top of page

INSTRUCTORS

Our goal is to inspire young artists through the study of dance, which sets a foundation of life skills that empowers each one to realize their full potential. 

Meet The Team

Margie+Vizurraga-640w_edited.jpg

Margie Vizzuraga

Studio Owner Tap/Ballet Lyrical/Musical Theater

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.

Stephen headshot_edited.jpg

Stephen Sanford

Studio Owner
Intermediate & Advanced Ballet

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.

LauraBerman+(1)+(1)+-+Copy-640w_edited.jpg

Laura Berman

Intermediate & Advanced Ballet

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.

IMG_7690_edited_edited.jpg

Bree Dean

 Contemporary

Bree began her dance training at the Grand Rapids Ballet Company at the age of nine. She trained there throughout high school and had the opportunity to take class and perform alongside the professional company. During this time, she received the Award of Excellence Scholarship and also competed in Youth American Grand Prix, placing Top 12 for the Senior Ballet Division. Bree furthered her dance education at Grand Valley State University where she majored in both Dance and Clinical Exercise Science. She performed in faculty and guest artists' works throughout the four years and was also a member, and later President of the student-run dance organization, Momentum. She was awarded the Rebecca Vogelsang Memorial Scholarship in 2011 and the Alexander Calder Honors Scholarship in 2014. Bree then earned her doctorate from Grand Valley State University and is currently working as a Pediatric Physical Therapist at Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. Bree is passionate about creating an inclusive environment and building relationships with her dancers. She hopes to advance her students' technique while inspiring passion and artistry through her classes.

IMG_2311(1)_edited.jpg

Erica Edwards

Contemporary, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Acro

Erica started dancing  at the young age of 5. 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.

artist-featured-julie-torrence-163672950

Julie Torrence

Intermediate & Advanced Ballet

Julie began dancing at the young age of three. At the age of 11 she started classes at the Milwaukee Ballet  School under Liz Legget, and within a year was training in the prestigious pre-professional division at the  Milwaukee Ballet. While there, she went on to study under Taras Kalba, Jeanette Makaro, and Nicole  Sowinski and performed various roles in the Nutcracker, Giselle, and Swan Lake. Julie has also enjoyed  training under notable teachers throughout the Chicagoland area including the late Larry Long of the Ruth  Page Center for Dance, Regina and Ricardo Moyano of Dance West Ballet, and Preston Miller, Julianna  Slager, and Rick and Lara Faucher.  

In 2000, Julie graduated from Hope College with a BA in Psychology and Dance. After graduation, she began  teaching at Turning Pointe School of Dance in Holland, MI and was Lara Faucher’s first instructor. Lara and  Julie created a full ballet curriculum for ages 3-adult, Levels I-V. She choreographed several works for  Turning Pointe productions for The Promise, You are Special, and other ballets. Upon moving to Chicago in 2005, Julie founded the former Turning Pointe School of Dance, Chicago (now  Ballet 5:8) where she served as Artistic Director, faculty member, resident choreographer, and school  administrator for over 10 years. She set numerous full length original ballets including Creation to  Revelation, Noah and the Ark, Created to Worship, and various works for, For Such a Time as This and the  annual Christmas ballet The Promise, and created an in-depth ballet curriculum. In 2015 she moved to Michigan, and began teaching with Amy Russell at Ballet Kalamazoo where she has  taught for the past five years, age three-adult. Her specialty is working with the ballet conservatory, Levels  II-IV, pre-pointe and pointe. Julie has choreographed numerous pieces for Ballet Kalamazoo productions.  

Julie loves sharing her passion for dance through providing excellent classical ballet training to her students,  and teaching them lifelong skills. She resides in Lowell and is the Executive Assistant to the COO and CFO at  Hope Network. She has three grown children, Alexis-23, Olivia-20, and Ethan-19. And a black and white  puppy cockapoo named Gigi.

Lisa Peasley_edited.jpg

Lisa Peasley

Ballet/Jazz/Tap

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.

Ednis-Gomez-Horizontal-300x200_edited.jp

Ednis Gomez

Contemporary

Ednis Gomez was born in the Dominican Republic Mr Ednis began his training at Expresiones y Danza Soraya Gallardo at the age of 16.

He has tudied choreography and interpretive dance in the Alicia Alonso institute at King Juan Carlos University, Madrid, Spain. He was a company member at Grand Rapids Ballet from 2014-2018.

Ashley-Rosendahl-C-240x300_edited.jpg

Ashley Rosendahl

Intermediate & Advanced Ballet

Born in Minnesota, Ashley is a graduate of WestMet Classical Training where she trained under the direction of Allynne Noelle and Thomas Brown. During her Pre-Professional career she performed various works such as George Balanchine’s valse fantasie, Sidra Bells Beyond The Edge of the Frame, and most recently the title role in Act II of Giselle. In 2022 Ashley started her professional career as a trainee and is now an apprentice with the Grand Rapids Ballet. During her time with the Grand Rapids Ballet she performed works such as George Balanchine’s Serenade and Who Cares, along with James Sofranko’s Romeo and Juliet, and Val Caniparoli’s The Nutcracker.

Ari-L-Mokdad_edited.jpg

Ari Mokdad

Contemporary

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.

Yuka.jpg

Yuka Oba-Muschiana

Intermediate & Advanced Ballet

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”.

1006062945-FL_SAR_SCUBA17C-480x553 ariel

Ariel Serrano

Guest Instructor

Born and raised in Oriente, Cuba, Ariel Serrano grew up training at his country's National School of Ballet system. He concluded his studies in 1990, at the National School of Arts in Italy. Upon his return to Cuba, he danced with Ballet Camagüey under the direction of Fernando Alonso, and then joined the Youth Corps of the National Ballet of Cuba under Laura Alonso and artistic director Alicia Alonso. Next, he became a principal dancer with the Ballet de Monterrey in Mexico. In 1993, he and his wife, Wilmian Hernandez, defected from Cuba. A year later, they were invited to join the Sarasota Ballet, then under the direction of Robert de Warren, where they both danced principal roles until their retirement in 2000.

In 2011, the Serranos co-founded the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School (SCBS). This is the first school in the United States to exclusively teach the Cuban ballet style to all proficiency levels, from beginners to pre-professional.

Every year, Mr. Serrano recruits students from all across the United States and all around the World, so the School might meet its goal of fostering global understanding and nurturing culturally diverse talent for the enrichment of America’s Ballet scene.

bottom of page