The Eisenhower Dance Center (EDC), under the umbrella of Eisenhower Dance (E/D), the nationally-touring professional company, is a non-profit organization whose mission includes community outreach and education programs. The EDC aims to foster the appreciation of dance as an art form by providing the highest quality instruction to students of any age. The EDC sets itself apart from other dance schools by offering classes taught by former and current professional dancers, along with a staff of highly skilled, degreed instructors. With anatomically sound training and a focus on artistry rather than competition, the EDC stands out as the premier dance facility in the Detroit Metro area. Classes emphasize the student’s creative, artistic and technical development, taught in a positive and nurturing atmosphere. We offer classes in many styles appropriate for all levels and ages from preschool to adults. All of our studios have sprung dance floors to reduce the risk of injury to our students.
New this year is the Eisenhower Dance Youth Ensemble (EDYE) which, in collaboration with the professional company, Eisenhower Dance, offers unique mentoring, training, and performance opportunities for the professional track dancer.
Christina Tasco (Rochester Eisenhower Dance Center Director), was born and raised in Michigan where she grew up training with Julie Bonsell, Cornelia Sampson, The Cleveland Ballet, and the Limon Company. Christina is an Alumni of Oakland University where she attended on both merit and dance scholarships. During her years as a student, Christina was part of the Michigan Ballet Theater, Oakland Dance Theater, Oakland Repertory Company, and an apprentice with Eisenhower Dance. She was hired with the company out of her apprenticeship where she then danced professionally for the next six years. Christina has taught for Eisenhower Dance Center for the past 18. In 2002, Ms. Tasco joined the faculty of Oakland University’s dance department where she continues to teach as a special lecturer. Christina received the most inspirational professor award in 2014 and 2015 and was nominated for an Outstanding Teaching Award in 2016. Ms. Tasco has set her choreography and taught master classes across the United States throughout the past 18 years. She has also done residency work in schools districts across Michigan and the east coast.
Katy Koivunen (Birmingham Eisenhower Dance Center Director) began dancing at Sandy Adams School of Dance, Redford Dance and the Creative and Performing Arts Program at Livonia Churchill High School. While dancing with C.A.P.A she was selected to perform at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival and was a part of the only dance awarded as a Gala Recipient. She furthered her training at Oakland University where she performed with the Oakland Dance Theatre and Repertory Dance Company and received a BFA in dance. In 2010, her choreography was selected and performed at the American College Dance Festival. She was the 2010 Matilda award recipient for excellence in school service at Oakland University. Since college, Ms Koivunen has taught and choreographed throughout metro Detroit and was also a company member of Allure Dance Company for 5 years. Ms Koivunen was named the junior division top teacher at Star Systems regional dance competition. She also made her National TV debut as a featured dancer for Nickleback at the Lions Thanksgiving Halftime Show. Most recently, Ms Koivunen is the Center Director for Eisenhower Dance Center in Birmingham and teaches at Oxford High School.
Laurie Eisenhower (Eisenhower Dance Artistic Director) received her BAE and MFA degrees in dance from Arizona State University where she received the Wanda Turk Choreography Award and the Faculty Excellence Award. In the early years of her career, she danced professionally in both California and New York City with various dance companies and choreographers, most notably, Pilobolus Dance Theatre, David Parsons, Chen and Dancers and Mel Wong. In 1991, she formed Eisenhower Dance, which, with the help of committed and talented dancers, has become the premiere dance company in the state of Michigan. The company tours nationally and internationally, and is now celebrating its 25th anniversary. Ms. Eisenhower has been awarded the Michigan Dance Association Choreographers Festival Award, the Women in Art Award for Choreography, Artserve’s Michigan Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Michigan Artist and the prestigious 2012 Kresge Artist Fellowship.
Ms. Eisenhower is also well known for her teaching and is a former Dance Program Director and Professor of Dance at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. At OU, she was awarded a Travis Professorship and was honored twice by the OU Board of Trustees. She also received an OU Research Fellowship, 25 faculty research grants, and the Faculty Recognition Award for her outstanding contributions in the field of dance. In 2012, she was appointed the status of Professor Emerita.
Stephanie Pizzo (Eisenhower Dance Co-Artistic Director) is a founding member of the company and performed for 20 years as a dancer. Now, as Associate Artistic Director, she teaches company class, rehearses and is a resident choreographer for the company. She has staged works by Laurie Eisenhower on numerous companies and universities throughout the United States and has set her own choreography at Illinois Wesleyan University and numerous works on Eisenhower Dance. Most recently, she presented her work at three international dance festivals in Poland. Stephanie Pizzo is a native of Clinton Township, Michigan and holds a Bachelor of Arts with an emphasis in Dance from Oakland University. In 2009, she received a Distinguished Alumni or “MaTilDa” award from the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance. She is a former director of the Eisenhower Dance Center and currently chairs the Center Advisory Committee. She is also a special lecturer in dance at Oakland University. This year marks her 25th season with Eisenhower Dance.
Emily Zatursky-Keifer was raised in Killingworth, Connecticut where she received her early dance training with Starship Dance Theatre, Eastern Connecticut Ballet and New Haven Ballet. After graduating high school in 2007, Emily attended The Hartt School at the University of Hartford where she graduated summa cum laude with a BFA in Dance Pedagogy. Emily has studied Ballet and Dance Pedagogy, Kinesiology, Choreography Composition and Music Theory. She spent summers dancing with American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet School and Alonzo King Lines Ballet School and has danced works by Antony Tudor, Jose Limon, Emery LeCrone and Maurya Kerr. Emily was a company dancer with Eisenhower Dance from 2011 - 2016 and began teaching at EDC in 2011.
Katharine Larson Shapira, (Professional Dancer / Birmingham and Rochester CDE Director) originally from Kingwood, TX, grew up dancing under the direction of Sheryl Rowland. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Chemistry. At U of A, she was the recipient of the Costume Manager Triple Threat Award and the Gertrude Shurr Modern Dance Award. Katharine has worked with and performed pieces by Ann Reinking, Mia Michaels, Bella Lewitsky, James Clouser, Michael Williams, Sam Watson, Amy Ernst, Elizabeth George, Susan Quinn, and Ronn Stewart. She has previously trained at the Juilliard School, Alonzo King’s LINES Ballet, and Thodos Dance Chicago. Katharine also has a love for choreographing and has had several works selected to perform at Conder Dance’s Breaking Ground, UA Dance Student Spotlight, and RDA’s Southwest Festival.
Molly McMullen (Professional Dancer / EDYE Director) began her dance training at South Dayton School of Dance in Dayton, Ohio. She was a ten-year member of South Dayton Dance Theatre, where she danced frequently with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company members. Molly has attended various summer intensive programs including Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet Chicago, DCDC, Parsons Dance, Paul Taylor and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She also danced for Pittsburgh’s Attack Theater in the 2011 Dirty Ball. She has performed in several RDA ballet festivals and in 2006 received the Jeraldyne Blunden Award, which allowed her to attend the national Craft of Choreography Conference at Utah Valley State College with a full scholarship. Ms. McMullen graduated from Point Park University magna cum laude in 2012 with a BFA in dance. She has had the great opportunities of performing works by Daniel Marshall, Jonathan Phelps, Doug Varone, George Balanchine, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Kiesha Lalama and Alan Hineline.
Barbara Zaleski (Rochester Co-Motion Director) was raised in Macomb, MI where she began her early training with Renee Wood, Stephanie Pizzo and Christina Tasco. After graduating from high school, Barbara attended the trainee program at the Conservatory of Fort Wayne Ballet under the direction of Karen Gibbons-Brown. In 2008, she entered Fort Wayne Ballet as a Corps de Ballet member and later became a Soloist. Zaleski has performed in many ballets including, Cinderella, Giselle, A Midsummer Nights Dream, La Sylphide and The Nutcracker. While at Fort Wayne Ballet, she studied Dance Pedagogy, Kinesiology, Choreography Composition and Music Theory. In 2010, Barbara moved back to Michigan to perform with Eisenhower Dance for two seasons and began teaching at Eisenhower Dance Center.
Katy Ploch (Birmingham Collage Dance Director) graduated from Oakland University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Arts. She has trained in dance for over 20 years in various styles. While at OU, she trained with Laurie Eisenhower, Mariah Malec, Christine Naughton Shawl, Kristen Berger, and Greg Patterson. Katy received the Matilda award for Outstanding Student Service through the Music, Theatre, and Dance program at Oakland. She has also choreographed several pieces for Oakland’s dance company, Oakland Dance Theatre. Miss Ploch is a CAPA (Creative and Performing Arts) dance alum and since graduation in 2003 has choreographed many pieces for the dance program at Churchill High School.
Meghann Hazelton (Rochester M.Y.Move Director) is a graduate of Oakland University with a B.A. in Dance. She has danced with Oakland Dance Theatre, OU Repertory Dance Company, and was a guest dancer with Eisenhower Dance. She has performed works by Laurie Eisenhower, Stephanie Pizzo, Thayer Jonutz, Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, and others. In 2010, Meghann was honored with the Distinguished Dance Student “Matilda” Award. Meghann has taken classes in choreography, creative dance for children, dance pedagogy, and kinesiology. She studied the Cecchetti Method of ballet and successfully passed student examinations 1-6. Meghann has been teaching at Eisenhower Dance Center since 2008.
Kathaleen Misuraca attended Oakland University on a dance scholarship where she graduated cum laude with her B.A. in Dance/Performing Arts and a Minor in Exercise Science. While attending OU, she danced with Oakland Dance Theatre and OU Repertory Dance Company. She received the Jacob Decker Dance Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance and participated in American College Dance Festivals. Kathaleen has performed in ballet intensives at Eisenhower Dance Center where she played the roles of Odette and Aurora, and later apprenticed with Eisenhower Dance for the 2007-2008 season. Growing up, Kathaleen trained locally as well as at Marygrove College where she was given the opportunity to perform in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s production of The Nutcracker. She has taken classes at Broadway Dance Center in New York and participated in intensives at the Dayton Ballet School. Kathaleen has taught ballet at Oakland University and is excited for another year at the Eisenhower Dance Center.
Gemma Beasley began her early dance training with Corraine Collins Dance Studios in England, UK. Following the ISTD syllabus, Gemma holds certificates of distinction in Advanced Ballet, Tap, and Modern and later became a demonstrator for the ISTD examiners and the modern syllabus video used worldwide. She was the winner of the prestigious Janet Cram modern award, Marjorie Davies Star Tap award and Ballet Scholar all national awards held annually in London. She attended Doreen Bird Dance College on a dance and drama award and later graduated with First Class Honors. After a season with Carnival Cruise Lines, Gemma pursued her contemporary passion at Alvin Ailey on their scholarship program, where she was selected to be personally mentored by Hope Boykin from AAADCT. She has attended summer intensives with Complexions, Eisenhower, and Wells, ran by the Royal Ballet dancers.
Jacqueline Phaneuf is a graduate of Oakland University where she received her B.A. in Dance. While attending on scholarship, Jacqueline performed with Oakland Dance Theatre and OU Repertory Dance Company. As a Maggie Allesee Summer Study Scholarship recipient, she had the opportunity to study in New York with Jermaine Brown. Ms. Phaneuf has over 14 years of teaching experience in ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and contemporary. Jacqueline also apprenticed with Eisenhower Dance and is currently a member of Allure Dance Company.
Katie Wiley ( E/D Apprentice / Birmingham Kid's Creating Director) received her early training at Young People’s Ballet Theatre in Flint, MI. In 2014 she graduated from Butler University with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance Pedagogy and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. While with Butler Ballet she performed works by Derek Reid, Susan McGuire, and Cynthia Pratt. Katie has also attended summer programs with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Giordano Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet, and Carolina Ballet.
Amanda Rea-Burnett grew up dancing with Encore Dance Academy. She spent eighteen years dancing in competitions and won numerous awards throughout the United States. Amanda was a guest performer at the Magic Kingdom in Florida. She was the 2002 Teen Superstar and has won multiple 1st place Overall Awards. Amanda has been teaching dance for more than a decade and is a performing company member of the Allure Dance Company.
Megan White has over 20 years of dance experience in Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Contemporary and Pointe. She received her early Vaganova ballet training with Denise Paavola at Paavola School of Dance and Young Peoples’ Ballet Theatre. She continued her training with Cornelia Sampson, Michael Anderson, Debra Dawn, Samantha Shelton and Michael Hicks at Rochester School of Dance and the Michigan Ballet Theatre. Broadening her dance repertory, she moved to Miami to work with the Miami City Ballet to study the Balanchine style at a professional level under the direction of Alexander Carter, Geta Constantinescu, Rafi Maldonado-Lopez, Liz Malm, and Edward Villella. While in Miami she performed Balanchine’s The Nutcracker, Four Ts, Western Symphony, Valse Fantasy, in addition to Raymonda, Open Barre, Carnival of the Animals, Tarentella and Lounge 2200. She has had the honor of working and performing with major dance companies including American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, North Carolina Dance Theatre, Minnesota Ballet and Miami City Ballet. Outside of teaching, Megan has her degree in exercise science and pre physical therapy. She teaches Xtend barre and is a certified Pilates instructor.
Lauren Rich began her early dance career at Bev’s Dance Studio where she trained for 17 years in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern, and Character Dancing. Yearly, Lauren participated in ballet exams with the Royal Academy of Dance where she received the top honors of Highly Commended and Distinction. After high school, Lauren attended Oakland University where she graduated in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater. While at Oakland University, she was cast in a number of shows including the musicals Steel Pier, Follies, and Bells are Ringing. Lauren received the Brad M. Glass Scholarship which allowed her to participate with the Classical Theatre Study in Greece program where she was cast in the dance chorus of Democracy. Lauren has been teaching for over 6 years and is thrilled to be a part of Eisenhower Dance Center for the last two years.
Dana Snell is a modern dancer from Tampa, FL. She got her start in the studio at All American Dance Factory with acro, hip hop, and musical theater. After years of back handsprings, aerials, and assistant teaching, Dana was inspired to dive deeper into the art form. She developed ballet and modern technique at the University of South Florida and 3 subsequent years at Tampa Bay Ballet.
Throughout those years, Dana studied and performed under dance artists such as John Parks (Alvin Ailey Company), Carolina Garcia (Urban Bush Women), Gretchen Ward Warren (Classical Ballet Technique), Janis Brenner, Julio Montano, Ad Deum Dance, and the Lines Ballet Project. She then went on to perform solo and ensemble work with Tampa Bay Ballet, Shoes at the Door Modern Dance, and Salerno Musical Theatre. Her teaching credits include Lead Ballet Instructor for DDA and the beloved Lead Modern Instructor at Tampa Bay Ballet. Aside from the stage and studio, Dana is often seen changing gels, pulling the curtain, or even on headset calling technical cues. Through it all, Dana has a true love for teaching Contemporary Modern dance and Acrobatics and is excited to be working with Eisenhower’s dancers & tumblers again this year.
Rychee Vetor has a true passion for movement. She has 23 years of movement facilitation experience, of which 15 have been dedicated to Pilates. She obtained an AFFA certification and began teaching aerobics at the age of 19. Ms. Vetor sought additional education as she gained experience and knowledge working with the human body. She completed the Stott Pilates education series and furthered her training at McEntire Pilates. As a mother of a CDE dancer, Rychee understands firsthand the physical impact the EDC dancers bodies endure. She encourages the dancers to be smart movers by understanding internally where their movement is being initiated. Rychee is the Account Training Manager for Jones Lang LaSalle with the primary function in Health and Safety compliance and customer service.
Brooke Mainland, (E/D Apprentice / Rochester Kids Creating Director) a native of Wisconsin where she began her formal dance training, holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts , with a Business minor, from University of Arizona. Upon graduating, she apprenticed with Thodos Dance Chicago, where she trained with many artists in the area including teachers with Hubbard Street, Visceral, and River North dance companies. In 2015 she traveled to Europe to assist Sam Watson at the Tanz Danza Dance Festival in Bolzano, Italy. Her performances include Carnival Choreographers Ball, World of Dance, and Danceworks Milwaukee, as well as larger events including Capezio's 125th Anniversary Gala and Dizzy Feet Foundation's Benefit Gala.
Rachel Pawson ( E/D Apprentice / Birmingham M.Y. Move Director) hails from Alma, MI where she began dance at the age of three. After graduating high school in 2013 she started at Oakland University where she became a member of their Repertory Dance Company. During her two years as a member she performed in works by Ron de Jesus, Bryan Stimpel and Chien Ying. She is now a senior in Oakland University's dance program where she is studying to earn her Bachelor of Arts degree in Dance.
Matthew Schmitz (Professional Dancer / Birmingham Co. Motion Director) graduated with a BFA in Dance from Webster University with departmental and general academic honors. He has performed choreography by Antony Tudor, Alvin Ailey, Iyun Harrison, Eddy Ocampo, Edgar Zendejas, and Ron de Jesus. Matthew's professional credits include Dawn Karlovsky and Dancers, Ashani Dances, and the MUNY. He is a current Company member of Eisenhower Dance and is excited to start another season.
In 2008, Abbey Smith was invited to study at The School of American Ballet in New York City, NY. While there, she performed in multiple roles choreographed by George Balanchine, Christopher Wheeldon and Justin Peck. After graduating from SAB in 2013, she received a position in Ballet Austin's Fellowship Program in Austin, TX. Abbey is an ABT Certified Teacher of the ABT National Training Curriculum. She is currently pursuing her BFA in Dance from Oakland University and is a member of the Repertory Dance Company.
Lauryn Johnson's dance instruction began at Mt. Zion School of Performing Arts where she studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, tap, tumbling, and b-boying. She later trained in NYC in musical theater and other syles of hip hop including popping, waacking, and house. After graduating high school in 2013, Lauryn became an apprentice and soon a company member of Vertical Ambition Dance Company, a contemporary and hip hop company based in Flint, MI. Lauryn is currently a student at Oakland University.
Shaela Owens is originally from Monroe, Michigan, where she trained at Sherry's Academy of Dance and at Viva Dance Company. Shaela is a student at Oakland University earning her BFA in Dance with a minor in Pyschology. She is also a member of Oakland University's Repertory Dance Company.
Caitlin Smoot has been an influence of hip hop culture since age 15. Her training and growth has lead her to study under dancers such as Ian Eastwood, Quest Crew, and many more. Recently, Caitlin has worked with artists such as Flo Rida and Big Sean. She currently teaches at three studios in Michigan and travels throughout the country to teach master classes and compete.
Andrew Cribbett (Professional Dancer / Rochester Collage Director) originally from Thomasboro, Illinois, trained at the Christine Rich Studio Dance Academy and Performing Arts Center. At age 16, he received a full scholarship to The Washington School of Ballet in Washington D.C. He attended Duke Ellington School of the Arts to finish his senior year of high school. Andrew has recieved scholarships to attend summer intensives at Washington School of Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, The Rock School of Ballet in Philadelphia, and Faubourg Ballet Chicago.
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Oakland Youth Orchestra
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