Chris has over 27 years of teaching experience in the areas of tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, and acrobatics. She attended Brockport State College and received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a minor in dance. While attending college she studied with Tim Draper of Rochester City Ballet, Garth Fagan, James Payton and Suzanne Newman. She was selected to perform with members of Garth Fagan’s company while attending Brockport College. Several of her former students have gone on to pursue careers in dance in New York City, Chicago and on cruise ships. Chris has won numerous high score dance and choreography awards at local and national competitions. She has served as a judge at various dance and cheerleading competitions in New York, Canada and Florida. She has choreographed for church performances and high school plays. Chris was awarded top teacher awards at Star Systems and North American Dance Competition as well as Dance Teacher of the Year at the Rochester Invitational Competition.
Jennifer has been teaching for over 20 years but has been dancing since the age of 3. Trained in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip hop and musical theater, she was part of the dance team and minored in dance at Shenandoah University. Jennifer has won awards at local competitions for her dances, including one for Top Teacher, and continues to take classes and further her education at the National Teachers Summit. Jennifer loves teaching at Elite and sharing her love for dance.
After dancing locally for many years and studying with various teachers, Stephanie is thrilled to continue sharing her love of dance with students of all ages. Because she co-owned a studio for over twenty years, Stephanie has realized the work and commitment that comes with a life of dance. Stephanie has trained intensively in all areas of dance and gymnastics, earning many awards throughout the years. The Dance Masters of America syllabus is the core of her teaching method. Several of her former students have gone on to perform on Broadway and in successful ensembles. Since her love for young children is evident, it is fitting that she is also the director of a cooperative nursery school. Stephanie looks forward to working with the students of Elite and contributing to their lives in a positive manner.
Sari Ostrum Byrnes began her training at the age of five at the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education, the official school of the Rochester City Ballet. She has danced solo and principal roles in RCB's The Nutcracker, Gaite Parisianne, Firebird, Gershwin in the Park, Inner Voices, and Cinderella. In spring 2004, RCB Artistic Director Jamey Leverett choreographed and honored Sari with the female lead role in the Pedestal, her tribute piece to Timothy Draper. Sari Ostrum Byrnes has attended summer programs on scholarship at the Chautauqua Institute, the School of American Ballet, and American Ballet Theater where she was awarded the Coca-Cola Scholar of the Year and named a National Training Program Scholar for ABT, 1997-1999. Sari joined American Ballet Theatre's Studio Company in 2000 and joined American Ballet Theatre in 2001. She performed with ABT in many ballets including Swan Lake, Giselle, Onegin, La Bayadere, Don Quixote, Symphony in C, and The Nutracker. She returned to Rochester in 2003 joining the Rochester City Ballet as a principal dancer while also on the faculty teaching at The Timothy M Draper center for Dance Education. In 2006 Sari choreographed and performed a piece called Romance by Mozart and variations with organist Hans Davidsson in Goteborg, Sweden for Swedish Royalty, Princess Desiree. Sari Ostrum Byrnes was married in 2012 and now is a busy mother with two young boys. She has been teaching at various studios for more than 15 years in Brooklyn N Y and in the Rochester area. She has also received numerous choreography awards throughout her teaching career. Sari now fully devotes her time to Elite Studio of Dance as their ballet director.
Kerri has a BFA Degree in Dance from the University at Buffalo. Her training includes tap, jazz, ballet, ballroom, modern, pointe, lyrical, hip hop and musical theater with many years of competitive dancing. She was a dance captain and choreographer for the Rochester Knightingales and Venom dance teams for two seasons. After graduating, Kerri worked as a dancer and choreographer at the Catalonia Riviera Maya in Mexico. She also spent time teaching ballroom dance in Las Vegas and performing in a Latin Ballroom show at the MGM. She has been teaching for the past ten years at various Rochester dance studios and is excited to continue her teaching career at Elite.
With dance training from the Georgia Ballet School, Fiona Fairrie Ballet Conservatory and the Texas Ballet Theatre, Erica has had starring roles in more than a dozen performances including The Nutcracker, Polska, iDream, Beauty and the Beast, Peter and the Wolf, Cinderella Waltz, Sleeping Beauty and more. Erica has received numerous achievements and awards including first place in the classical and contemporary senior categories at Regional Dallas in 2016. She was a finalist in the 2015 Indianapolis International Ballet Competition and came in first place in the classical and contemporary categories at a celebrity dance competition in 2017.
Kara has been dancing since the age of four. She trained at the Draper Center for Dance Education in Rochester. She has been a ballet instructor since the age of 18. As a former company member of Rochester City Ballet, Kara has danced professionally in numerous productions. Highlights of her performance portfolio include the Arabian Princess, Spanish Chocolate, and Waltz of the flowers in The Nutcracker, as well as multiple roles in Cinderella, Swan Lake, Little Red Riding Hood, and many more. She has received many special awards including choreography and technique awards from numerous dance competitions throughout the years.
Liz attended Mercyhurst College with a scholarship from the dance program. While attending, she trained under Tauna Hunter, Michael Gleason, Jay Kirk and Catherine Schafer. She performed in their production of "Giselle" and appeared with the Lake Erie Ballet Company in their rendition of the "Nutcracker." Her master class instructors include David Howard and Louis Montero. Liz graduated from Brockport State College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While attending Brockport she trained under Timothy Draper, James Payton, and Suzanne Newman. She performed with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in a piece choreographed by Suzanne Newman. She also performed with many dance companies on residency at the college. Liz has had extensive training in ballet, pointe, and modern dance. She has been teaching and choreographing for the past 11 years. Her students have competed and won high gold, platinum and special technique awards.
Gianna was born and raised in Rochester, New York, where she started dancing at 2 years old. Although she studies many styles of dance, Hip Hop has been her focus since the age of 13. Gianna started competing in her sophomore year of high school and recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Slippery Rock University. At Slippery Rock, Gianna was the head captain for the school’s Hip Hop dance team, JamRock. She has taught at several different studios and has organized master classes and Hip Hop inspired events. While attending Slippery Rock, Gianna studied under many accomplished and knowledgeable instructors such as Teena Custer, Ursula Payne and Lindsay Fisher. Furthermore, Gianna worked with highly skilled instructors, freestylers and artists from the Pittsburgh area; teaching for summer camps and being involved with community events. Gianna has indulged herself in the Hip Hop scene for the last several years and hopes to teach and enlighten the youth about the culture and dance style.
Alex began dance at 7 years old, focusing on classical ballet training. She has taken classes from numerous studios and has traveled all over the country to expand her knowledge. Alex started competing in 9th grade and has won many awards since. Most recently, she has been studying gymnastics and has applied it to teaching solely acro and tumbling. Many of her students have gone on to win national awards and have performed for acclaimed dancers such as Paula Abdul and Derek Hough. She hopes to impart her love for dance to all the students she meets!
Kezia is currently attending Nazareth College, is on the dance team and has a Dance and Community Youth Development Major with a concentration in administration. She has 15+ years of dance experience. Kezia is trained in multiple styles: Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Pointe, and Hip-Hop. She has worked with/taken classes from Contemporary choreographers like Travis Wall to Modern choreographers like David Dorfman. Kezia has been to dance conventions like NUVO, performed in Times Square with “Project Dance,” and attended Light of the World Ballet Summer Intensive. She has performed with Light of the World Ballet, Rochester City Ballet, Flower City Ballet, and Nazareth College. As well, she has won multiple titles in groups and solos/duets. So far, in her college years, competing with the dance team, they have ranked highly at UDA Regionals and Nationals. Kezia loves to teach, choreograph, and share her passion of dance, as well as learn about others.
Donna graduated from Syracuse University with a degree in Elementary Education and taught in the Fairport School District. Her experience working in dance studios has spanned 19 years, most of those years with Miss Chris. She has worked as Office Manager at Elite for the past 9 years. Donna has two grown children, both living in NYC. Donna's husband, Guy, is a software engineer who moonlights as the music coordinator for Elite and directs the music at Elite's annual recitals.
Bonnie graduated from the University of Rochester (BS in Biology) and Nazareth College (Masters in Education). She worked in the Immunology Research Labs at Strong for several years, then taught 8th Grade Science at Johanna Perrin in Fairport for 31 years. She has worked the desk at Elite for 9 years and coordinates the backstage area at Recitals. Bonnie has 3 grown children and 11 grandchildren. Her daughter, Nicole, travels from NYC to teach Contemporary dance at Elite.
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