Miss Melissa Maniaci- Dance Instructor
Jenna was born and raised in Monroe and after 10 years in South Carolina and Georgia, she and her husband Josh, also a Monroe native, moved back to the area to raise their two young daughters close to family. Jenna has been dancing since the age of 3 training in all styles of dance. Ballet and Pointe have always been her favorite and where she dedicated most of her class time, training under her mother as her instructor, Miss Phyllis McCormick. Jenna is also a classically trained pianist and professional event planner. She is incredibly excited to have joined the faculty at VDC and hopes to inspire all of her students to find a love for ballet and dance just as she did.
Miss Alie Asher- Dance Instructor
Melissa is a life long resident of Monroe County. She married the love of her life in 2000 and they have 3 wonderful children. Melissa began dancing at the age of 3 training in ballet, lyrical, jazz, with her focus being in hawaiian and tahitian. She danced competitively for 12 years and held numerous titles. One of her greatest accomplishments was holding the title of Miss Monroe County 1995 and was also awarded non-finalist talent winner at Miss Michigan 1996 with her tahitian routine. Melissa has coached several young ladies in talent and interview skills, 3 of which have gone on to win the title of Miss Monroe County. Melissa holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Toledo in Arts and Sciences with a focus in Child Psychology. She currently works as an administrative assistant at the St. Michael's Campus of Monroe Catholic Elementary Schools. Melissa loves teaching the art of dance and loves seeing her students working together and having fun in her classes.
Miss Kaedem Leal- Tumbling and Acro Instructor
Miss Courtney started dancing at the age of three and started competing at the age of five. She was a competitive dancer for fourteen years and during that time was a member of many award winning routines. She started assisting classes at a young age and began teaching her own classes at the age of sixteen. Courtney received her high school education from Toledo School for the Arts, where she studied various types of dance and performed with two dance companies. She has been trained in tap, jazz, modern, lyrical, hip hop, ballet and hula. Miss Courtney attended MCCC and received an Associate degree in Business Administration in 2011. She joined the Viva staff as an instructor in the summer of 2013, and has since taken on an assistant director role where she will be managing our Shining Stars Recreational Dance Program for our students ages 6 and under. Miss Courtney has an incredible way with our youngest dancers and loves sharing her passion for the art of dance with her students and is looking forward to all that the upcoming season brings her way!
Miss Courtney Huntington- Dance Instructor/Shining Stars Program Director
Miss Elise Hanson- Dance Instructor
Meet Our Fabulous Faculty and Staff...
Miss Kaitlynne Cole started her dance training at the age of 10 in a recreational hip hop class. She was soon invited to audition for the competitive performance team at Viva Dance Company with Nichole Blanke. She loved the art of dance so much and advanced quickly. She started assisting classes when she was 14 years old and started co-teaching her own class when she was 16. Throughout her competitive dance career she had the chance to take class and work with many amazing teachers and choreographers from around the country. She also received multiple scholarships and many high overall placements as a soloist and group dancer. Miss Kaitlynne has also been invited to perform in opening numbers for VIP Dance Competition and Revolution Talent Competition. Most importantly, she learned many lessons about self-discipline, teamwork and having confidence in yourself, along with making many great friends. Kaitlynne is going into her sophomore year of college finishing up her prerequisites at Monroe County Community College. Her goal is to go to a four year university next to get a major in the medical field. Miss Kaitlynne has always had a strong passion for dance and for teaching the younger dancers. She wants to be an inspiration for her students and share with all of them her love for dance.
Lynann Johnson and Shawn Satterfield
Miss Nicci Blanke- Owner/Dance Instructor/Company Director
Tess Eshenroder and Britton Johnson
Not Pictured: Rylee Choike and Sophia Jordan
Miss Kaitlynne Cole- Dance and Tumbling Instructor
Miss Jenna Webb- Dance Instructor
Elise Hanson graduated from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a Dance Major in 2008. While studying at BGSU, she was a two year member of the University Performing Dancers Program, where she studied and performed modern, tap, ballet, jazz, Balinese, and Korean dance. She has an extensive background as a competitive dancer with the former Dance Reach Studio in Columbus, Ohio, having received numerous titles and overall placements as a soloist and group dancer. Elise has performed in the American College Dance Festival at Western Michigan University and also had the privilege of being selected to dance in the gala performance at the OU Dance Festival. Elise has also performed with Tammy Metz Starr's Open Window Dance Company and has studied with world renowned instructors such as Buster Brown, Barbara Bufalino, Sarah Reich, Chloe Arnold, Gregg Russell, and many more. She has taught dance at Owens Community College and continues to follow her passion for teaching and choreographing dances for all ages and abilities. She loves making dance accessible, engaging, and fun for all of her students and looks forward to working with your young dancer this season.
COME DANCE AND TUMBLE WITH US AT VIVA!
Miss Dani Scaggs- Dance Instructor
Kendall began her dance career at the age of 10 under Carmen Wade, former dancer with Dance Theater of Harlem. She focused on her classical ballet, pointe, and pas de deus training which allowed her the unique opportunity to take lessons from world-renowned ballet masters and perform a range of lead roles in both classical and contemporary ballets including The Nutcracker Ballet, La File mal gardee, and Coppelia. During her pre-professional and professional career she was accepted to and awarded scholarships for; San Francisco Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Nutmeg, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, among others. Her teaching career began at an early age where she quickly instilled an environment of inclusivity and goodness in her classes. She strives to inspire her students to know that you don't have to choose between arts and sciences as they are not mutually exclusive. As long as you are willing and determined to put in the work, you can continue to do the things you love. Always trying to live by example, Kendall is completing her doctoral degree in Biochemistry at Wayne State University. She continues to further her teaching abilities by attending teaching seminars, workshops, and ballet certifications. In the 17 years she has choreographed pieces for national and international competitions, local performances, end of the year exhibitions, and directed/produced classical ballets such as The Nutcracker Ballet, contemporary ballets, and charity performances. Her students have been accepted to some of the most prestigious ballet schools including American Ballet Theater, Boston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and The Rock. For her students Kendall states, "Ballet not only gives us the opportunity to find and embrace our inner artist, but it pushes us to work hard, be strong, be fearless, and to persevere."
More information about Miss Kaedem coming soon!
Miss Dani started dancing at the young age of two and continued training throughout southeast Michigan for 14 years in most styles of dance including jazz, lyrical, ballet, contemporary, musical theater, and hip-hop. She has taught recreational and competitive dance for over 12 years at numerous studios throughout Monroe County and the surrounding areas and has choreographed many award winning routines during this time. Miss Dani has held the position of head coach fro two different high school dance teams and also traveled the country with Next Level Dance as their convention manager. She loves to continue studying the art of dance and learning new teaching techniques by attending master classes and teacher seminars as often as the opportunity arises. Miss Dani has a true love for dance, children, and learning and loves working with her students and watching them grow! She is currently the Behavior Specialist at Triumph Academy here in Monroe and is also actively pursuing a degree in child psychology and a mom to her 2 children with a third on the way! Miss Dani's favorite thing about teaching dance is seeing the growth in her students not only as dancers, but also in the area of work ethic, class taking skills, and overall confidence. She is so excited to share her passion for dance with all of our students for many years to come!
Miss Isabella "Bella" Varon- Dance Instructor/Company Assistant Director
Miss Kendall Muzarelli- Ballet Instructor
Alie Asher is a recent graduate from Point Park University. She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), magna cum laude, in Dance with a concentration in Modern under the direction of Garfield Lemonius. During her studies she performed works by various artists such as Kyle Abraham, Slowdanger, Kate Skarpetowska, and Martha Nichols. She has trained internationally at multiple intensive workshops including the B12 Festival where she performed a new creation by Victor Quijada, and Domaine Forget De Charlevoix where she performed Rubberbanddance repertoire as well as new creations by Alan Lake and Anne Plamondon. Alie plans to continue her personal research in movement and choreography and is eager to share her knowledge to empower and inspire the future generation of young dancers.
Miss Nicci is a native of Monroe, Michigan. She attended Monroe High School where she graduated with Suma Cum Laude Honors, was editor of the yearbook staff, a member of National Junior Honor Society, a Varsity Cheerleader, and Varsity Dance Team member. She attended Monroe County Community College on full academic scholarship where she earned her Associates of Science Degree with a focus in business. She went on to study dance at The University of Toledo, however when the dance program was eliminated from the University, she decided it was time to chase her dream of owning her own studio where she could have the amazing opportunity to pass on her love for dance. Miss Nicci is certainly no stranger to the dance industry. She began taking lessons in tap dancing at the young age of 2 and immediately fell in love with the art! Nicci studied a wide variety of dance subjects during her 18 years of studio training including tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical, modern, hawaiian, and tumbling. By the age of 14 she had found herself in the classroom as a student teacher and she knew she had found her calling. Over the last 20+ years Miss Nicci has continued teaching the youth of Monroe County and surrounding areas, taking great pride in the opportunity to mentor each and every one of her students. She created Viva Dance Co. in 2005 with the vision of providing quality dance lessons in a studio environment where every child feels important and accomplished. Her goal has always been to continue sharing her gift with the purpose of mentoring youth thru the art of dance. Miss Nicci continues to further her teaching skills by attending numerous regional and national conventions and workshops each season and also by hosting master classes with some of the industry's most sought out instructors and choreographers. It is these folks who help her to make sure Viva is offering top notch training while ensuring all of our students are learning proper technique and body placement so they are training in the safest of environments. She enjoys seeing her students learn and grow both in dance and in life skills and truly believes that children can benefit so much from the immeasurable value of the amazing GIFT of DANCE.
Isabella Varon, a Michigan native and recent graduate of Marymount Manhattan College in New York City, holds a BFA in dance with a concentration in ballet. She began her dance training at the age of 2 at Juliart Dance Studio in Troy, Michigan. Her training includes ballet, pointe, contemporary, modern, lyrical, jazz, and tap. Additionally during her training at Juliart, Isabella spent 9 years dancing at the competitive level obtaining numerous awards and scholarships. During her time spent studying at Marymount, she performed works by Kyle Abraham, Adam Barruch, Michael Thomas, Breton Tyner-Bryan, John Heginbotham, and Nancy Lushington. Isabella has spent summers training at Hubbard Street's Professional Intensive, American Ballet Theater, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, and SpringboardX. Currently Isabella resides in Michigan. Alongside teaching dance and freelancing, she is also an ArtLabJ Company Member and Guest Artist-In-Residence for Young Dancers Initiative. Miss Bella is very excited to have the opportunity to spread her love for ballet and dance with the students at Viva while she is back in her home state.