Experienced Professionals

Our instructors have performed everywhere from the Grand Rapids Ballet Company in West Michigan to Broadway in New York City.

Some have taught at the collegiate level and others have advanced degrees in dance. We also have professional choreographers with years of experience.

Our instructors include: Andrew Amos, David Braciak, Laura Berman, Margie Vizuragga, Stephen Sanford, Christen Snyder, Danella Pistano Shroeder, and Erica Edwards.

Andrew Amos

Andrew attained his BFA in dance from Stephens College in Missouri. He has worked with companies such as Indiana Ballet Theater, Ballet Fantaaque, and San Angelo Civic Ballet. Andrew has been the ballet master for West Michigan Youth Ballet since 2011 and assistant Artistic Director for two years. He has performed leading roles in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Swan Lake, and Sleeping Beauty.

Laura Berman

Laura danced principle roles with the Garden State Ballet, Chicago Ballet, Boston Repertory Ballet, and for 7 years with the Pacific Northwest Ballet where she performed with Mikhail Baryshnikov. Ms. Berman served as ballet mistress, Interim Ballet Artistic Director, and Associate Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1992­2010. She also served as Director of the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1998­2010. Some of her students went on to major ballet companies such as the New York City Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet and Royal Ballet of Antwerp.

David Braciak

David trained with the School of American Ballet in New York City. He has danced professionally with Pacific Northwest Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, the State Ballet of Missouri and the Grand Rapids Ballet.

Danella Pistono Schroeder

Danella began ballet training at the Pat Brown School of Dance in Jackson, Tn. She attended several summer programs, including Nashville Ballet, Louisville Ballet, School of Ballet Chicago, and Diablo Ballet. She attended Butler University’s Jordan School of Fine Arts where she majored in dance and graduated in 2011. Performances with Butler Ballet include Cinderella, Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, La Vivandiére, Balanchine’s Walpurgishnat. Danella continued with dance as a guest artist, instructor, and choreographer in the Indianapolis area. Since relocating to West Michigan, Danella has taught and choreographed for various dance schools. She is also receiving a certification in Pilates.

Christen Snyder

Christen grew up in Detroit , MI where she trained with Shelly’s Spotlight School of Dance and later Juliana’s Academy of Dance where she trained in the styles of Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Partnering, and Ballet (Cecchetti and Russian). Some of her work includes, Choreographing for the Vixen’s Dance Team (Predators), Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, Opener for local artists Stefano Garrissi, character performances at Meadow Brooke Music Hall, and several Motorcity Movement shows. Most recently she has been teaching and has won numerous awards at dance competitions such as, Hall of Fame, Showstopper, VIP Dance and K.A.R.

Stephen Sanford

Stephen Stanford trained at Southhold School in Indiana. He then attended the North Carolina School of Arts. He later went to the Ballet Chicago Studio Company. He has been employed with Grand Rapids Ballet as a principal dancer for 14 years. Stephen has been a guest artist at New Theatre Ballet and other ballet companies across the nation. Stephen has taught master classes at Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Ballet, and Ada Dance Academy.

Margie Vizurraga

Margie studied dance at the Cleveland Ballet. She has choreographed portions of the second act of the Nutcracker for the West Michigan Youth Ballet’s productions in 2009, 2010 and 2011. She is an accomplished and dedicated teacher at Ada Dance Academy, where she teaches numerous courses in ballet, tap, and jazz. She also choreographs and coaches dance competition teams at the Academy.

Erica Edwards

Erica Edwards studied dancing at Center Stage Dance Studio. She attended Western Michigan University where she earned a BA in dance & performance. Erica has taught and choreographed for competitive teams and was recognized for excellence in ballet technique and received numerous awards. She was a dance coach at Harper Creek H.S. for 5 years. She developed a hip hop program for kids in her community. Erica was also a judge for Primetime National Dance Competition.

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