Our Instructors

-A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind, & touches a heart!

Tiffany Mayer
Owner/Director/Instructor

Tiffany’s dance experience started at the age of 3 where she danced at Pat Haggerty School of Dance.  She studied dance through high school and into college. Disciplines of focus were ballet, jazz, contemporary, and tap.   Competitively she travelled to some of the top competitions and conventions in the country, including intensives with Rafael Grigorian.  In college she ran the IUP Dance Company and took it from a small group to one that attracted the top dancers in western PA.   During her time at IUP the focus for Tiffany was teaching and working with children to help them realize their own potential.  Having been mentored by two amazing dance teachers she saw her true passion for dance.  After teaching and creating choreography at mulitiple studios throughout Pennsylvania and New York she was finally able to start her own studio.  Gazella Dance Studio was started in the summer of 2010 and it's a dream that has become realized.  Working with students of all ages and helping them not only to become a better dancer but to nurture and develop self-confidence in ones self is the true reward.    

 

Kelli Carsten
Instructor

Kelli’s love for dance began at the age of 3. Her dance training primarily includes classical ballet technique, pointe, and partnering at Light of the World Ballet School under the direction of Ashley Rollinson, The Ballet and Dance Center under the instruction of Danya Wikowski-Eades and Karen Menter, and SUNY Cortland Department of Performing Arts under the direction of Cynthia Halpin. Additional training includes modern, tap, jazz, creative movement, body conditioning, Stott pilates, power yoga, and Barre. She has participated in master classes with ACB Dance Company, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and a dance residency with Mel Tomlinson of NYC Ballet. She has danced as soloist and had lead roles in various ballets which include Les Sylphides, Paquita, Living Hope, The Crown, and Freedom, as well as performed for various venues and community events across the Central New York area including CRAVE Fest, Symphor!a, Holiday House, and Evening of Dance. Outside of the dance studio, Kelli is a full- time speech-language pathologist. She is an avid swimmer, runner, and cyclist, competing in triathlons and half/full marathons. She also teaches group exercise classes including spin and Les Mills programming. She is passionate about sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for dance and fitness with the students at Tiffany's School of Dance.

Emmilly Budge
Instructor

Emmilly's love of dance began at the age of three. She grew up dancing at Tawn Marie's Dance Centre in Liverpool, NY studying a wide variety of disciplines and has trained with the Radio City Rockettes. During her years on her studio's competition team she was the recipient of numerous regional awards and scholarships. In addition to teaching dance, Emmilly's passion for the performing arts extends to the theatre community. She was most recently seen on stage in Syracuse Summer Theatre at the Oncenter's production of Damn Yankees and made her theatrical debut as a choreographer in the Baldwinsville Theatre Guild's production of Bright Star. Outside of the dance studio, Emmilly works as a special education teaching assistant. She has an Associate's degree in Human Services and is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Social Work. Emmilly joined the TSDPAC faculty in 2018 and couldn't be happier to be combining her love of dance, performing and teaching.

Julia Shove
Instructor

Hailing from Utica, NY, Julia’s passion for performing began at a young age. Julia attended Utica College, graduating summa cum laude with a B.S. in Psychology and minors in Sociology and Gender Studies. A dancer of twenty years, her ballet training is rooted in the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, having examined through the Intermediate level. Julia studied at Ballet Arts of CNY and Mohawk Valley Ballet under the direction of Delia Foley, A.R.A.D. and Melissa Larish, RAD RTS. She later continued her studies at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY from 2015 to 2019, partnering with the Dance and Movement Studies program. Since 2015, Julia has appeared as a guest artist with the Mohawk Valley Ballet and Central New York Academy of Dance, performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, and Dew Drop Fairy in The Nutcracker in addition to dancing as a soloist in works by David Fernandez, Sandra Stanton, Paris Wilcox, and Catherine Wright. Julia currently teaches ballet and group fitness classes at a number of studios in the greater Syracuse-Utica area. She acts as Artistic Director of Spotlight Company, which provides students exposure to classical ballet repertoire, namely the The Nutcracker and other full-length works. Apart from TSDPAC, Julia has served as a faculty member at Dance Centre North, Ballet Arts of CNY, Syracuse School of Dance, Mary Lourdes Academy of Dance, Star Performance Dance Centre, and Dance10 Studio. Her choreography has been featured in showcases with Syracuse Contemporary Dance Company, Mohawk Valley Ballet, Dance with Utica, and Salt City Dance Festival. Julia is an ACE certified group fitness instructor and holds certifications in Progressing Ballet Technique, PiYo, LaBlast Fitness, Barre Intensity, and P90X. She anticipates post-graduate studies in social work, with a focus in adolescent eating disorders. Julia is thrilled to be returning for another season with TSDPAC, with the hope of only further instilling in her students a profound love and appreciation of classical ballet, from studio to stage.

Kyra Lopiccolo
Instructor

Kyra LoPiccolo is currently sophomore at SUNY ESF and has been part of the TSDPAC family since 2014. Her love of dancing began at age 3 and has been growing ever since. Her experience is centered around ballet and jazz but includes background in tap, pointe, hip hop, contemporary, and musical theater. She danced on the advanced competition team at TSDPAC for three years and competed across a wide variety of disciplines. Her love of dance extends beyond performing and into teaching as she works with younger dancers to strengthen their understanding of dance and find the joy in it. Outside of the dance studio, Kyra is studying biotechnology and works in a research lab studying tissue culture and genetics. She enjoys hiking, backpacking, and spending time with her family in Skaneateles. She’s passionate about sharing her love of dance with all the students at TSDPAC.

Grace Beard
Instructor

Grace's love for dance started at age 4 and continued through college where she was a choreographer and dancer in the SUNY Oswego Del Sarte Dance Club. Grace grew up on Long Island where she studied ballet, jazz, lyrical, and modern at both competitive and recreational studios. Through high school she was a dancer on Newfield High School Kickline Team and a student teacher for beginner ballet dancers. She continued her dance studies with ballet and jazz classes at the college level while completing her Bachelor of Science degree in Wellness Management. Grace started choreographing in 2014 with a small group lyrical and found her new love in the dance world: designing clean performances that provide every dancer a moment in the spotlight.

Dan Williams
Voice/Piano Instructor

Dan Williams has been teaching private voice and piano for over a dozen years in the Central New York area. With music degrees from SUNY Oswego and Onondaga Community College, he has strong training in vocal technique and piano pedagogy. Also an active performer and music director, Dan has graced both the operatic and musical theatre stages as well as concerts. Musical directorships include Syracuse Summer Theatre at the OnCenter, Syracuse Area High School Theatre Awards, Cazenovia College, and Jordan-Elbridge High School. Awards include twice-winner for Musical Director of the Year for 2018 and 2019 SALT (Syracuse Area Live Theatre) awards and also 2019 Leading Actor in a musical for William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Dan has also worked with virtually every community theatre in the greater Syracuse area. As an arts educator Dan has taught week long or program intensives at The Rev (formerly Merry-Go-Round Playhouse), Redhouse Arts Center, SUNY Oswego's SummerFame, Miss Lisa's Center for Dance Artistry (LCODA), Peacefuls Schools' School of the Arts, the CNY Community Arts Center, and the CNY Performing Arts Studio.

Dan is well-versed in many musical styles including musical theatre, classical, opera, jazz, and pop. For piano he can cater to whatever style wants to be learned whether by chords or by full music reading.

Corinne Price-Schmidt
Assistant Director/Instructor

Corinne began dancing at the Munson Williams Proctor Dance Institute. In high school she applied her dance background to cheerleading and high school musicals. After graduating, she went on to the State University of New York at Cortland College where she co-founded Danceworks. By her sophmore year at SUNY Cortland she had quickly asserted herself as a game changer in the program, her hunger and commitment catapulted Danceworks from a club that met occassionally to SUNY Cortland's highly acclaimed and energetic dance team that performs at athletic and university events, as well as regional and national competitions. Corinne served as the Danceworks Club Sport President as well as choreographed and performed for Danceworks for 4 years. Since graduating, Corinne has attended numerous NY Knicks City Dancers and NY Jet Flight Crew choreography camps to advance her passion for Hip Hop and Jazz Funk. With Bachelor and Master degrees in Health Education and Wellness Promotion she is a Health Educator at Baldwinsville H.S. who enjoys making time to teach dance to her high school students during Wellness Days and Physical Education classes. Seasonally, Corinne loves continuing to dance and explore street styles in NYC studios.  Since joining the team at Gazella Dance Studio, Corinne has immersed herself into the brilliant lives of her students as their Hip Hop teacher. Corinne thrives for opportunities to introduce the many exploratory avenues of Hip Hop to her students and more importantly to ignite a passionate flame within them. With a drive to help provide a rich multi-faceted program at TSDPAC, both recreationally and competitively, Corinne is thrilled to work aside Tiffany as her Assistant Director.

Julia Ebner
Instructor

Julia was bit by the theatre bug as a small child.  She studied dance at a variety of Central New York studios finding a mentor and teacher in Cathy Strong.  After receiving a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from Syracuse University and a Masters of Music in Opera from Binghamton University, Ms. Ebner went on to perform with the Virginia Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Charleston Chamber Opera, Syracuse Opera, Oswego Opera, Green Mountain Opera Festival, Opera North, Tri-Cities Opera, Ash Lawn Opera, Winter Opera St. Louis, Bel Cantanti Opera, Opera San Antonio,  Opera in the Heights, and the Florida Grand Opera.   She has had the previlage of working with a variety of choreographers and directors including Sean Curran, Dorothy  Danner, Paul Curran, and Renaud Doucet. In addition to her performance career, she is a dedicated educator in the performing arts and has taught dance at the CNY Academy of Dance Arts, and the Jean Stelter Dance Studio,  The Arts Company as well as starting a dance program for beginning adults at the Tri-Cities Opera.  She was the musical director, and acting teacher for The Arts Company in Faison, North Carolina, where she directed productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella,” and “The Wiz.”    Julia has also choreographed dance scenes for opera productions including “Romeo et Juliette” and “Amahl and the Night Visitors,” for the Tri-Cities Opera.   As a music teacher, Julia has held her own private voice studio as well as teaching at Mount Olive College, Cortland University and Binghamton University.  She currently teaches dance at Always Dancing, and Celebration Dance and is an instructor of Pilates and Barre at Bodhi Barre in Syracuse.  Julia is thrilled to share her love of movement, and musical theatre with TSDPAC. 

 

Coming Soon! 

Sarah Cox
Instructor
Cara Connolly
Instructor

Cara Connolly grew up on Long Island, New York, where she received the majority of her training from Maggie Black. In addition to Black's coaching, Ms. Connolly attended Studio Maestro under Deborah Wingert and François Perron, Huntington Ballet Theatre under Karen Lynch and Tony Jones, and the School at Steps under Leslie Browne.  She also trained with some of the country's most prestigious summer programs, including Boston Ballet, The Washington School of Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, and New York State Summer School of the Arts.  

Ms. Connolly is joining Syracuse City Ballet as both a company dancer, and as assistant ballet mistress. She has also danced professionally with numerous companies such as Hudson Valley Ballet, Neglia Ballet Artists, American Swiss Ballet Company, Connecticut Ballet, and Ballet New England. She has also worked with renowned contemporary choreographers David Fernandez, Ada Cacciatore, and Sergei Vanaev, among others.

In addition to performing, Ms. Connolly has been choreographing, and teaching ballet to all ages and levels for over ten years. Her students have been accepted to many notable ballet programs including University of the Arts, Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet, The Rock School of Ballet, NYSSSA, American Academy of Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet School.  At TSDPAC, she aims to train the next generation of dancers to have strong technique, musicality, and above all, a love for classical ballet. 

Kate Bailie
Instructor

Kate started dancing at the age of 3 at Creative Dance Arts in Clifton Park, NY. She focused on ballet and jazz, but also had the opportunity to train and perform with the Shenedehowa High School Dance Team throughout all four years of high school. While on the dance team Kate competed at the NDA National Championship, and performed in both the Orange Bowl Pregame Show and the Disney Park’s Christmas Parade. Her love of dance continued into college where she was a member and choreographer of Del Sarte Dance Club of SUNY Oswego. Kate served as both Vice President and President of the student-run dance club in her junior and senior years of college. After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Kate continued her education with a Master of Science degree in Chemistry at SUNY Oswego. She continued to dance and choreograph in Del Sarte throughout her two years of graduate school. She now works full time at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse as the General Chemistry Lab Coordinator. Kate is extremely excited to join the TSDPAC team and get back into the dance studio!

Sonja Lara-Gonzalez
Instructor

Sonja Lara-Gonzalez is from Watertown, NY where she began gymnastics at the age of 3.  She was a gymnast for 15 years at the YMCA, where she competed through level 8.  She began coaching in high school and has been coaching for 7 years now.  She specializes in competitive gymnastics, cheerleading, dance, yoga, and tumbling for children of all ages.  She coached an excel silver team at SUNY Potsdam, where she graduated with 2 bachelor degrees in psychology and criminal justice, minoring in human series and Spanish.  She has coached multiple excel silver and bronze teams in South Carolina at the Columbia Palmetto Athletic Center, and levels 1-7 teams at GC2 Gymnastics in Syracuse.  She plans on pursuing her masters degree in social work at Syracuse University, with a focus on correctional counseling.  She is currently a mental health counselor aide at Hillbrook Detention center, as well as a NYS Paramedic for AMR.  She began playing rugby in college and currently plays for Uticuse Women's Ruby.  She is excited to be joining the staff at TSDPAC and can't wait to see you all in the gym! 

Jason Muratore
Ninja Coach

Jason Muratore brings 25 years of teaching experience accompanying his passion for movement and play. His interest in fitness began at a young age, as he was active in sports early on and continuing throughout high school.  However, his journey into the martial arts began at only 12 years old. The martial arts opened up a whole new world of experiences for Jason, igniting his spirit and helping him come into his own. As he gained confidence on top of his skill, he began teaching at his karate school at 16 years old. Shortly before turning 18, Jason achieved his Black Belt and furthermore continued his training in American Kenpo Karate to the respective rank of 4th Degree Black Belt. 
Jason’s passion for the martial arts only kept growing as time moved forward. At 21 years old, he co-founded Team Sinanju Professional Martial Arts and holds the title of Co-Captain for the team. Team Sinanju is a group of multi- styled martial artists who travel the country demonstrating, performing and teaching a wide range of knowledge, skills and mixed martial arts. In addition to his traditional foundation of American Kenpo Karate, Jason is also trained in Ninjitsu, Kung-fu, TKD, Capoeira, Yoga and Parkour/Freerunning. 
In his vast experience, he’s made many accomplishments and holds many certifications. To name only a few— as a Certified Personal Trainer, he has owned and operated a private training studio for the last 10 years teaching primitive and functional fitness for all ages. As one of the only Certified Level 2 ANIMAL FLOW instructors in Central New York, he is elite to our community teaching this unique program. ANIMAL FLOW is a bodyweight movement program that mimics the natural movement of animals. Lastly, in 2019 at 39 years old, Jason completed the Spartan Race Trifecta obstacle course challenges.

Tiffany's School of Dance & Performing Arts Center

 

1351 E. Genesee St.   Skaneateles, NY  13152    &    1127 Grand Ave. Syracuse, NY 13215

315.706.8706    info@tsdpac.com

 

 

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©2014, Tiffany's School of Dance & Performing Arts Center, LLC

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