Meet Our Dance Instructors

Sylvia Schourek is the owner and artistic director of Superior School of Dance.  She began dancing at the age of 9 at the SSOD and went on to earn her BA with a double major in Dance and Art at Western Michigan University.  In addition to her experience in Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, Belly Dance and Ballroom, she has performed in numerous plays, musicals, and operas.  While in college, she had the privilege of working with such artists as Dianne McIntyre and Robert Battle (currently the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater), as well as performing in several guest artist, faculty, and student works.  She attended the American College Dance Festival and was also a member of Hip Hop ConnXion-Rhythmic Soul Project.  Additionally, she produced choreography for annual student concerts as well as her own 45 minute Honors Thesis presentation. 

After college she spent one year as the Artistic Director of the Superior School of Dance where she taught and staged two full length productions.  She moved to the Minneapolis area in 2009 where she took classes, taught, performed and presented choreography at a variety of venues while she was the Curriculum/Performance/Costume Coordinator at Inspiration Performing Arts Center.  At Cathy Roe's Ultimate Dance Competition, she has been the recipient of the “Ultimate Dare to Be Different Award” for her modern choreography with IPAC in 2012 and 2014 and Superior School of Dance in 2017 and 2018 as well as a Choreography Award finalist in 2016, 2017, and 2018.  She has attended numerous dance conventions including the Dance Teacher Web convention in Las Vegas in 2010 and 2012.

Outside the studio, she has choreographed for productions of The Producers at Michigan Tech University and Guys and Dolls with the Calumet Players. As a founding member of 47 North Belly Dance, she can be seen regularly performing locally with her shimmy sisters.

Allison Mills started dancing at age three and regularly commandeered the entire living room floor for in-house performances. She studied classical ballet in Helena, Montana and in Minnesota's Twin Cities area, including an apprenticeship with the Continental Ballet Company and toured the Midwest for several years performing shows including The Nutcracker, Cinderella and Coppelia. When she left professional ballet, Allison joined the Rosemount High School Modern Dance Company and explored other dance forms including belly dance, jazz, and contact improv.

Belly dance especially stole her heart when she began studying Raqs Sharqi. Allison's belly dance training is mostly in cabaret styles (Egyptian and a hint of Turkish) though she's dabbled in American fusion styles as well. She co-leads the 47 North belly dance fusion troupe with Sylvia. 

Allison has been instructing a variety of dances over the past decade and hasn't stopped performing since her first stage appearance as an itty-bitty, sequined gull in Peter Pan. She believes strongly in making dance training accessible in rural areas and that dancers of all ages can learn to connect, appreciate, and take care of their bodies. Allison is also a science geek and writer (her day job) as well as a giant dog owner, gardener, and teapot fanatic.

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Allison (Strome) Berryman started dancing at age five with the Superior School of dance and continued attending and studying Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and Modern all the way through high school. She then went on to attend Michigan Tech where she obtained a BS in Management and an International Spanish Minor. She started teaching classes for SSOD her first year of college and also took classes along with becoming an active member of MTU dance team. In the spring of her Sophomore year of college she tore her MCL which ended her performing career, but with the help of her class assistants she was able to continue instructing throughout her recovery. The following year she picked up more classes to fill the gap leaving the dance team had left, and was one of the head instructors her final year of college. Upon graduating from Tech, Allison and her husband Jared moved to Minneapolis, MN where her husband earned his D.C. and Allison worked as a General Manager for Macy’s food division.

Allison is extremely passionate about all forms of dance, she especially loves modern and hip hop because of the amount of freedom these styles of dance provide, but firmly believes in a strong technique and that in dance you must “learn the rules before you can break them.” Learning to dance has had the largest impact on Allison’s life, she feels it has given her so much strength and patience. She is so excited to be back teaching! She is currently working at Michigan Tech within the Civil Engineering Department doing tech support for the Center for Technology and Training. She and her husband recently welcomed a baby girl (Avery) who at 5 months already has her first pair of ballet slippers. She believes there’s no such thing as too many blankets, sweaters, or fuzzy socks, loves crafting, baking/cooking, coffee and tea, and lives for cold and rainy afternoons spent at home cozied up with her little family.

 

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Marissa Labyak is a Junior at Michigan Technological University studying Medical Laboratory Science in hopes of becoming a dentist. She has studied multiple forms of dance for fifteen years at the Superior School of Dance including Ballet, Pointe, Tap, and Jazz. She has been teaching at SSOD for five years. Marissa also continued her dance education into college and has been an active member of the Michigan Tech Dance Team for two years. She loves teaching children to love dance the way she does.

 

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Abby Mauno is a Junior at Michigan Tech University and is studying Exercise Science Kinesiology, hoping to go into the medical field. Dance has been a big part of her life for 14 years, and she has studied tap, jazz, and hip-hop, with tap being her favorite style. Outside of the studio she is also a member of the Michigan Tech's Women's Club Soccer Team. She is excited to teach her third year of dance and enthused to share her love for dance with children. 

 

 

 

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Formerly director of the Superior School of Dance (1988—1999), Donna Armistead brings her professional performance experience and lifelong study of the Vaganova, Cecchetti and Royal Academy of Dancing syllabi to a series of master classes for intermediate and advanced students.  

A proud native of Florida, Donna began her dance career as a junior  member of the Palm Beach Ballet Company and student of Jo Anna Kneeland, whose method of applied kinesiology revolutionized the teaching of classical ballet and was adopted by such noted institutions as the Harkness Ballet and the David Howard School.  She was a summer scholarship student at Harkness and later performed with the Miami Ballet, Ballet Dance Theatre (Boston) and Buffalo Ballet Theatre where she was a principal dancer.  Among her influential teachers she numbers Marie Hale, Robert Davis, Percival Borde, Aubrey Hitchens, Dianne Walker, Matt Mattox, Gus Giordano and Olga Kostritsky.  Before making her home in the Upper Peninsula , she taught and choreographed in such diverse locations as New York, Florida, Colorado, California, Minnesota and Canada.

Donna holds a B.A. in Theatre from Florida Atlantic University and an M.A. in Drama from Washington University in St. Louis.  Locally, her choreography has been seen in classical stagings of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty and original works like The Secret Garden and For They Are Women’s Children, as well as being featured in productions of the Michigan Tech Theatre Company and Pine Mountain Music Festival.  Also an independent theatre director, she is delighted to be affiliated once more with the Superior School of Dance.

 

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Adeline Goldman is a senior in high school and has been dancing with the Superior School of Dance for the past four years. She is currently enrolled in tap, ballet, and modern. Along with dancing, Adeline has figure skated since the age of five and has played basketball since the sixth grade. Adeline is very excited to share her love of dance through her teaching.

 

 

 

 

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Native San Diegan, Kayla Jaynes-Niva, received her training in classical ballet along with many other styles of dance at the California Ballet School. In 2009, she began performing with the professional company, California Ballet Company, as a corps de ballet member and retired in December of 2017. She performed in countless ballets, some of which include: Thor Sutowski’s Swan Lake, Charles Bennett’s Dracula, Septime Webre’s The Great Gatsby, Maxine Mahon’s The NutcrackerGiselleAlice in WonderlandA Midsummer Night's DreamSleeping Beauty, Romanian RhapsodiesLes Sylphides, Toni Pimble’s Cinderella, Wayne Davis’ Souvenir, and Francisco Gella’s Suite Vivaldi. 2011 started her teaching career, working at various dance schools around San Diego County, and after her retirement, a directorship opportunity took her and her new husband to Shreveport, LA. As of August 2018, they returned home to her husband’s hometown of Toivola. Mrs Kayla is very excited to experience life in the U.P. and share her knowledge of dance with Superior School of Dance students!

 

 

 

 

 

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My name is Leona Stancil I am 23 years old. I live in Dollar bay with my husband who is in the coast guard and my three daughters Sophia, Izabella, and Luna. I am a wife and full time mom while also doing online classes to get my bachelors in psychology at Keiser University a private university through the state of Florida. I started Dance2Fit classes recently and completely fell in love with it. I knew immediately I had to get certified and show others the fun and exciting while also challenging workouts! I look forward to creating a safe space where people can come and feel comfortable and confident and have a great time while also getting in the best shape of their lives.

 


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Annelise Doll began dancing at age 5 with the Superior School of Dance and continued through her high school years. She focused on ballet, but also took classes in jazz, modern, and tap. After leaving the area to complete her studies, Annelise moved back to the Copper Country in 2014 and rediscovered her love of dance through the adult classes at SSOD. She’s been smitten with belly dance ever since and is a member of the 47 North Fusion Belly Dance Troupe. Annelise serves on the Copper Country Community Arts Center’s Board of Directors and is a librarian at Michigan Technological University.

Adria Laplander has been a certified Zumba instructor since May of 2011. In high school, she was a cheerleader and on her school dance team. After trying Zumba in January of 2011, she fell in love with dancing all over again and knew she had to get back into it. She loves Zumba because it's a fun, yet effective, way to workout! She hopes to eventually take other Zumba trainings and obtain additional certifications. Adria is also a full time 6th grade teacher at the Houghton Middle School. She resides in Hubbell with her husband, Jason, and their daughter, Eliza.

 

An eight-time national champion, Debra Goldman represented the United States in international competitions in both speed skating and cycling. She holds a B.A. from Harvard University and a M.A. from The University of Chicago and has been a Guild-Certified Feldenkrais Practitioner since 1998.  To contact Debra, please email her at debragoldman39@gmail.com

 

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Alysse Hill is a certified Highland dance instructor and premier dancer who has competed throughout the Midwest and Canada. She is originally from Farmington Hills down state, and moved to the Upper Peninsula with her husband who is a Lake Linden local. Alysse has worked with the local pipe band Superior Pipes and Drums over the past year participating in parades and working with the dancers. Alysse works as a physical therapist. She obtained her Doctorate in physical therapy at Central Michigan University.

 

 

 

 

 

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Robin Lieburn is our Office Manager AND teaches yoga at Superior School of Dance as well as at Fresh Coast Yoga.  Her yoga classes can be slower, mindful, and deep, unless she feels like putting in some challenging moments!

Robin is a born and raised Yooper. Her formal practice extends back over a decade and she earned her 200-hour yoga teacher certification from the Yoga Maya Center in 2019. She graduated on the Dean's list from Michigan Technological University with a Bachelor’s of Science in psychology.

Robin loves dance and all things movement. She's been an active member of the dance studio since discovering it the past three years.  She loves all dance forms but mostly modern and belly dance, she is a member of the 47 North fusion belly dance troupe. When she's not stretching or dancing, she's playing with her kids, fur babies, and husband.

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Rebekah Schmidt started dancing at 6 and continued through middle school. She then spent much of her time exploring other arts and sports, and has found a new love for dance through her daughter!  Rebekah is often dancing in her living room with her children, her classroom at Houghton Elementary, or in our adult classes at the studio.  She is the stage manager and backstage coordinator for many of our shows, and loves to sing as well!