Our highly qualified professional educators vary training methods and are available to teach a broad range of dance, instrumental & fitness formats.
Dance Instructors | Music Instructors
Lisa Bandemer was raised in Mt. Pleasant, and graduated with a BA in Early Childhood Development with a minor in Communication Disorders. She moved to the Ann Arbor area and worked at the University of Michigan North Campus Children's center as a preschool teacher.
Lisa has over 18 years of dance training, starting from the age of 3. She managed a dance studio in the Mt. Pleasant area, coached high school dance teams, taught dance classes all around the mid-Michigan area and was apart of a dance team in College. She teaches a variety of classes and is the manager at Michigan Academy of Dance & Music. Lisa loves working with the families and staff more directly as the manager.
She received her Zumba certification in July 2011, her Zumba for Kids training in August 2012 and is most recently certified to teach Zumba Step. She is very passionate about the MI-Fit program and all of the families at Michigan Academy of Dance & Music.
Bio coming soon.
Carrie Baker started her dance training at the age of three. Years later she went on to receive a Business Degree and currently holds a full-time administration position at the University of Michigan.
When she is not at the office she focuses her time to teaching and learning various styles of dance. Carrie has taught a variety of dance styles locally for the past 10 years. She continues to perform and teach at recitals and community events. Her primary focus is in ballet, jazz and lyrical.
Jeanette Soroka started her dance training at the age of three in a variety of dance styles. She began teaching at the age of 15 in the inner city of Detroit; performing locally as well as internationally in a dance exchange program.
Jeanette has instructed dance in a studio setting for the past 7 years participating in recitals, community events as well as competitions. Along with instructing dance at a studio, she was a dance team instructor for 4 years at a local high school.
Jeanette's primary focus at Michigan Academy of Dance and Music is teaching hip hop, jazz and competition.
Kimberly Sable Smith has been studying dance for twenty-three years, and has been teaching for over ten. She is experienced in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and modern. As a teenager, she competed competitively throughout the country; winning numerous awards including first overall soloist at Showstopper’s National Dance Competition two years in a row. She also received many scholarships at major dance conventions such as New York City Dance Alliance, West Coast Dance Explosion, Tremaine, and Co. Dance Convention.
Upon high school graduation, Kimberly received a scholarship to the dance program at The University of Michigan. While at U of M, Kimberly had the opportunity to study under Judy Rice, Peter Sparling, Bill DeYoung, Jessica Fogel, Amy Chavasse, and Robin Wilson; as well as dance with The University of Michigan Dance Team. After attaining her BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography, she accepted a scholarship to a summer intensive with River North Dance Company in Chicago, and moved to NYC in the fall to further pursue her dance career. While in New York, Kimberly performed throughout the east coast at renowned venues such as New York’s City Center, New York’s Summer Stage, Brooklyn Ballet Theater, Broadway Dance Center, and Peridance Theater with companies including The Next Stage Project, Jennifer Muller/ The Works, and DoubleTake Dance Company.
Kimberly recently relocated to Ann Arbor with her husband. She is thrilled to be able to pass on her experience and passion for dance to all of her students at Michigan Academy of Dance & Music.
Anna Gradwohl has been training as a dancer for the past 23 years and has been teaching and choreographing for the past 12 years. She grew up and began her training in Chanhassen, MN where she studied ballet, tap, musical theater, hip-hop, and contemporary styles. After performing competitively through high school, Miss Anna attended Palm Beach Atlantic University where she studied and received her undergraduate degree in Dance Performance with a minor in Exercise Science. Her collegiate studies focused on Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Composition and Improvisational techniques. During this time, she had the opportunity to work with a variety of choreographers from the West Palm Beach area and perform at numerous nearby venues. Such performances included dancing at the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens, Mounds Botanical Gardens, Palm Beach Library, Harriet Himmel Theater, the Kravis Center, Crest Theater, and the Borland Center.
Miss Anna has spent the past 4 years directing the dance program at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, CA and teaching at local dance studios. She implemented a dance curriculum for beginning to advanced levels, choreographed over 200 dances for a professional stage, and created/directed an after school dance company. She recently moved to Ann Arbr, MI and has been teaching at public schools and community centers while she works towards her masters degree in Dance Education through the University of Northern Colorado.
Ana was raised in Big Rapids, MI, and began her dance training at Rhythmic Sky Studios. As a high schooler, she also served as the lead choreographer of her church’s dance team and instructed elementary to high school aged dancers.
Ana attended Central Michigan University where she studied dance as her minor. In her time as a student, Ana had a variety of performance opportunities, including choreographing and directing a modern dance performance to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Ana has worked with kids in a variety of capacities, including as a dance instructor and a camp counselor, and she loves to share her passion for dance with young dancers while inspiring them to creativity, progress, and expression.
Samantha Snell is a graduate from Western Michigan University and has her BA in Dance with a minor in General Business. Growing up in Monroe, MI she was exposed to the arts and began dancing from a small age. She was a student at the River Raisin Centre for the Arts in Monroe, Michigan, where she was extensively trained in the Cecchetti Ballet method as well as Tap, Jazz and Modern.
She has performed numerous ballets including Graduation Ball, The Nutcracker, Cinderella, Peter and the Wolf, and Coppelia. Samantha has danced soloist roles in “Fandango” by Antony Tudor, which was staged by ABT’s Amanda Mckerrow and John Gardner. She has been a guest artist performing as The Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker. She has also worked with Willy Shives from The Joffery Ballet and performed in Gerald Arpino’s “Viva Vivaldi”.
Samantha was chosen to perform in the historical reconstruction of Loie Fuller’s “La Mer” by Megan Slayter and Jessica Lindberg Cox. Her adjudicated choreography was selected to be in the 2013 Orchesis Dance Concert at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI. Samantha is an Acrobatic Arts certified Module One instructor as well as a current member of Dance Educators of America. She has taken numerous teaching trainings including many with DanceLife Retreat as well as American Ballet Theater. She is a Rhythm Works Integrative Arts certified instructor which focuses on students with disabilities. Samantha also choreographs for the Jackson Northwest High School choir.
Jeffery Nicholas is a pianist and composer. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Michigan University in 2013, having entered the Alexander School of Music with only a year of formal piano training under his belt. He studied piano with Dr. Joel Schoenhals and composition with Dr. Anthony Iannaccone, both alumni of the prestigious Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY.
As a pianist he has accompanied extensively in his short career, performing with both the EMU Wind Symphony and Symphony Orchestra as soloist and frequent ensemble member, accompanying solo recitals and voice classes as well as high school and college competitions.
As a composer Jeffrey has had premiers both at home and abroad: his Suite for Piano was premiered at EMU by Dr. Joel Schoenhals in 2012, and his choral work The Snow Manwas premiered at Pease Auditorium by Dr. Beth Everett and the EMU Chamber Choir in 2013. He also received his first commission and international premier from the soundSCAPE summer music festival in Maccagno, Italy, where he participated as a composition student. He will be attending Bowling Green State University as a graduate teaching assistant working toward a Master of Music degree in composition.
As a teacher, Jeffery seeks in instill a love for music in all of his students. He works to make lessons more fun than chore and hopes all of his students come away with a passion for music making inspired by their dedication to having joyful experience throughout their practice.
Tony Tomshany is a life-long resident of Dexter. He has been playing guitar for over eight years and teaching guitar privately for two years. After high school graduation, he studied jazz guitar and music theory with John E. Lawrence and Michael Naylor at Washtenaw Community College. He also earned a certificate Guitar Building and Repair from Galloup School of Lutherie. He continues to develop his professional skills through private study and performance. Tony strives to learn new songs, teaching techniques and to improve his musical vocabulary.
Tony is a well-rounded guitarist and is comfortable playing and teaching rock, metal, jazz, classical, blues and acoustic guitar. Tony has played in a variety of bands, performing at many local and regional venues. He currently plays lead guitar in the band, Eyes Once Mine. His experience as a student, teacher, performer and recording artist has created his strong passion for playing guitar. He is dedicated to sharing his love and knowledge of guitar with students.
In his teaching, Tony strives to establish a comfortable environment for learning through a friendly, patient approach. His lesson plans are based on students’ interests and goals. Tony hopes to instill his enthusiasm and love of guitar and music to all of his students.
Natalie Copeland is currently a junior at Eastern Michigan University where she is a Music major in Piano Performance. She has over 14 years of experience training, teaching and performing. She studied with Carol Ivkovich of Spring Arbor for four years, concert Pianist Zhihua Tang for a year and currently studies with Garik Pederson at EMU.
Natalie has performed in Solo and Ensemble for four years and recieved superior ratings.
Natalie loves sharing her passion of piano with children and introducing them to the joy of music!
Scott Marlowe is a versatile musician and songwriter with over twenty-five years of experience in performance, production, and composition. As a seasoned guitarist, bassist, and vocalist, Scott's well-versed in many different styles and genres of music. Under the direction of band leader Michael Naylor, Scott performed for several years in the WCC Jazz Orchestra while also studying under local jazz legend, John E. Lawrence. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Scott was a music instructor at the Ann Arbor YMCA before joining the staff of the Michigan Academy of Dance and Music. Working with students of all ages and abilities, Scott has developed an effective and flexible teaching method that uses a personalized approach for improving skill-level, technique, knowledge, and creativity.
Janet has been teaching piano lessons for 15 years to students of all ages. For 6 of those years she taught at the Jackson School of arts, produced musicals, and shared our music to many community event including nursing homes.
Janet takes a creative approach to teaching and likes to combine several methods, theory, and games in order to become musically successful.
Janet strongly believe that we all have been given unique talent. Her gift and and special talent is to cultivate those gifts in others.
Daniel Braunstein is currently a Senior at the University of Michigan pursuing a degree in Performing Arts Technology. He is a singer, pianist, composer, and sound engineer. He spent three years studying classical vocal technique under baritone Stephen Lusmann, and has performed in a variety of vocal styles, from acapella groups to chamber choirs. In his five years at Michigan, he has served as an accompanist and vocal coach to undergraduate voice students of all voice types.
Daniel believes that a through a combination of healthy vocal technique, theoretical knowledge, and musical appreciation, a lifelong love of singing and music can be instilled in every student.
Bio coming soon.
Photo coming soon
Michael hails from Los Angeles, where he was born in 1991 into a very musical family. His parents are both professional musicians who teach and perform in LA and as a result, Michael began his violin career early on at the age of 3. In high school, Mr. Acosta became more serious about pursuing a career in music, and began attending the Los Angeles County High School for the Arts (LACHSA) where he served as concertmaster and principal second violin of the school’s symphony orchestra. Mr. Acosta was also an assistant instructor at the family operated Evergreen Music Conservatory during group workshop classes, he performed at weddings and other events with the La Folia Chamber Ensemble, and served as a member of the American Youth Symphony. Mr. Acosta began his undergraduate degree at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2009, where he studied with accomplished concertmaster Alexander Kerr. While completing his undergraduate, Michael taught for the IU string department pre-college program in addition to performing with numerous local orchestras including the Bloomington, Carmel, and Columbus Symphony Orchestras. After completing his undergraduate in 2013, Mr. Acosta returned to Los Angeles where he performed with the New West and Tulsa Symphony Orchestras, and returned to LACHSA as an instructor to coach chamber music groups and teach private lessons. Michael began pursuing his Master’s Degree at the University of Michigan School of Music in 2015, where he studied with Professor Danielle Belen. During his graduate degree, Mr. Acosta served as the concertmaster of the University Symphony Orchestra until he graduated in 2017. While not in school, Mr. Acosta attended numerous summer music festivals, most notably of which include the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival in Rendsburg, Germany (2013/2015), National Orchestral Institute (2016, concertmaster), Marrowstone Music Festival (2014/2016, concertmaster), Aspen Music Festival (2008), and Interlochen Summer Festival (2004-2006).
Chris was raised in Macomb, Michigan and has been drumming since he was ten years old. In his 13 years of playing, he had been formally taught in a wide variety of styles and has won numerous regional awards for his playing in competition in the process. He has had the opportunity to travel out of state to attend master classes with many of the best drummers in the world, including Dave Weckl, Steve Smith, Horacio Hernandez, and Jojo Mayer, to name a few. Here, he had been given intimate, one-on-one technical instruction and musical guidance, as well as having many opportunities to play with a world class band. Currently, Chris is actively involved with three local bands and plays shows regularly throughout the Michigan area.
Chris' main goal in his teaching process is to have his students enjoy drumming and music as much as he does. His style is engaging, encouraging, and fun, with just the right amount of challenge. He listens to the desires of each student while ensuring that they properly develop the fundamentals of drumming and music. Moreover, Chris' extensive knowledge allows him to be able to teach using a variety of methods and concepts in order to help students understand every aspect of drumming. Chris is excited to be an instructor for the MI Academy of Dance & Music and is looking forward to sharing his love of music! Meredith
Meredith started the violin at the age of 3, learning by the Suzuki Method. During her teen years, she expanded her horizons and found her love of alternative styles, especially Scottish music. She graduated Cum Laude from Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music with a Bachelor's in Music in Violin performance. She went on to pursue her Master's of Scottish Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland loacated in Glasgow, and graduated in 2018.
Meredith has enjoyed performing in the US, Canada, and Scotland over the years. Some of her performances include; playing at a White House Christmas party, playing in front of the Pittsburg Symphony Orchestra at Hienz Hall, and performing for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at Holyrood Palace.
She has won numerous regional competitions in Scottish fiddle and has placed 2nd in the National Scottish Fiddle Competition. In 2018, Meredith competed in the National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs Festival in Falkirk, Scotland, and won the championship for the Slow Air category.
In addition to performing, Meredith has been trained to teach Suzuki Books 1-8 in violin and Books 1-6 in viola. She enjoys teaching both classical and alternative styles, especially Scottish fiddle music. She believes in teaching a range of styles to broaden a student's musical understanding.
Based in Ann Arbor, in her free time, Meredith enjoys reading, movies, musicals, and travel with her husband, Isaac. They share their home with their two cats, Maestro and Aria.
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