Michigan Academy of Dance and Music
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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

jeanette soroka~ hip hop, ballet, jazz, tap
Jeanette Soroka

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.

 

anna gradwohl~  ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop
Maggie Maiville

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.

samantha snell~ ballet, lyrical, tap, jazz, special needs 
Samantha Snell

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.

 

evan park~ hip hop 
Samantha Snell

Evan Park was born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, and graduated from the University of Michigan. He is trained in the styles of urban dance and hip-hop, and has received training in Ann Arbor, Boston, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

In 2012, Evan co-founded DB3, a dance team at the University of Michigan which explores the combinations of western urban dance styles with eastern cultural influences. He directed the team for 3 years before transitioning to teaching hip-hop and urban choreography classes in 2016 in the community of Ann Arbor through an organization called Unofficial Official Dance Group. The classes aimed to help students not only learn how to dance but also to develop them so that they could choreograph and teach workshops themselves.

Evan has a passion for introducing the art and enjoyment of dance to all, especially to those who think that "they cannot dance." He has worked in a variety of settings with populations from all ages, ranging from children to adolescents to college students to adults. Evan loves helping students explore new genres and styles of dance, while discovering and developing their personal style and craft.

whitney williams~ ballet, tap, hip hop 
Samantha Snell

Whitney Williams has been teaching dance at Jackson School of the Arts since 2009. She has taught pre-ballet, tap, and hip hop, throughout the years. She trained under Gina Dudash at Dance Grosse Ile for 10 years. She has been a part of various productions, such as The Nutcracker, Cinderella, White Christmas (as the choreographer), and various community events. Her love for dance continuously grows as she sees dance as a beautiful expression of life and empowers people to express themselves with a creative and healthy outlet. 

 

jennae james~ 
Samantha Snell

Bio Coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 
hannah watkins~ lyrical, jazz, ballet, hip hop 
Samantha Snell

Hannah Watkins has been professionally training in her dance career for the past 19 years, both as a student and a choreographer. She began teaching 7 years ago in Kalamazoo MI where she was born and raised. While there she studied and taught Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, Liturgical, Musical Theatre, Pointe, Ballet and Hip Hop. She has performed in several shows on stage in her professional life including Ragtime, West Side Story, The Nutcracker, Wizard of Oz, and Beauty and the Beast. After dancing throughout high school she went to Western Michigan University where she studied a BA in Nursing and Dance. In addition to being recognized for her dance career, Hannah has been recognized for her singing performances including State Honors recognition in choir, Solo and Ensemble and traveling production companies. Her studies in dance were under the direction of Fik Shun, Twitch, Cecchetti Ballet training, and Disney World Performing Company. She has performed  on stage in Chicago, Detroit, Disney World, and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach Florida.

 

She loves to share her passion for dance and the arts with her students while watching them grow in an environment that they love.

lisa bandemer ~ ballet, tap, jazz
Lisa Bandemer

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.

pantea sokansanj ~ ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical

Bio coming soon.

 

 

carrie baker ~ ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical 

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.

ana lossing~ ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop
Ana Lossing

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.

Music Instructors

jeffrey nicholas~ piano
Jeffrey Nicholas

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~ guitar
Tony Tomshany

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~ piano 
Natalie Copeland

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 ~ guitar, ukulele
Scott Marlowe

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 copeland~ piano 
Janet Copeland

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.

tori darnell~ voice

Tori Darnell

 

Bio coming soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

molly hampsey ~ voice, piano

 

Photo coming soon

 

 

 

 

Bio coming soon.

david alvarez III ~ drums

 

David Alvarez III is a Jazz drummer, composer, arranger, and music educator based in the Metro-Detroit area. The drum set was introduced to him at the age of five, growing up playing in church. At the age of nine, he started to learn how to play jazz music through a summer program called The Arts League of Michigan. Afterwards, for eight years he furthered his studies of the art form through the Detroit Symphony Orchestra's Civic Youth Jazz Program, learning from Professors and College mentors from both Michigan State University and University of Michigan. He has graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor's Degree of Fine Arts in Jazz Studies with Teacher Certification. Since then, he has went on tour with the Benny Green Trio, and has recently joined the Clayton Brothers quintet. He currently freelances and teaches music in Southeast Michigan.

 

 
meredith hopkins ~ violin, viola

 

 

Meredith started the violin at the age of 3 learning by the Suzuki Method. From there, 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 located in Glasgow, and graduated in 2018.

Meredith has enjoyed performing in the US, Canada, and Scotland over the years. Some of her performances included playing at a White House Christmas party, playing in front of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra at Hienz Hall, and performing for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the Holyrood Palace.

In the competition scene, She competed in the National Association of Accordion and Fiddle Clubs Festival in Falkirk, Scotland and won the championship for the Slow Air category. Meredith has also won numerous regional competitions in Scottish fiddle and in 2018, she took 1st place in the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Competition.

Meredith has studied under a number of teachers including, Tanya Satteson, Leah Givelber, Alicia McGinnis, Dr. Julian Ross, Dr. Melinda Crawford-Perttu, and Alistair McCulloch. 

In addition to performing, Meredith has been trained to teach Suzuki Books 1-8 in violin and books 1-7 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, MI, Meredith is teaching at community music schools and performing for various events. She is available to teach private lessons in person or over Skype. In her free time, she enjoys reading, movies, musicals, and travel with her husband, Isaac, and two cats, Maestro and Aria.

gina finazzo ~ flute, saxophone, clarinet

As an educator, Gina worked in the Columbia Public Schools district as a K-5 elementary music teacher at Blue Ridge Elementary as well as performed in the Columbia Civic Orchestra in Columbia Missouri. Now living in Ann Arbor, Gina operates her own private flute studio and works as a Fitter for Marshall Music Company. Gina received her BM in Music Education from the University of Missouri, where she studied under Dr. Wendy Sims, Dr. Brian Silvey, and Professor Alice K. Dade

 

 

 

issac hopkins ~ trumpet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isaac Hopkins holds a bachelor's degree in trumpet performance from the Baldwin Wallace Conservatory of Music, and is currently pursuing a Master's degree at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. He served as principal trumpet in the Wichita Grand Opera and second trumpet in the Salina Symphony Orchestra. He has also been a member of the Heartland Brass Quintet and Beech Street Brass Quintet.

Isaac taught as an adjunct instructor of music at Tabor College, McPherson College and Central Christian College. In 2014 Isaac won the Baldwin Wallace Concerto Competition performing Jolivet’s Concertino for Trumpet. In both 2015 and 2016 Isaac was a Semi-Finalist in the National Trumpet Competition. His primary teachers have included: William Campbell, Jack Sutte, John Brndiar, and Diana Chase. In the summer of 2016 and 2017 Isaac attend the Aspen Music Festival and School. While there his primary instructors were Raymond Mase and Kevin Cobb.

Isaac has appeared as featured a soloist with the Baldwin Wallace Symphony Orchestra, Washburn University Wind Ensemble, McPherson High School Concert Band, Hutchinson Municipal Band, Lindsborg City Band and the McPherson Community Band. During the summer of 2013, Isaac appeared as a soloist in London, England; Paris, France; Crans-Montana, Switzerland; Seefeld, Austria and Rothenburg, Germany with the Kansas Ambassadors of Music.

 

 

 

jackie cano ~ voice

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jackie Cano is a classically trained singer who graduated from the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance. In her time there, she had the wonderful opportunity to perform in various ensembles and productions, including University Choir, University Chamber Choir, and University Opera productions (Gianni Schicchi, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). While there, she studied under instruction of: Caroline Helton, Jerry Blackstone, Eugene Rogers, Martin Katz, and Kathleen Kelly. She also had the great opportunity to study German art song through the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria, and Voice rehabilitation and pedagogy through the National Center of Voice and Speech in Utah.

Although trained classically, she enjoys singing and performing other musical genres, such as vocal music from Musical Theatre, Jazz, and Pop repertoire. She pursues these genres through performances at the Croswell Opera House, and was part of DJs acapella, a competitive collegiate acapella group.

Currently, she is a soprano section leader at First United Methodist Church in Ypsilanti, and is part of a traveling professional choir, EXIGENCE, which has traveled to places like Detroit, Chicago and New York to celebrate diversity in the arts. She continues to explore her love for voice, and is currently pursuing a degree in Speech Pathology to help others find community and love for their own voices. 

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"I love this studio. It is a great atmosphere
and the teachers really care about the kids.
They also keep the little girls innocent and
elegant while teaching the fundamentals."

-Raye N.

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Michigan Academy of Dance and Music

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(734) 426-8636
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7035 Dexter-Ann Arbor Rd
Dexter, MI  48130