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DEENA FOURNIER
Studio Owner and Director

Deena began dancing at the age of 10 after completing a book report on Maria Tallchief’s autobiography and has loved dance ever since.  She studied with the Milwaukee Ballet School and School of Chicago City Ballet under such notable teachers as Francoise Martinet, Paul Sutherland, Basil Thompson, Melissa Hayden, Maria Tallchief, Diana Adams, Homer Bryant, Edward Villella, Allegra Kent and Joel Hall.  Upon returning home, Deena enrolled in college and continued to perform for two civic ballet companies, Plymouth-Canton Ballet Company and Livonia Civic Ballet Company.  She performed leading and soloist roles in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Cinderella, Flying Colors, Paquita, Les Sylphides, Swan Lake and Dracula.  She also began studying her Cecchetti Teacher’s Certification.  She currently holds her Professional Advanced VII certificate with the Cecchetti Council of America to which she has been a member since 1992. 

 

Deena has over 30 years of dance teaching experience and has co-owned Ann Arbor Dance Classics with Lisa Holland since 2000.  She is currently sole owner and director of AADC.  In those 30+ years, she has had several dancers compete regionally and nationally.  She has had students win scholarships as well as competitive awards.  Many of her students have gone on to study dance in colleges across the country and have also gone on to perform professionally as well.  Her love and knowledge of dance has also inspired many of her former students to become dance teachers.  She continues to teach her love of dance to as many young people as she can.  

 

Deena currently resides in Milan, Michigan with her husband and her two daughters.  She also enjoys camping, hiking and cooking.

dance instructor
LISA HOLLAND
Founder

Lisa has been teaching dance for more than 30 years.  She founded Ann Arbor Dance Classics in 1996 with the objective of creating an environment for dance education which included various styles of dance, but remained centered on a foundation of classical ballet training.

 

In 2000, Lisa Holland was reunited with Deena Fournier, a friend with whom she had trained in ballet for many years. They became business partners, and in 2004 established the AADC Youth Dance Ensemble (YDE), an in-house performance company for dancers between the ages of 8 and 18.  With Deena directing the ballet program, Lisa was able to turn her attention to her passion for musical theater and tap. Having enjoyed performing in numerous shows including A Chorus Line, Pippin, and Jesus Christ Superstar, Lisa enjoys creating production numbers for YDE which focus on the theatrical elements of dance. Outside of AADC, Lisa has choreographed for and directed the CRU National Dance Spectacular, and continues to choreograph the musicals for Saline High School. In December of 2019, Lisa handed over ownership and directorship of Ann Arbor Dance Classics solely to Deena Fournier.

                                       

Lisa works full time at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan where she attended graduate school. She currently resides in Saline with her husband Steve.

dance teacher
EMMA GRABARCZYK
Instructor

Emma has been dancing since the age of seven with most of her training focused on ballet, pointe, jazz and modern. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Eastern Michigan University in 2011 with a degree in Dance Studio Management. While at EMU, she performed in numerous faculty and guest artist pieces, multiple full length ballets, and many student choreography pieces. She also served as secretary for EMU Dance Forum. She continues her own training any chance she can with classes and workshops. She has taken class at Chicago's Lou Conte Dance Studio and the Joffrey Ballet School as well as attending the Jazz Dance World Congress in Pittsburgh.

 

Emma has been teaching at Ann Arbor Dance Classics since 2011 and enjoys working with every age and level. She choreographs for the Youth Dance Ensemble and Competition Team and loves working with a wide range of students in many different styles of dance.

STEPHANIE RONDY
Instructor

Stephanie is a native of the Detroit-Metro area, having received her early training at Noretta Dunworth School of Dance (NDSD) in Dearborn, Michigan. Seeking further education in the art form, she attended Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Dance, focused in Studio Management. Throughout her college career, Stephanie had the opportunity to perform in multiple works at the American College Dance Festival (ACDF) and claimed starring roles in the ballets Cinderella and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  It was during this time that she also gained professional performing experience with Rustic Groove Dance—a modern concert dance company based in Jackson, Michigan.

Stephanie returned to Michigan after receiving her Master of Arts at New York University with a full certification in the American Ballet Theatre® (ABT) National Training Curriculum (NTC)—a breakthrough eight level program that combines high quality artistic training with the basics of dancer health and child development. While in New York, Stephanie worked in Development at ABT and was a substitute instructor at several area dance academies, including the Joffrey Ballet School.  In her spare time, Stephanie fed her love of performance by dancing with theater dance company Aries in Flight, founded by her NYU cohort, Catherine Baggs.

MELANIE SIMPSON
Instructor

Melanie has been dancing for 20+ years and competing since the age of eight. She is trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, gymnastics, tap, musical theatre, hip hop, modern and precision pom. She is a Livonia Churchill High School graduate where she participated in the Creative And Performing Arts program. While in CAPA, she danced in choreographed group and solo numbers for her fellow dancers. It was during her time at Churchill that she discovered her passion for choreography and teaching. She was also a member of the award winning Churchill Chargers Pom Pon team. 

After high school Melanie attended Eastern Michigan University majoring in Dance Performance. She has had the pleasure of studying under many master teachers including Glenn Packard (from the television show "Brooke Knows Best”), Addison O’Day (formerly of the Alabama Ballet), Keith Clifton, Rhonda Miller, and Jamie Trepanier. Melanie was also selected by audition for a small part in the movie “Youth In Revolt”. 

Recently she has been teaching and choreographing for several local dance studios. Her engaging and energetic choreography has helped her students to achieve numerous regional and national awards. Melanie looks forward to sharing her dedication, energy, and creative choreography with her students this year.

CHRISTINE GOLUS
Instructor

Miss Chris received her BFA from the University of Michigan School of Art and is Managing Director and owner of Q LTD – a design, branding, web studio located in Ann Arbor. Chris has had a life-long love of dance and began her training in the Detroit area at a young age at the Dick and Connie Reppa and Bunny Sanford dance studios. She was a long time modern dance student of J. Parker Copley and studied with Noonie (Hamp) Anderson, Whitley (Setrakian) Hill, Peter Sparling, Peter Kentes, Debra Sipos-Roe, and others. Most recently she has studied Latin dance with Laura Geldys. Chris has choreographed and performed her own works as well as performed in works by Noonie Anderson, J. Parker Copley, Pat Plasko, Peter Sparling, and Whitley Setrakian. Miss Chris has taught creative movement since 1993 and Modern Dance since 2004.

 

Prior to teaching at Ann Arbor Dance Classics she was at a teacher at Arts in Motion and Dance Gallery Studio. She also served as Board Member and Secretary of Dance Gallery Foundation, the umbrella organization for the Peter Sparling Dance Company and Dance Gallery Studio. She loves inspiring young dancers to express their own creativity through improvisation techniques grounded in strong technical training.

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NATASHA KONANAHALLI
Instructor

Natasha is thrilled to return to AADC for another year. She has danced and competed throughout her life; including ballet, jazz, tap, and lyrical. Currently she specializes in teaching ballet with some lyrical. Natasha studied at the University of Michigan and now works as a mechanical engineer during the day. After long days at work she loves to go to the studio, bond with the students, and share her passion of dance.

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MOLLY MCMILLAN
Instructor

Miss Molly grew up learning ballet, Cecchetti, jazz, tap, musical theater, and lyrical at Ann Arbor Dance Classics under the instruction of Deena Fournier and Lisa Holland. Summers were spent continuing her dance training at programs including: Joffrey Ballet, Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Cecchetti Council of America, and Ballet Met. After graduating from high school, Molly went on to complete a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Wayne State University with a full Presidential Scholarship and talent scholarship.

 

From there, she spent about two years in Chicago working as a freelance performer in contemporary companies before her six-year career as a Dancer/Singer with Carnival Cruise Lines. During the pause in operations, Molly had the pleasure of teaching hybrid and COVID-safe classes at AADC. She is thrilled to be back teaching the amazing (primarily younger) students of AADC this year.

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DECLAN O'CONNELL
Instructor

Declan O’Connell is a recent graduate of Wayne State University where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Prior to college, Declan trained at The Foundation House under the direction of Jason and Bianca Janas, and Dance Avenue under the direction of Sarah Sieloff, where he was also a member of their elite competition companies. Declan’s extensive studio training has included Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Jazz Funk, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Tap. He has also had the opportunity to train with and perform in pieces choreographed by such artists as Dee Caspary, Tessandra Chavez, Gregg Russell, Jason Janas, Kathryn McCormick, and Valerie Rockey. During his time at Wayne State University, Declan has performed in works by choreographers such as Hannah Bricston, Marc Spaulding, Madi Hicks and Bryan and Shaina Baira, and has trained under such faculty as Dr. RAS Mikey Courtney, Meg Paul, Karen Prall, Lisa Lamarre Wilmot, Hannah Andersen, Kristi Faulkner, and Jessica Rajko. In addition, Declan’s training has taken him all over the country including to Atlanta, Cleveland, Dallas, Orlando and Los Angeles, where he trained at Millennium Dance. Declan is currently a member of the select Tap Into The Network Apprentice Program under the direction of Angela Carter and Ryan Lohoff and is a former member of the Detroit Tap Repertory. During his tenure at Wayne State University, he was a member of several of the performance companies, including Company One, Virtual Dance Collaboratory and To Sangana. As a member of the Titans of Dance Titan Force, he was selected to work with and assist the likes of Fik-Shun Stegall, Lane Napper, Hannahlei Cabanilla and Gaby Diaz, and has also had the opportunity to work as an assistant teacher with Energy the Convention. Declan believes that the best teachers inspire their dancers to work hard and have fun.

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ASHLEE PHILLIPS
Instructor

Ashlee has been dancing since the age of three.  She began dancing competitively regionally and nationally at the age of nine with Juliana’s Academy of Dance. This is where she developed her passion for performing and competing. Ashlee is trained in multiple style including tap, ballet, musical theatre, hip hop, modern and lyrical. 

 

Ashlee had the opportunity to become a student teacher/assistant and discovered her passion for teaching and choreography. During her dance career she has had the opportunity take instruction and perform in pieces from many world renowned artist such as Micheal Lemanski, Juliana Pirpinelli, Jess Hendricks, Dee Caspary, Chris Jacobsen, Caroline Lewis Jones, Sonya Tayeh and many more.  Ashlee has had the opportunity to work with several music artist and dance in music videos. 

 

Ashlee is continuing her education at Eastern University studying nursing and dance.  She is also a member of the Eastern University dance team. 

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PAOLA SOUZA
Instructor

Paola began dancing when she was eleven years old at Ann Arbor Dance Classics. She soon joined the YDE competition team, and spent the next seven years dancing with them. Paola trained in ballet, jazz, pointe, and contemporary. She graduated from Milan High School in 2019. 

 

She returned to Ann Arbor Dance Classics as a dance instructor the same year she graduated with hopes of sharing her love for dance with other dancers!

 

Paola is currently attending University of Michigan-Dearborn, and working towards a degree in International Studies.

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LEAH STROUD
Instructor

Bio coming soon!

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OLIVIA WALTERS
Instructor

Olivia has been dancing her whole life and grew up at Ann Arbor Dance Classics. After graduating in 2018, she went on to get a Bachelor of Science in Psychology at Michigan State University, graduating in May of 2022. She continued dancing throughout college by getting her Minor in Dance and being a part of many performances. She was a member of the Orchesis Dance Company and taught weekly classes; performed and choreographed for Dance Minor Showcases; was a part of MSU Theater Department productions; was a Teaching Assistant for the dance minor program; etc.

 

Olivia has experience in styles across the board. For the 2023-2024 season, she teaches jazz and hip hop, as well as choreographing/working on competition pieces, production, The Nutcracker, and the Benefit Show. Olivia also works in marketing, along with AADC. Olivia has made lifelong friends at this studio and is so excited to be back and teaching the next generation of AADC dancers!

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CAROLINE ZAJAC
Instructor

Bio coming soon!

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LISA BARNES
Front Desk Staff

Lisa is a native of the Detroit-Metro area. She has been a part of the Ann Arbor Dance Classics Family, since her daughter Brianna took her first dance class in July 1999. Lisa joined the staff of Ann Arbor Dance Classics in 2007.

 

Lisa attended Eastern Michigan University and graduated with a Bachelors of Business Administration, specializing in Accounting.

 

Lisa also works full time for the University of Michigan, Student Financial Services as a Senior Accountant.

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TAMMY ZAJAC
Front Desk Staff

Tammy has been part of the AADC family since her oldest daughter, Alli, at age four, decided she wanted to dance like Coffee (Wendy Whelan) in The New York City Nutcracker. That began more than 25 years of dance for the Zajac family. Two other daughters, Sarah and Caroline would join Alli. Soon, Tammy and husband Gary found themselves dancing as parents in the Nutcracker as well. During this time, Tammy worked at the front desk, helped with costumes, sets, props, cleaned, and organized.

 

Tammy received her Bachelor's (Special Education) and Master's (Early Childhood) in teaching at Eastern Michigan University. She recently retired after 32 years of teaching; 8 years for Monroe ISD and 24 for Milan. While at Milan she was assistant director of many K-8 plays, including Willy Wonka, Annie, and several Christmas plays. She assisted in others, such as, Music Man, The Jungle Book, and The Wizard of Oz. She resides in Milan, with her family.

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MADI HOFE
Guest Choreographer

Madi is an Ann Arbor Dance Classics alumna, Class of 2018, and a graduate of the University of Michigan where she completed a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Dance. She has studied with Complexions Contemporary Ballet as well as the University of Florida's Dance in Paris Program, and performed with the Salto Dance Company while at the University of Michigan.

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OLIVIA LEMMENES
Guest Choreographer

Olivia Lemmenes graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor in Fine Arts with a degree in Dance. Olivia is originally from Evanston, IL, where she danced for fifteen years with Dance Center Evanston. She was also part of their youth company, the Evanston Dance Ensemble, for six years. Throughout her dance career she has had the opportunity to work with Jeremy Blair, Monique Haley, BAIRA, Mike Esperanza, Julie Nakagawa, Eddy Ocampo, and many more. Olivia is trained in modern, jazz, ballet, tap, and hip hop, and specializes in teaching modern, ballet, tap and jazz. 

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KAEA PRESCOTT
Guest Choreographer

After graduating from Community High School in 2018, Kaea moved to New York City to continue studying dance at Broadway Dance Center (BDC). During the fall semester of the training program at BDC, Kaea signed with MSA Agency - one of the leading Talent Agencies for dance on the globe. Kaea completed the training program, and continued to live in the city training and auditioning. However, due to COVID-19, Kaea (along with many other artists) moved back home to Ann Arbor, where she returned to Ann Arbor Dance Classics to help train and support students in growing their passion for dance.

 

Kaea resides in Los Angeles, California where she is pursuing dance professionally and continues to work as a guest choreographer for Ann Arbor Dance Classics. Even though she might not be around all the time, she hopes that the AADC students are ready for an amazing year and cannot wait to see the work they produce!

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