Dance Gallery Studio
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Spring Summer 2008 Schedule

Winter 2008 Schedule

Class Information




Dance Gallery Studio

Teacher Bios:

Erik Abbott-Main
Production & Communications Coordinator
Ballet, Modern, Jazz

A performer and choreographer with the Michigan Dance Project, Erik is also a dance instructor, and an avid freelance actor/dancer. Most recently, he has been recognized for his performances on the West Coast with Louise Reichlin and the Los Angeles Choreographers and Dancers. He received a Bachelors degree, with a concentration in Theatre Arts and Dance, from Eastern Michigan University. Erik teaches dance technique using a humanistic approach and encourages students to question the nature of dance within a given cultural context. He believes that knowledge of dance technique is best shared with a focus on an appreciation and comprehension of the body in motion, informing a classroom structure that relates how movement enlightens a dancer’s entire instrument. Erik has taught dance to all ages and remains an active student in yoga, literature, dance technique, and fire hula-hooping.

Shirley Axon
Adult Improvisation

Shirley started in modern dance when it was first introduced into colleges and has taught Improvisation Modern at Dance Gallery Studio for 13 years. The class performs locally and throughout Southeastern Michigan. In addition, Mrs. Axon has performed at the Universities of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Michigan and attended the annual American Dance Festival. She holds a BS in Botany and an MA in Geography.

Anna Chen
Ballet, Jazz, Modern

Trained in ballet, modern, West African, hip-hop, and theatre, Anna has performed in the U.S. and Canada with Parahelia Collective (with members of Fire Faublon), Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and various local choreographers. Her mentors include Camilla Chiapuris, Carol Radiovic, Natalie Matovinovic, and Eva Shu. She has studied music and performance at Interlochen and Eastern Michigan University, and is currently studying Lifestyle & Textile Design at EMU. In addition to teaching dance, Ms. Chen holds certificates to instruct yoga and Red Cross-approved aquacize classes for seniors enrolled in the Dawn Ducks program. Additionally, she is associated with the Ann Arbor Chinese School Association where she teaches classical Taiwanese folk dance.

Katie Contessa

Katie Contessa
Community Outreach Director

Mrs. Contessa has a BFA in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has danced professionally with the Charleston Ballet Theatre of South Carolina, The Richmond Ballet, and the Cincinnati Ballet. She has been a guest performer with the Peter Sparling Dance Company and continues to make guest appearances with the Amaranth Contemporary Dance Company in Richmond, VA. She has extensive teaching experience with both youth and adult students and continues to choreograph for Dance Gallery Studio as well as several other independent showcases. After three seasons as the Studio Director at Dance Gallery Studio, Katie is excited to be working as the Community Outreach Director and to develop a program that inspires children to be active, stay fit, and dance throughout Southeastern Michigan.

Erica Lehman-Downey

A native of Fort Wayne, IN, Erica began training at the Academy of the Fort Wayne Ballet under the directorship of Michael Tevlin. She is a scholarship graduate of Butler University, where she received a Bachelor’s in Arts Administration & Dance. Upon graduation, Erica took a job with the Dayton Ballet where she danced many roles including, Lady Capulet in Septime Webre’s “Romeo & Juliet”. Mrs. Lehman-Downey has also danced leading roles in The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella, and Carmina Burana and has worked with many defining choreographers such as Septime Webre, Stephen Mills, Rochelle Zide-Booth, Norman Walker, Dermot Burke, and Ron DeJesus. Erica’s additional training has been with ABT and the Joffrey summer workshops. Recently, she worked with the Cape Town City Ballet in South Africa. Erica is married and enjoys teaching, freelancing, and co-leading a dance ministry in Novi.

Christine Golus

Christine Golus
Creative Movement, Modern

Ms. Golus received her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and is currently Vice President, Creative Director at Q LTD, a strategic design consultancy located in Ann Arbor. Christine has a life-long love of dance and her training began in Detroit at a young age. She was a long time modern dance student of J. Parker Copley. Christine has choreographed and performed her own works as well as performed in works by Noonie Anderson, J. Parker Coplely, Pat Plasko, Peter Sparling, Whitley Setrakian, and many others. She has taught creative movement since 1993.

Nancy Heers
Adult Improvisation

Nancy has performed at the Universities of Bucknell, Southern California, and Michigan. She teaches liturgical dance and improvisational modern dance, and is part of a liturgical dance group which performs at church services. Dance Gallery Studio's Adult Improvisational group performs in local concerts and at other locals in Southeastern Michigan.

Linda Greene

After thirty years of training and dancing as an modern dancer Linda found a joyful way to continue healthful movement through Nia. Linda is one of the original founders of both Dance Gallery Studio and the Peter Sparling dance company and took much of her training sneaking into classes at the U of M with Liz Bergman and Gay Delanghe and at the former location of Dance Gallery Studio with Peter Sparling, Janet Lily, Mary Fehrenbach and Parker Copley.

Nia blends dance, martial arts and healing arts (like yoga), into an exuberant practice with the advantages of aerobic exercise and self-expression. Join in for a full mind, body, and spirit workout fully adaptable to YOUR body's level and readiness for activity.

Alissa Harakal

Alissa Harakal is a 2nd year Kinesiology Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan. She received her Bachelors degree in Kinesiology from Penn State University and a Master's in Health and Exercise Science from Wake Forest University. In 2004, Alissa received a certification in Pilates and has been teaching ever since. In addition to Pilates, she is also a certified personal trainer and massage therapist. She combines all of her skills and knowledge of the body to create a unique and informative Pilates classroom experience.

Holly Hobbs

Holly Hobbs
Peter Sparling Dance Company

Mrs. Hobbs received an M.F.A. in Dance from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in Dance from Western Michigan University. She has studied, instructed classes and performed internationally in Switzerland and Costa Rica. Holly is a former member of Ann Arbor Dance Works and Detroit Dance Collective. She has taught at the Flint School for Performing Arts and Bowling Green State University where she choreographed works for the University Performing Dancers. Holly is currently an instructor at Dance Gallery Studio, adjunct lecturer at Eastern Michigan University, and member of the Peter Sparling Dance Company.

Karen Sullivan Ingersoll

Karen is a native of Ypsilanti where she grew up and excelled in the Cecchetti method of Ballet. She earned a Bachelors of Arts in Dance from Mercyhurst College while training with Mary Price Boday and Jay Kirk. Upon graduation, she performed with the Peoria Ballet as a principal dancer, and acted as the assistant school director, instructor, and ballet mistress. She has performed roles such as the Sugarplum Fairy, Snow Queen, Ariel in The Little Mermaid, and Pas de Trois, Big Swans, and Little Swans in Swan Lake, as well as many original Modern Dance compositions. Ms. Ingersoll co-founded the Central Illinois Dance School and the Illinois Ballet in Peoria. She continues dancing, teaching, and choreographing only part-time and enjoys her full-time position as Mother to her son, Jordan, and daughter, Miya.

Anne Marie Loesch

As a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Mrs. Anne Marie Loesch began her college training at Central Piedmont Community College and later completed a BA in Dance at the University of North Carolina, in her hometown. Ms. Loesch’s professional credits include Dance Central, Kinetyz Dance Ensemble, and Moving Poets Theatre of Dance. In addition to performing, Ms. Loesch has taught dance at prestigious schools in Columbus, Atlanta, and Chicago, and works also a certified massage therapist. A new resident to Michigan, Anne Marie is enjoying her first season with Dance Gallery Studio.

Lei Q. Maxwell

Lei Q. Maxwell
Studio Operations Director
Hip-Hop, Jazz, Lyrical

Ms. Maxwell received her early training Ricardeau Dance Studio in Wyandotte, MI and The New Haven School of Ballet in New Haven, CT. A certified teacher in Cecchetti Methodology, Lei emphasizes multi-disciplinary forms of dance, including Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Acrobatics, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, Hawaiian, and Spanish techniques. Her professional credits include Radio City Christmas (Rockettes, 1998), Connecticut Ballet, the Downriver Civic Ballet, and Jazz Dance Theatre, in addition to receiving several awards for her choreography on the competitive level. Ms. Maxwell’s teaching experience spans over 20 years at several locations in Southeast Michigan including coaching a winning High School Pom Pon team into the State Championships. Lei obtained a BA in Psychology from Eastern Michigan University, and in addition to instructing at DGS, she is teaching dance at her Alma Mater.

Jillian Mitchell

Trained at the National Ballet School in Canada, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, American Ballet Theatre, and the Harid Conservatory. Jillian has worked with several renowned choreographers including Mark Godden performing in La Bayadere, Concerto Barrocco, Serenade, and the Nutcracker. Ms. Mitchell is a former soloist with the New Jersey Ballet, where she danced roles in Paquita, Sleeping Beauty, Don Quixote, and Giselle. While she still enjoys performing, her passions have developed into her next role as an instructor where she has developed a classroom structure with a focus on effective techniques of coordination, musicality, and quality of movement.

Julianne O'Brien Pedersen
Peter Sparling Dance Company
PSDC, Youth Ensemble

Julianne O'Brien Pedersen is an Associate Professor of Dance at Eastern Michigan, a certified Movement Analyst, a choreographer whose work has been presented nationally and internationally, and a founding member of the Peter Sparling Dance Co. As a featured member of the company, she has had the opportunity to work with Pulitzer Prize winning scientists and composers, internationally renowned opera stars, and perform the leading role as "The Woman in White" in Martha Graham's 1942 masterpiece "Diversion of Angels". She "excels at embodying and transcending Sparling's choreography" (The Dance Insider) and has been reviewed as a "marvelously driven" (Chicago Tribune), "radiant" (Ann Arbor News) dancer with "grace and forceful presence" (La Prensa Grafica, El Salvador). Accolades include reviews in Dance Magazine, as well as the 1998 Washtenaw County Annie Award for Performing Arts Individual. She received her MFA from Ohio State University, where she developed a new degree option for graduate students to write a historical thesis along with their performance and choreography. Her thesis, "A spatial history of the dance" explored spatial changes on the stage and related them to the restructuring of social space associated with postmodernity.

Carolina Pahde Mallarino
Studio Director
Ballet, Modern

In 1996, Carolina Pahde left her hometown of Bogotá, Colombia, to pursue Dance studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Hannover, Germany. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Dance (1999) and another in Dance Pedagogy (2001). Following her desire to deepen her knowledge of choreography, Carolina came to Ann Arbor in 2005 to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts in Dance at The University of Michigan. She received her degree in 2007. Carolina has performed in Colombia, Germany and here in the U.S. She has taught and choreographed both at professional and non-professional levels in all three countries. Since the foundation of the "Umbigada Dance Company" with her M.F.A. colleagues in 2005 at the University of Michigan, Carolina has created various works. Most recently she choreographed a piece called "Beauty and Love" based on an old poem from the Ottoman literature. The piece has been performed in Ann Arbor, Michigan and at the MESA Conference in Montreal, Canada. This year the piece will also be performed in Seattle, New York, and at the Book Fair in Frankfurt, Germany. Carolina is currently a guest teacher at The University of Michigan’s Dance Department and was invited to be a guest dancer with the Peter Sparling Dance Company for a scheduled performance in Spring of 2008.

Jordan Risden

Originally from Toronto, Canada, Jordan began her formal dance training at the National Ballet of Canada and Quinte Ballet School before recieving her high school diploma at the Virginia School of the Arts. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Michigan in 2008. While at U of M, she performed with the Umbigada Dance Company in Ann Arbor, Montreal and Colombia.

Christina Sears Etter

Christina is a choreographer, dancer, and educator, is an alumna of the University of Michigan Dance Department. In addition, she earned a degree in Choreography and Performance from State University of NY- College at Brockport. Ms. Etter’s choreography has been presented in many states and internationally and she has danced with numerous independent artists including Katrina van Zee Dance (New Jersey,) the Kista Tucker Dance Company (of New York and Texas) and Lourdes Bastos. Currently, Ms. Etter teaches at Arts in Motion Dance Studio, pursues independent projects, and is a Contributing Artist/ Project Director for People Dancing, a not-for-profit contemporary dance company founded in 1985. Ms. Etter has also been happily involved with Terpsichore’s Kitchen since 1999.
Serving the community for over 20 years with quality instruction and dance performances for all ages -- beginners through professionals -- in a safe nurturing environment.