OUR FACULTY

MELVA STELZER- ZAVISA, DIRECTOR
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MICHELLE DRAPER, CO-DIRECTOR
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MICHAEL HICKS

Michael Hicks is known throughout the country for his award-winning, high energy choreography. He has has been on the faculty of the Cecchetti Council of America and has taught workshops and summer intensives for many regional dance studios. Mr. Hicks has studied with Master jazz instructors Toni Lewis, Luigi, Joe Tremaine, Frank Hatchett and Gus Giordano. He is a former been an advisor for the Cecchetti Council of America. His talents put him in contstant demand for Master classes in jazz, modern, lyrical and contemporary. Mr. Hicks is also an accomplished performer; in addition to his appearances on the popular TV show, Dance Fever, he also performed and choreographed for the North American International Auto Show. His choreography is his true forte; he has won numerous national overall awards for organizations such as Dance Olympus, Dance Masters, Kids Artistic Review and Starpower. Many of Mr Hicks’ students have gone onto professional careers with companies such as the Cincinnati Ballet, Celebrity Cruise Lines and Disney. He is certified with Dance Masters of Michigan and Dance Masters of America.

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AUTUMN KOSS-YONTZ

Autumn Koss Yontz graduated from Marygrove College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree majoring in dance and a minoring in theater, art, and music. During her college years, she danced with the Dance Detroit Ballet Company under the direction of Iacob Lascu with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She has been with the American Dance Academy since it opened in 1978. Ms. Autumn teaches primary through advanced levels of ballet and holds her Advanced Teaching Certificate. She is an active member of the Cecchetti Council of America Eastern Michigan Committee and an elected member of the National Executive Board of Directors of the Cecchetti Council. Ms. Autumn also currently serves as the Michigan Registrar for the Cecchetti Council of America.

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DENISE SCHILLING

Ms. Denise was 5 when she started dancing and this is when her love for Hawaiian and Tahitian dance began. She has been with the American Dance Academy (ADA) since its inception. During her years with ADA, she competed with the Senior Hawaiian Line, was a paid performer in shows all over the Detroit Metro area, and attended yearly Hula workshops. Currently, Ms. Denise does her best to get to Hawaii as often as she can to learn even more about the Hawaiian culture and take lessons. She is very excited to be traveling to Tahiti for the first time this year and will be taking lessons on Bora Bora. Ms. Denise graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Michigan. She has studied and performed Hawaiian and Tahitian dance for over 40 years and has experience teaching students of all skill levels. Ms. Denise is excited to pass on her passion for Hawaiian dance and the Hawaiian culture to her students here in South Lyon. She has a true love for this beautiful form of dance and is very excited to share the Aloha spirit with you here at ADA.

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DANTÉ HENDERSON

Singer, dancer, model, actor and choreographer from Hollywood, California. Danté began his professional career in entertainment at the age of 19, when he auditioned against over 600 other dancers and was handpicked by famed choreographer Debbie Allen, for one of only 26 dancer positions for the Academy Awards. For the 2 years that followed, Danté was asked to assist Miss Allen as part of her creative team for the star-studded production. Over the next two decades he worked in numerous films, television shows and live stage productions. His career accomplishments, in part, include working with Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, Whitney Houston, TLC, Jason Mraz, and Mary J. Blige. He can also be seen appearing in major motion pictures and TV shows with Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell and Rob Schneider. As a model Danté has been featured in numerous runway shows around the world and has been filmed and photographed by world famous director/ photographer, Herb Ritts, for a national Levi’s campaign which was shot in Africa. As a musician, his talents were recognized by Sony Entertainment after writing, producing, and singing “Through the Darkness (Lift You Up)”- a song he and musician partner, Terry Lenley, wrote for the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake/ tsunami. As “dT”, the duo performed the song live at Sony’s “Music for Japan”, a benefit concert to help raise money for those affected by the disaster. Here in Michigan, Danté has been a teacher/ choreographer at Marygrove College and American Dance Academy. His choreography has won numerous awards at various dance competitions and he was also chosen by Cathy Roe as a choreographer for her 2014 Dance Spectacular Show. As a live stage performer, Danté toured the United Kingdom for 3 months as a featured singer/ dancer with “Here Come the Boys”, a production choreographed by good friend and famed choreographer Cris Judd. In 2016, Danté moved to Las Vegas where he was Creative Director and Co-Founder of Gifted Management Group, a new talent development and management company that focuses primarily on kids and teens. Currently, Danté spends 4 months out of the year in Miami, where he works for Royal Caribbean as a Rehearsal Choreographer/ Director.

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JOIE VAWTER

Ms. Joie grew up dancing. She never walked, she danced according to her mom. She grew up in local dance studios (Dance Dynamics, Dance Studio 3, Center Stage Performing Arts, Terri Newman’s Dance Shoppe) studying Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Clogging, Hawaiian. She auditioned for specialty performance teams within her studios while there. She would perform with the dance teams all around the community and even in Canada. The performance teams performed in Holiday shows, conventions, dance competitions, with professional dance companies and other exhibitions. Ms. Joie loved performing with her dance mates. As a very shy person, performing gave her an outlet where she could speak without using words. Ms. Joie also was on team with Waltucky Cloggers, they competed and performed regionally as well as in Canada. In high school, Ms. Joie discovered Pom-pon, auditioned and made co-captain and choreography contributor. She performed with her competitive pom team for two years while continuing dance at Terri Newman’s Dance Shoppe. As much as Ms. Joie enjoyed performing, she loves technique so much more. She enjoys breaking down the movements, the science, what all is involved, the prep, the how to. Ms. Joie also taught for That’s Dancing and Dansing & More in their pre-dance and young dancers programs. Shortly after, Ms. Joie discovered Ballroom & Latin partner dancing. Ms. Joie took up Ballroom & Latin dancing under William Schuster in 1997. She quickly became a dance assistant and performed with Mr. Schuster for several years. Ms. Joie also taught dance classes for many community programs through Huron Valley Schools, Brighton Schools, Northville Schools, Novi Schools and Walled Lake Schools. Ms. Joie also opened her own dance and fitness studio in Novi for five years. She learned she loves teaching dance and fitness classes and having a dedicated space. However, she did not enjoy the owning part of the studio. She closed after five years and continued teaching throughout the community and in homeschool groups. Ms. Joie continues to take master classes on teaching techniques from professional teachers in the Detroit area, master classes from professional dancers that are brought into MI through several dance associations (mainly Ballroom & Latin). Ms. Joie also maintained a few group fitness certifications. Ms. Joie also dances socially in Ballroom & Latin dancing throughout the community with Ford Ballroom, YA Salsa and U of M Ballroom Dance Club. Other skills: Modeling (Fashion, Product, Spokesmodel, Runway, Autoshow), Public Speaker, Nutrition Coach, Stretching & Conditioning Coach, Ordained Pastoral Care Minister Ms. Joie’s specialty is pre-dance & young dancers. She was just made for that age group. Ms. Joie loves that everything is new to these youngsters and they are ready to soak up all the magic and wonder of the dance world and how their eyes, ears, minds, and bodies discover they can do so much more than just walk through life…They can dance through it.

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GREG ZAVISA
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MIKI KING

Miki has trained all her life in numerous styles of dance since the age of two and a half. She vigorously worked and mastered the technique in ballet , jazz, contemporary, tap and hip hop at a high caliber studio before joining ADA in 2016 as a dancer and Hip Hop Assistant teacher/choreographer. Since graduating in 2019, Miki is delivering the Teacher / Choreographer position to new heights and expertise levels. She strives to continue to create clean , classy , appropriate Hip-Hop , Jazz-Funk routines.

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AMANDA ATKINSON
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MEGAN HOFFMAN
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RIANNA LETHORN
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MASTER FACULTY

LAUREN CHAPMAN

Learn to dance.
Copyright 2019 American Dance Academy, Inc.