Meet Our Staff
Studio Owner & Teacher
As Director of Ada Dance Academy, Miss Vizurraga has over 40 years of dance teaching and choreographing experience. At age 5 she started her training at Gremore Dance Studio under Lois Gremore in Oberlin, Ohio. Lois was classically trained under Serge Nadejdin from the St. Petersburg Imperial Ballet, Alex Martin from the Saddler Wells Ballet, and John Begg with DeBasil Ballet Russe Metropolitan Opera as well as on Broadway. Lois was a huge inspiration, like a second mother, remaining close until the day she died in 2011 Miss Margie studied various forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, ballroom, musical theater, and Spanish/Flamenco throughout her career. Classical ballet was always her main focus and foundation. She attended annual classes in New York City at ABT and Steps. She also studied under Alex Martin and Jose Greco and at the Cleveland School of Ballet and Fairmont Center for the Arts. At 16 she won the only Teacher's Training Scholarship for the state of Ohio from Dance Masters of America. Her dance instruction started at age 15 with the Gremore Dance Studio and she performed with the Oberlin Performing Arts Club. She was a Ballet Major at the University of Cincinnati and helped form a dance company at Cleveland State University. She was also a principal dancer with Chagrin Valley Dance Company and toured briefly with a Spanish company as a solo Flamenco dancer. In 2001 Miss Margie moved to Grand Rapids and began teaching at Ada Dance Academy under the direction of Marlene Kenneway.
Part Owner & Teacher
Stephen started his training at Southold dance theater in South Bend, Indiana. He then went on to North Carolina School of the Arts where he trained under Melissa Hayden, Duncan Noble, and Warren Conover he later went to Ballet Chicago Studio Company and was mentored by Dan Duell and Patricia Blair. Stephen has attended numerous summer courses including School of American Ballet, Houston Ballet, and Hartford Ballet Stephen. has had a strong performing career with the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. He joined in 2001 and has been the lead man in many productions. As principal dancer, he has had the opportunity to work with famous choreographers from all over the world such as Mario Radacovsky, Kirk Peterson, and Oliver Wevers to name a few. Stephen has performed as a guest artist for the New York Theater Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, Chicago Ballet, Geiger Ballet, Southold Dance Theater, and Ohio Theater Ballet. He has been teaching ballet since 2000. He was a professor at Grand Valley State University and also taught at Grand Rapids Ballet School. He currently teaches at Ada Dance Academy where he is part owner. Stephen is a family man with five children Julia, Andrew, Elaina, Nathan, Lucy and wife, Jennifer.
Laura Berman, is an Artistic Director with RPM Productions in Chicago. She has been performing, teaching, choreographing, and staging works for over 43 years. She began her career dancing professionally with the Garden State Ballet and subsequently danced with Boston Repertory Ballet, Chicago Ballet, and for seven years with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle where she danced as a soloist with Mikhail Barishnikov and Gelsey Kirkland. She has toured as a guest artist throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. Ms. Berman served as an Artistic Director of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company from 1997-2010 and was also Director of the School, having previously served as the company’s ballet mistress from 1992. She conducted two capital campaigns for the GRBC one to renovate the old North Star Bus Terminal into four beautiful studios and office space and the other to build the LEED certified Peter Martin Wege Theatre and costume shop. At that time she was also Director of the School of the Grand Rapids Ballet Company establishing the school's curriculum, syllabus, faculty and performances. As a master teacher and coach her students have gone on to dance professionally with New York City Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Royal Danish Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Company, Ballet Antwerp, Semeroper Ballet, Philadelphia Ballet, Washington Ballet, St. Louis Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, as well as the Grand Rapids Ballet Company. Laura is a freelance choreographer and regularly stages full length ballets in addition to choreographing original work. She has a masters degree in Theatre from Northwestern University where she graduated with honors.
Erica Edwards started dancing at the young age of 5. Right away she knew dance was her life long passion. By the time Erica was 10 years old she was competing with the Center Stage Showteam in Battle Creek, Michigan. While on this competitive showteam, she studied ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap and hip hop. Erica competed on this competitive team from the age of 10 until the age of 18. During those 8 years, she attended several competitions and conventions around the United States and worked with great names such as Ray Leeper, Tony Testa, Sean Cheesman and Mia Micheals. Throughout her high school dancing career, she won several National and Regional titles. After graduating high school, Erica went on to college at Western Michigan University. While at Western, she studied dance and concert performance and earned her BA in dance and communications. She was also a part of the Western Michigan Dance Team and performed at the football, volleyball, and basketball games. When Erica graduated from WMU in 2006, she moved back to her hometown of Battle Creek and started her teaching career. Erica taught at Center Stage Dance Studio for 8 years. Over those 8 years, she won several choreography awards and her students received recognition for their excellence in ballet technique. She also played a big role in developing the hip hop program at Center Stage. While living in Battle Creek, Erica also spent time as the head coach for the Harper Creek High School Dance Team and held this position for 5 years. Under her direction, the HC Dance Team started a hip hop dance workshop for the kids in the community each winter. She has also held several workshops and intensives with private schools and studios in and around the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids area. Erica was a judge for Primetime Dance Competition for 3 years during this time as well. In 2013 Erica moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan and continued her teaching career. Erica loves teaching and bringing out her student's passion and love for dance. She is excited to see what the future holds.
Heidi Vander Boon
Heidi earned a BA in Dance from GVSU while under the direction of Jefferson Baum. She established the dance program at the DDH and WWW YMCA's before returning to her home state Ohio. There she owned and directed Ballet Academy of Fremont. She sold the academy and returned to GR with her husband and three daughters. She is passionate about ballet and teaching it to the next generation.
At age 21, Jamie started dancing ballroom and Latin dances at Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Naples, Florida, and immediately fell in love with everything about it. For someone who grew up around cows and horses on a farm in Lowell, Michigan, dancing opened a whole new world for her. After a couple years in Florida and returning to Michigan for family reasons, she continued her education and training and became an instructor for Arthur Murray Dance Studio for the next five years. While at Arthur Murray, Jamie was trained and certified as an instructor by several of the best coaches in the Grand Rapids and Chicago area. After leaving Arthur Murray she continued teaching for independent studios for the next few years before moving to Austin, Texas, for three years. While in Austin she received more training in swing and country dances and was promoted to trainer for new dance instructors. After becoming a mother and moving back to Michigan, Jamie has continued working with and teaching people of all ages. Her main goal has always been to make dancing fun and easy for everyone to learn; whether they have a partner or not, all can learn and participate in the fun and joy of dancing.
A Grand Rapids native, Ms. Jaglowski began ballet under the direction of Sally Seven (former dancer of Ballet Russes de Monte Carlo). She performed with the Grand Rapids Ballet Junior and Senior Companies, under the direction of former Joffrey Ballet artists Charthel Arthur, and Robert Estner. Summer intensive scholarships enabled her to attend programs with Joffrey, Pacific Northwest, and San Francisco Ballet School (where she graduated from their intensive year-round program.) Her professional career began with Cleveland San Jose Ballet. Among numerous principal roles she enjoyed, Ms. Jaglowski had premier solo works (The Dying Swan and Marilyn) created for her by renowned choreographer and Artistic Director Dennis Nahat and was featured in opening sequences of the Drew Carey Show. Upon landing in San Jose with the evolution of Ballet San Jose she was selected for a principal role in the dramatic Phaedra by the Danish choreographer Fleming Flindt. In the course of her career she has had the opportunity to work with ballet greats such as John Clifford, Donald MacKayle, and Rudy VanDanzig. She performed and studied with artists such as Johann Renvall, Cheryl Yeager, Marianna Tcherkassky, Amanda McKerrow, and John Gardner. Ms. Jaglowski later spent three seasons with Ballet Tucson as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer. Since her return to Michigan she has taught locally for competitive and non-competitive students and studios. She served as ballet mistress and choreographer for the West Michigan Youth Ballet from 2007 until 2013. Ms. Jaglowski joined the faculty at Michigan Ballet Academy in 2014, when artistic direction was awarded to internationally recognized choreographer and educator, Nikoloz Makhateli. Ms. Jaglowski is fully certified from Preprimary through Levels 6,7 and Partnering through the American Ballet Theater National Training Curriculum. She has also apprenticed and taught both Pilates and Yoga, and recently completed her 200 hr Yoga Teacher Training Certification. She is the owner of a health and wellness practice, GLOW LLC, and offers both private and group instruction.
Judith has been teaching for 25 years. After seeing dancers retire so early nowadays she puts her focus on injury prevention. In 2014 she started her education through perfect physio form, Australia. She took 2015 the teacher training level 1 with Lisa Howell, B. Phty to perfect all her knowledge directly from Lisa Howell. Through this organization, she came across progressive ballet technique, Marie Walton-Mahon, Australia. Teaching this conditioning class for ballet dancers helps students to understand the depth of training muscle memory to achieve their personal best in classical ballet. She added to another training in progressive contemporary technique in 2022. She keeps up with dance medicine to help her students keep dancing.
Ari L. Mokdad is an alumna from Grand Valley State University where she received three Bachelor of Arts degrees in Dance, Writing, and English. She has earned regional and national choreography awards, most notably, for her work "Grounded" which was selected to perform at the American College Dance Association in 2014. Ari had the privilege of working with many artists while at GVSU, such as Julie Blume, Thayer Jonutz, Autumn Eckman, Lauren Edson, Lizze Mackenzie, and Thodos Dance Chicago. Ari received her Master of Arts from Wayne State University in 2017. While in Detroit, she debuted a projection-mapped solo at the historic Detroit Music Hall titled Body Studies. Ari’s embodied lyric essay, titled “Body Studies: Arabets” was published in Elemental: A Collection of Michigan Creative Nonfiction, which was the recipient of the 2019 Michigan Notable Book Award. In 2019, Ari performed in Theotokos: Reimagining the Mother of God which was generously supported by the Lynch and Sons Fund for the Arts and debuted Water Studies with the Detroit Dance City Festival at the Detroit Institute of Arts. Ari is currently completing her MFA from Warren Wilson College and her PhD from Wayne State University. She is the recipient of the 2020 Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship and was awarded the 2021 Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs Grant for her forthcoming performance, When Water Moves.
Lisa started dancing at the age of eight. She studied ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical dance in the Grand Rapids area until she was 15. She then moved to Arizona to study ballet at the Tuscan School of Ballet. From there she moved to Phoenix and studied at the Phoenix School of Ballet. She has also lived in Indianapolis where she studied tap, jazz, and ballet at the Jordan College of Fine Arts. In all Lisa has over 30 years of teaching experience during her time in Grand Rapids, Arizona, and Indiana.
Yuka was born in Japan where she received her training from Hitomi Takeuchi Ballet School. In 2006, she attended English National Ballet School in the UK and her talent was quickly recognized, she was skipped first year to second year within couple of month. She graduated from ENBS in 2008. Upon graduating, Mario Radacovsky invited her to join the Slovak National Ballet where she danced a variety of roles such as Tchaikovsky Pas de Deux by George Balanchine, Spring lead lady in Four seasons by James Kudelka. Yuka was then invited to join Grand Rapids Ballet in 2011 where she has since danced many principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine (Serenade, Allegro Brilliant, Who Care’s?, Rubies and Four Temperaments). Marius Petipa (Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake), Yuri Possokhov (Firebird), Ben Stevensen (Cinderella), Val Caniparoli (Ibsen’s House, The Nutcracker), Christopher Stowell (A Midsummer Night’s Dream), Trey McIntyre (Wild Sweet Love), Annabelle Lopez Ochoa (Written and Forgotten, Memorias del Dorado, Dangerous Liaisons), Alejandro Cerrudo (Extremely Close). Yuka has won many competitions in Japan including NBA All Japan Ballet Competition, Saitama All Japan Dance Competition, UB All Japan Ballet Union Competition, International Ballet Competition in Yokohama, and others. In 2013, Yuka had the honor of performing Olivier Wever’s The Sofa at the Joyce Theatre in New York and reprised her role in Seattle. Yuka performed Le Corsaire Pas de Deux in the gala at The National Theatre in Tokyo and the Pas de Deux from Le Carnaval de Venise in Fukushima. In 2014, Val Caniparoli choreographed Clara on Yuka for the world premiere of The Nutcracker. She also choreographed for Grand Rapids Ballet since 2015 such as Wave, Eriha, Death and Maiden, Tomorrow Never Comes and Chansons de Bilitis. 2021 Virtual season Yuka had the opportunity to choreograph, direct and film her piece “sol and luna”.