacher, he loves passing on his passion for dance by creating a safe environment in which students can simultaneously focus on technical skills and find their own creativity and sense of expression within the discipline. Studying at the National Ballet School and eventually training at the School of American Ballet, David strives to include a mixed syllabus in his class, combining both classical and neo-classical aspects. He has experience teaching a wide range of students. As a member of the New York City Ballet, David has performed in works by George Balanchine, August Bournoville, Justin Peck, Jerome Robins, Troy Shumacher, Susan Stroman, Peter Martins, and Christopher Wheeldon. David made his Broadway debut in 2016 in the First National Tour of An American in Paris. In 2018, David performed on Broadway in the revival of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein’s Carousel. David has most recently been performing with the original cast of the new musical “Marie, Dancing Still”.
Master Teacher Mary Geiger has danced professionally with three major European Companies, touring three continents and culminating as Principal Dancer with the Royal Ballet of Flanders. She performed in Balanchine roles, many of the classics and contemporary roles such as Carmina Burana and La Peri, the latter that was created especially for her by John Butler. Under the tutelage of Sandra Severo, she danced extensively with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in The Nutcracker and the “Kresge Concert Series.” Mrs. Geiger received the American Ballet Ford Foundation Scholarship as well as scholarships to the American Ballet Theatre School, New York, the Vaganova School, Russia and the John Cranko School, Germany, the latter of which she attended. Mary has been the director of her own school, the Geiger Classic Ballet Academy and the Artistic Director of the Michigan Classic Ballet Company for many years. She also served as president along with other executive positions on the national board of Regional Dance America and 7 yrs as president of RDA MidStates Region.
Mrs. Geiger has taught master classes at Western Michigan University, Santa Cruz Ballet Theatre, and Nyon and Vesoul, France. She has been a master teacher and guest choreographer for ballet companies in Louisiana and Georgia. Mary has trained countless dancers who are currently working in major Ballet Companies and will be Guest Teaching as well as coaching some of our YAGP dancers for the next week. We are thrilled to have her expertise being shared with our dancers!
We are happy to welcome Michelle Mazzarella to our Dance Arts Academy Faculty. Michelle holds a double major in Dance and Psychology, as well as an Education minor from UCLA, and is currently working in residential life at Interlochen Arts Academy. Michelle began her dance training at the age of two in Los Angeles, before moving to Washington State with her family in her high school years. She attended boarding school in BC, Canada, where she learned to choreograph and make artistic choices within her own performance. Michelle has performed in and choreographed numerous musicals (“Phantom of the Opera,” “Les Miserables,” “In the Heights”), as well as danced in companies such as LA Unbound (receiving their choreographer’s scholarship) and TheCRayProject, and was a Director of both Foundations Choreography and ICARUS Contemporary Dance Company when at UCLA. She has produced the UCLA Dance Program’s annual show, Yes to Bodies, and has danced for artists such as Todrick Hall, RAWartists LA, Natsuo Tomita, Flood Your System, Q.K. Entertainment, Hip Hop XYZ, The Mother Company, and more. Michelle has choreographed and taught at numerous studios in Los Angeles, Washington State, and British Columbia. Michelle’s experience in dance and passion for choreography has played a huge role in her upbringing, and she hopes to pass this down to future generations.
Guest Teacher & Choreographer Janelle Jaehn is a professional choreographer, teacher and competition judge from Las Vegas. She has been teaching and performing and choreographing throughout the country for the past 15 years. Janelle trained with Stacey Tookey, Peter Chu, Napoleon and Tabitha Dumo (currently choreographing for NBC’s “World of Dance”), among others at the National Award Winning studio Bunker Dance Center in Las Vegas. She is a versatile dancer & choreographer (outstanding with lyrical, jazz, contemporary, & hip hop, with a very strong ballet foundation), and an infectious, clear & delightful energy. We are so thrilled with all that she offers our dancers.
After Janelle’s early years of performing and competing award winning choreography with Bunker Dance Center, she began to build her own professional career assisting and collaborating with many of the most extraordinary dance professionals. Her training and professionalism landed her performing work in Las Vegas as well as opportunities to direct and choreograph for the dance community there. She is currently teaching and Choreographing at award winning Dance Zone and Centennial High School Dance Department. In addition to continuing to further her own training, she writes curriculum for dance programs, teaches master classes, and choreographs for studios all over the world, most recently in Alaska. Janelle is also heavily involved in the judging world, traveling and judging everything from auditions to competitions, landing her a feature as a judge on the hit TV show Dance Moms. Janelle is thrilled to come to Traverse City to work with the beautiful dancers of Company Dance Traverse.
Sarah Berry is a Junior Dance Major & Business Major (Ross School of Business) at The University of Michigan. In addition to training and performing in the Dance Department, Sarah also choreographs and performs for Impact, a student run Dance Company at U of M. Sarah is a CDT & DAA Alum, and has been teaching and choreographing at DAA for the past two years. Sarah earned many scholarships and Outstanding Dancer Honors at New York City Dance Alliance and JUMP, and was also named “Senior Miss Onstage NY” regionally, and 1st Runner Up at the National Finals. Sarah is a beautiful teacher and inspiring role model for our dancers.
We are so happy to have Madison Falconer home & teaching & choreographing this summer!! Madison Falconer grew up dancing with Company Dance Traverse & Dance Arts Academy before moving to Chicago at age 15 to train at A&A Ballet Conservatory under the direction of Alexei Kremnev. In 2018, she began training with the Hubbard Street Lou Conte Scholarship Program founded by Claire Bataille and recently completed a residency with Sidra Bell in New York. Her training also includes intensive programs at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet New York, NYCDA at Juilliard, and Henny Jurrïens Dance in Amsterdam. While in Chicago, Falconer choreographed for the Revolution Dancewear 2018 Fashion Show, the Hubbard Street Lou Conte Scholarship Showing, and several other independent solo and ensemble works. She was recognized as the Outstanding Choreographer, for works she created on A&A Ballet, at YAGP Semi-finals where she became the youngest choreographer to receive this honor. In Spring of 2019, Falconer performed professionally with FLOCK company in Chicago under the direction of Alice Klock and Florian Lochner. She graduated summa cum laude from High School (’18) and was accepted with an artistic scholarship into the prestigious BFA Dance program at USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance in LA where she will study in the fall. Maddy is a wonderful teacher & we are looking forward to seeing her group piece she will choreograph for our returning 1st & 2nd Co. Dancers.
Erin Kiessling is a rising senior at the University of Michigan majoring in International Studies and French & Franophone Studies. Erin trained at Dance Arts Academy for fifteen years and was a member of Company Dance Traverse for nine years. She was inducted into the CDT Hall of Fame in 2016. While in college, Erin auditioned for University of Michigan Impact Dance where she continues dancing and has developed a passion for choreographing. Erin loves coming home to take class, teach, and choreograph at DAA every summer! We love Erin’s classes!
Ellie La Pointe
Ellie La Pointe
Ellie La Pointe graduated with a BFA in Commercial Dance from Pace University in NYC and is an alum of Company Dance Traverse and Dance Arts Academy. While studying on Scholarship at Pace, she trained under Rhonda Miller, Lauren Gaul, Scott Jovovich, Jess Hendricks, Suzi Taylor, Dee Caspery, and many more, as well as studying in LA with Mandy Moore and Jen Hamilton. Some of Ellie’s performances at Pace included Bob Fosse’s Sing Sing Sing reconstructed by Scott Jovovich, and Take Back Your Mink from the musical Guys & Dolls reconstructed by Tara Memi, and Clooney by Jess Hendricks. Throughout the years Ellie performed at the Joyce Theater in Destiny Rising (2015) as the 2014 Capezio Scholarship recipient from the NYCDA Foundation, Curtains The Musical (2015) with Miracle Productions, the Invitational Rockette Summer Intensive, and Axis Connect. Ellie is currently performing professionally in the hit West End Musical We Will Rock You as well as The Gift on Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas. Ellie has been teaching and choreographing for our company dancers for the past 4 years.
Hyla Perillo is currently a Dance Major on Scholarship at Marymount Manhattan College in New York City for her Junior year. Hyla was selected as a Freshman to perform in MMM’s Mainstage Production this season. She is an eight time NYCDA Outstanding Dancer, Senior Miss OnstageNY, and a Capezio Model Search Winner. Hyla has spent the past several summers studying at ABT in NYC, Lines in San Francisco, and Ballet Met in Columbus
Dayne Sempert been busy touring the US & Canada with NBC’s “The World of Dance” dancing with Rudy Abreu’s Company “Embodiment The Collective”. He comes HOME to do a few workshop classes for our dancers!! Dayne’s classes are challenging, fun, & inspiring! We are really looking forward to having Dayne back at DAA for a moment
Casey Reed Sutherland
Casey Reed Sutherland
Casey Reed Sutherland is a graduate of Pace University, NYC, as a BFA Commercial Dance Major on partial scholarship. While studying at Pace, Casey has performed work by Rhonda Miller, Lauren Gaul, Scott Jovovich, Suzi Taylor, Joey Dowling and more. In addition, she has served as Under Study and Dance Captain. She was excited to return to the Joyce Theater for Destiny rising in 2016 to perform in Bob Fosse’s Crunchy Granola Suite restaged by his assistant Cathryn Doby. This summer she has been living in NYC training at Broadway Dance Center, Peridance, Steps on Broadway as well as training and performing in The Rockette’s and Axis Connect Summer Intensives. Over the years Casey has trained and performed with BDC & Alvin Ailey (NYC), The Collective (LA), ABT (Austin, TX), and Grand Rapids Ballet Summer Intensives in addition to attending multiple Nationals with NYCDA and The Dance Awards. She also performed professionally with Miracle Productions in Curtains (2016) and Catch Me if You Can (2015). Casey has danced at Dance Arts Academy since she was 3 and is a 9-year alumni of Company Dance Traverse earning both Dancer of the Year and Hall of Fame awards. She performed with CDT at Dance Excellence (LA) twice as well as Young Tanszommer (Austria). She began teaching at DAA at the age of 16 and always looks forward to coming home to spend time with her DAA family.
Madison Vomastek is currently apart of the inaugural class at the University of Southern California’s Kaufman School of Dance. She is an alum of Walnut Hill School for the Arts and Company Dance Traverse. She has trained at Hubbard Street Dance (Chicago, IL), Ballet X (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Alonzo King LINES Ballet (San Francisco, CA), BalletMet (Columbus, OH). Throughout her training she has worked with William Forsythe, Jodie Gates, Alejandro Cerrudo, Desmond Richardson, Victor Quijada, Fiona Lummis, Chris Scott, and Jessica Lee Keller. She has also performed with the Martha Graham Dance Company (2016), Hubbard Street 2 (2016), the Joyce Theatre for NYCDA scholarship recipients (2015), and Walnut Hill’s Gala (2014). She has also appeared in William Forsythe’s recent creations: Focus Forsythe’s Lecture Demonstration (2016) and Acquisition RYBG (2016, at LACMA)