Andrea has lived in the East Valley for most of her life. She started dancing as a child, taking lessons in jazz, tap, lyrical, gymnastics, and ballet, and studied ballet seriously from the ages of 11-17 with instructors at top local studios as well as instructors from Ballet Arizona, and had the opportunity to study with the Oakland Ballet Company when she lived in the Bay Area. She was a member of her high school dance company, but gave up dance after high school to attend college. She also pursued certification in yoga instruction. Currently, Andrea is an Instructor for Writing Programs at Arizona State University, where she is also working toward her PhD. Andrea is very excited to be part of the BFF team!
Michaela has been dancing since she was 3 years old and has a passion for building strength to improve life as a dancer and for everyday life! Though she feels at home in ballet classes, her favorite styles are jazz, contemporary and tap. She has taught kid’s dance classes from creative movement to after school curriculum to competitive performance teams (think Dance Moms…) for over 10 years. You are likely to see her on the BFF schedule teaching Stretch and Restore, Stretch and Tone, Beginning Lyrical Jazz or Floor Barre. She has been on the BFF team for almost 6 years and her favorite class to take is Barre Fit.
Gillian studied ballet intensively in her youth with an opportunity to go to New York City as a teenager to study ballet with The Washington Ballet. When family circumstances prevented that from becoming a reality, she developed a life-long passion for ballet that sometimes comes with unfulfilled dreams. In recent years, she has studied ballet with master teacher Daniel Baudendistel, known for applying kinetic principles and an understanding of the physics of the body to this classical dance art form. Drawing upon her masters in education, she teaches by breaking down basic ballet steps into easily digestible “chunks” and focuses on essential core body concepts to set you up with the right muscle memory – right from the start. If you too harbor a secret ballet dancer in your soul and never had the chance to explore that side of yourself, now’s your chance! She has a heart for those with unfulfilled ballet dreams…and can’t wait to see you in class.
When Shali is not too busy being a wife to her dearest hubby and a mommy to her adorable twin baby girls, you’ll most likely find her on the dance floor or at Ballet Fusion Fitness. Her love for dance started in 2004 when she began dancing Salsa at ASU and became a part of the ASU show team which competed in Latin and Ballroom divisions. Shali went on to further her Salsa dancing skills as a member of Salvaje Dance Company which performed at various Salsa congresses and events across the nation. Shali’s love for fitness began in high school when she competed and medaled in both track and field and cross-country. Currently Shali still teaches Salsa with her husband and remains a member of Salvaje Dance Company. Couple Shali’s love for dance with the fact that she was born and raised in France until the age of 10, and it seems appropriate that she would end up at the only Ballet-based fitness program in the nation. Now Studio BFF has become a second home. Ballet Fusion Fitness is the perfect marriage between fitness and dance. Shali is honored to be part of the BFF family.
Lindsay is originally from Scottsdale, but lived in Southern California for the past 22 years. She recently moved back to Phoenix with her family. She began performing and competing in jazz, hip-hop, contemporary and cheerleading at the age of 5. She continued to do so throughout elementary and high school. She then attended UCLA, where she split her time dancing on the UCLA dance team and performing as a Clippers Spirit dancer for the NBA. After receiving her B.A. in Sociology, Lindsay joined the Los Angeles Laker Girls and started acting in the entertainment industry. Some of her credits include: Ironman 2, NFL Pro Bowl Halftime Show, America’s Got Talent, The Tonight Show, American Country Awards, House M.D., The Conan Show, Sizzler Restaurants, IPad, Big Lots, Salonpas, Kmart and more. Her proudest accomplishment is traveling overseas to Kuwait and Iraq with her dance troupe, The Purrfect Angelz, to perform for our US Armed Forces. She was a songleading and dance instructor for the United Spirit Association for 8 years and a coach for the LAX All-Stars for 10 seasons. For the past 3 years, Lindsay has been teaching barre, dance/fitness, and conditioning classes. She enjoys motivating and encouraging others to work hard, stay focused and to always follow their passions. Lindsay knows how important it is to stay active and fit while having the time of your life.
Gina D’Amico was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she began taking dance classes at the age of three. Over the years she studied ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, and character dancing. She competed in dance competitions, and performed as part of a group and as a soloist, winning many top awards. In addition to her other dance studies, at eleven, Gina entered the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet in Narberth, PA. There she received intensive ballet training in the Vaganova syllabus with former Ballet Nationale de Cuba dancers, Margarita De Saa and John White. Mr. White is a renowned Vaganova pedagogy expert and accomplished author on the style as well. Gina received additional ballet training with many other acclaimed professionals such as Dede Barfield, Linda Mintzer, Laura Katz, Bryan Koulman, and Melinda Pendleton.
At the age of 17 Gina began an apprenticeship with the Pennsylvania Academy Ballet Society, she performed ballets, choreographed, and taught ballet and jazz classes. A year later she moved to Arizona, and for her last ten years here, she has been spreading her love for dance to children and adults. She has taught at many notable dance schools throughout Arizona. Currently she teaches classes in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, and stretch and tone, in addition to choreographing dances for competitions and performances. She instructs regularly at Dynamic Motion Dance Academy, Desert Sun Performing Arts, Power Elite Dance Academy, and Ballet Fusion Fitness.
Outside of the studio Gina is an avid country swing dancer with her husband Derek. They just got married in March of 2017 and live in Phoenix with their cat, Elsa. Gina is also pursuing degrees in anthropology and microbiology.
Hallie began her ballet training at the age of 5 in Tucson, AZ at Academy of Ballet under the instruction of teachers including Linda Walker, Gary McKenzie and Deborah Kennar. She also studied jazz beginning at the age of 8. She took part in, and performed in several summer workshops and danced in their company, Tucson Regional Ballet, for 6 seasons. During this time, Hallie also attended and performed in several Regional Dance America (RDA) Pacific festivals. Later, Hallie attended the University of Arizona where she continued to study ballet, modern and jazz and earned her Bachelor’s Degrees in Anthropology and Art History. Hallie’s love of dance and science brought her to Phoenix to attend graduate school at Arizona State University to pursue research in biomechanics and anatomy. Hallie earned her MA in anthropology at Arizona State University and now holds her PhD in anthropology as well. She holds certifications in pilates and barre and has taught for BFF since 2011. This studio is more than just a place to workout- it’s a community of amazing and supportive people and we want you to be part of it! Come join us for class!
Juliana received her formal training in Phoenix, Arizona, as well as at The Rock School for Dance Education, the Joffrey San Antonio Workshop, and with scholarship offers from State Street Ballet of Santa Barbara and the Milwaukee Ballet School before her acceptance to the highly selective ballet performance degree program through the University of Oklahoma. As a scholarship student, she graduated summa cum laude with honors from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Ballet Performance and a Spanish minor. Juliana performed with Oklahoma Festival Ballet for four seasons, as well as with the OU Opera Theatre, Contemporary Dance Oklahoma, and was twice a guest artist for the Arizona School of Classical Ballet. Upon graduation from OU, Juliana was invited to be a founding member of Convergence Ballet Company in Phoenix under Jennifer Cafarella, performing in CBC’s inaugural season. In 2010, she was selected to join the Georgia Ballet in Atlanta, where she danced as a company member for four seasons. She performed many classical and contemporary works under Gina Hyatt-Mazon and later under Alexandre Proia. Juliana also participated in the 2012 performance season of Atlanta’s Dance Canvas, a program bringing together all area performing artists. She returns this season to Arizona to join Terpsicore Dance Company. Juliana has been teaching for years to students of all ages and levels, and was named 2012’s “Classical Ballet Teacher of the Year” through the Destined 2 Dance Awards. She looks forward to joining in the camaraderie of BFF!
Danielle began her dance background at the age of 8 developing her skills in her dance studio’s company through high school. She attended Arizona State University double majoring in Interior Design and Design Management and maintains a full-time career as an Interior Designer. Throughout college she was a member of the ASU Dancing Devils and the ASU Show Team competing in Latin and ballroom styles. She is certified in the Lotte Burke Method and Mat Pilates though the Pilates Core Integration Program. Danielle believes in ballet based methods to develop a strong, long and lean physique.
Lisa first received the opportunity to study dance and music by joining her middle school’s color guard at the age of 11. It was while she competed with the Dublin High School winter guard that she began focusing more on ballet, lyrical and jazz technique. She is a three-time California Color Guard Circuit champion and a two-time Winter Guard International finalist. While participating in her high school and college level teams, she has also served four years as a color guard instructor for middle school, high school, and college-level students. Outside of marching band, she practiced social swing dancing and hip hop while in high school as well as social ballroom while attending California Polytechnic State University for her Bachelor’s in Computer Science. Though she has retired from color guard and maintains a full-time career as a software engineer, she still continues to study various dance styles as well as learning new ones such as competitive ballroom and bellydancing. Growing up shy, it was through music and dance that Lisa learned to express herself confidently, and as a Studio BFF instructor she wants nothing more than to pass on such confidence to her students.
Tamara is an Arizona native. She began taking ballet classes at the age of five with Mary Moe Adams in Tempe. Later, she continued her training as an apprentice with Ballet Arizona under the direction of Jean Paul Comelin. In 1989, she moved to New York City to continue her ballet studies at Balanchine’s School of American Ballet. She joined American Ballet Theatre(ABT) in 1991. During her ten year career with ABT, Tamara performed various roles in all the full-length classical repertory, as well as in a variety of works by choreographers that include Paul Taylor, Agnes de Mille, Lar Lubovitch, Twyla Tharp, George Balanchine, James Kudelka, Martha Graham, Mark Morris, Harold Landers, Natalie Weir, Anthony Tudor, David Parsons and Glen Tetley. In addition to performing and traveling around the world with ABT, Tamara was a guest artist with Ballet Met, Ballet Hawaii, and the Ballet Guild of the Lehigh Valley. She is in the movie Center Stage and the 1995 Frederick Wiseman documentary Ballet. Tamara retired from the stage in 2001. She holds a Masters degree in Nursing Informatics, works as a registered nurse, and is the proud mommy of a 3-year old budding ballerina. She is excited to be a member of the Ballet Fusion Fitness team and spread her love of ballet to others!
Candace was had been dancing off and on for 17 years in all dance styles, but seriously trained in ballet under Toni in the Royal Academy of Ballet method (RAD) in California. Before becoming injured she had the opportunity to work with choreographers like Debbie Allen, Janet Jackson and many more. After being diagnosed with a rare genetic metabolic liver enzyme disorder that effects the nervous system, Candace’s doctors found BFF to help her start to retrain her muscles and balance again. After becoming a long-time student and fan of the ballet and fitness classes she decided it was time to join the BFF family and become certified in Ballerobica and Barre. She loves spending time with her family and friends, curling up with a good book and anything and everything to do with her “mini-me” niece!
Haylie was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She was first introduced to dance in high school. With less than 2 years of training, she was accepted to Ewha Women’s University, the most prestigious dance university in Korea and received classical modern dance training. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Modern Dance. She has performed in variety of venues and has been a member of Ebnezar dance company in Seoul, South Korea and Freedom dance company in Pittsburgh, PA. After college, she decided to pursue a career in social work. She graduated with a Masters in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh and left dance. More than a decade after stopping dance, she rediscovered her passion when she stepped into Ballet Fusion Fitness a few years ago. Since then she has performed with the Second Act Dance Co., CGCC and Center Dance Ensemble. She has competed in the Artists of Promise and placed in the choreography category. Currently, she is a member of AZprojectDANCE and being mentored by the renowned teacher and choreographer Daniel Baudendistel. Haylie continues to seek for opportunities to grow as a dancer and instructor and through her dance, she hopes to inspire people to follow their passion. Haylie looks forward to sharing her love and passion in dance for many years to come.
Meg was the first one to tell you she hated the gym and did not enjoy working out! That was all until 2011 when she needed to make a lifestyle change and found Studio BFF. Meg started off slow by taking Stretch and Tone one to two times a week and slowly worked herself up to adding Ballerobica and Ballet Booty to the mix. In 2014, Meg decided it was finally the time to certify as a Level II instructor and really share her passion for working out and motivating others. When Meg is not at the studio she can be found playing with her Australian Shepherd, Freya or tackling a new recipe.
Melina started dancing when she was 2 years old. She began with tap and then moved on to ballet, jazz and hip hop. Melina danced through high school, and 2 years ago decided to take it up again at BFF. She had always wanted to take dance again but could never find an adult only studio until Ballet Fusion Fitness opened it’s doors. Luckily her sister and a friend started attending classes BFF and would not stop raving about it. After one class Melina was hooked! Melina is a Certified Level 2 Ballerobica Instructor and has absolutely I fell in love with the BFF family and with teaching!!!
Emily began her love of dance at age 16, when she began the study of ballet at Ballet Rincon in Tucson, AZ. She began studying ballet, jazz and tap and quickly discovered her desire to progress in ballet, particularly. She performed in various roles with Ballet Rincon throughout high school and began studying at the Academy of Ballet under the direction of Linda Walker. She danced in the Tucson Regional Ballet for one season. Emily graduated from the University of Arizona with a BM in Music Education, piano being her emphasis, and began teaching elementary general music classes in 2010. She continues to teach private piano lessons. She recently graduated and worked as a Certified Medical Transcriptionist. Emily had her first son in 2015 and enjoys being the mom of a very active toddler! She is excited to be a part of the Ballet Fusion Fitness team and loves the inviting, encouraging atmosphere of the studio.
Haley entered the health and fitness industry in 2001 working as an ACE certified personal trainer and group fitness instructor for Arizona State University’s Student Recreation Center. Her classes included kickboxing, bootcamp, pilates and weight training. In 2004 she became the program coordinator for the personal training department and has helped hundreds become empowered through education on proper health and fitness habits. Haley continued in this position until her graduation in 2006, receiving her bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture and continues to work in this field full time today. Haley found her passion for teaching again at Ballet Fusion Fitness and now teaches Ballet Boxing. Haley is an attentive, results-oriented instructor with a flair for making high intensity workouts a fun and exciting experience. You’ll definitely be coming back for the beating!
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