(617) 645-7786

675 Watertown St, Newton, MA 02460, USA

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©2016 by Creative Steps Dance Studio

Our Staff

Miss Michelle Shirley -- Owner/Director/Teacher

Michelle took her first dance class at a very young age in a small hometown studio. After realizing dance was more than just a hobby she decided to train and study with The Boston Ballet School in Newton. After graduating high school, Michelle attended Dean College School of Dance, where she graduated with high honers and earned her Associates Degree in Dance. As a college graduate she was chosen and accepted into the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre's intensive training program. Michelle moved from Boston to New York City to follow her dream and while studying with Alvin Ailey she also received training at Broadway Dance Center, and Steps on Broadway.

Realizing that teaching was more of a passion than performing professionally, Michelle continued her education by attending credited dance teacher training programs. After passing many detailed examinations she is now a certified teacher through the Dance Teachers Club of Boston and the Dance Educators of America. Michelle is also a proud and active member of both organizations.

As an adult Michelle still continues her studies today by dancing at many different adult dance studios offered in the Boston area.  She also continues her education regularly by attending top notch conferences and training courses offered in the Dance Education Field.

Michelle has been teaching in the Boston area since 2000 and in 2004 she accomplished her life long dream of operating her own dance studio. Her passion for the art of dance and her love of children show in her teaching, directing, and overall philosophy of the dance studio.

Aside from the studio Michelle spends her time with her husband and 3 children.

Miss. Brenna Banister

Brenna began dancing at the age of 5 in Waterbury, CT. She fell in love with the art form after moving to Vermont, where she continued training in Tap, Jazz, Modern and Ballet at Dance Express in Saint Johnsbury, VT. Brenna trained at Dance Express from ages 10-18. While attending Lyndon Institute, an independent high school, Brenna had the privilege of taking dance alongside her academic classes every day. She was a member of LI’s Pulse Dance Company and founded an after school Tap club for her peers.

Brenna moved to Boston to attend Boston University, where she received her Bachelor’s in Early Childhood Education. While at BU, Brenna spent one semester dancing with BU’s Dance Theatre Group. After graduating in 2012, dance returned full force in Brenna’s life. She joined OnStage Dance Company and was a member and choreographer for four seasons. She also was an Ensemble dance in Heartbeat: A Modern Dance Rock Concert during its three runs at the Oberon Theater.

Currently, Brenna is a preschool teacher at the Belmont Cooperative Nursery School. There, she works with two classrooms of children between the ages of 2.9-4. She also runs her own dance group called Alive Dance Collective. A small group of adults, Alive presents work in local festivals and shows. Brenna’s passions include children, dancing, and ice cream and she loves any chance she gets to combine any of them!

Miss. Caitlin Bohara

Bio Coming Soon

 

Miss. Stefany Cobb

Stefany began dancing at the young age of 3 at her home town in Massachusetts. Throughout the years, she got the opportunity to study under many different dance studios, teachers and choreographers. Stefany’s interests in styles include ballet, contemporary, hip hop, jazz, tap, lyrical, pointe and Haitian Folk.

Joining Dance Prism (a professional ballet company out of Concord, MA) at the young age of 8 was her first of many openings to a variety of styles of companies throughout the Boston area. She is currently an active company member of Dance Prism as well as a choreographer and dancer in Boston Dance Productions. Stefany has won awards at both The Pulse Boston and Georgia by leading choreographers Mia Michaels and Desmond Richardson. She has also attended Bates Professional Dance Festival in Maine for 3 years where she studied under Shonach Mirk-Robles, Jennifer Archibald, Nancy Stark Smith and Crystal Brown. Stefany has also studied under Jeffrey Louizia, Mary Demaso, Skooj Chore-o, Ricardo Foster Jr., Adrienne Hawkins and Rosanne Ridings.

Outside of teaching dance, Stefany also works as a passionate Licensed Massage Therapist. In her spare time she loves to spend time training in boxing and is an extreme pet lover!

Miss. Genevieve Fuller

J.A.M. Adaptive Dance Director

Starting at her hometown studio in South Dakota, Genevieve has been dancing on and off stage since she was a child. In 2016, Genevieve received her B.A. in dance and psychology at Goucher College in Maryland where she explored the power of dance and movement to communicate what cannot be put into words. Upon graduating, Genevieve moved to Boston to pursue a Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Dance/ Movement Therapy at Lesley University. Genevieve is now a Registered Dance/ Movement Therapist (R-DMT) and works with children through adults at an outpatient clinic where she uses her movement lens to support clients in identifying, expressing and regulating their emotional experience.

 

After assisting in the J.A.M. classes last year, Genevieve is thrilled to continue with the CSDS community as Director of the J.A.M. program. Apart from this new role, Genevieve also teaches in Boston Ballet’s Adaptive and CityDance programs and strives to spread the joy of dance any chance she gets.

Miss Jacquelyn (Jacqui) Holmes

Jacquelyn “Jacqui” Holmes is a Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified Dance Educator, and she is pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a Pedagogy concentration at Dean College. She will be graduating this upcoming May of 2020. In the summer of 2018 she interned as a Creative Movement Instructor at The Boston Ballet School alongside the creator of their children’s program, Luciano Aimar. During her spring semester of 2019, Jacqui studied abroad in Argentina in an intensive dance and Spanish program. She began assisting classes 8 years ago at Center Stage Dance Academy, and has been an instructor for 3 years.  Jacqui was part of the CSDA Outreach Team, Senior Company, was Dance Captain, and is an award-winning soloist. She was the captain of the Plymouth North Dance Team, helped her team to become regional champions, and represented New England at the National Dance Team Championships in Disney World. Jacqui received the All-American Award from the Universal Dance Association and was asked to be a part of the staff. “A child’s creative mind is capable of so much more than we think. I am in the business of teaching them to find a love for movement and tune into their incredible brains!”  -Jacqui Holmes

Miss Madeline Levesque

Madeline began her training at Lebanon Ballet School in New Hampshire at the age of 6. She trained at Boston Ballet, Alvin Ailey, and Point Park Conservatory. In 2014 Madeline received the Artistic Achievement Award from Point Park University and in 2015 she received the Chancellor’s Talent Award from The University of Massachusetts Amherst. In 2018 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Dance from UMass Amherst. Additionally, she has completed Boston Ballet’s Adaptive Dance Training Program.

 

Madeline moved to Massachusetts to follow her passion for teaching dance. Madeline has studied ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, modern, musical theater, hip-hop, floor barre, tap, and character dance. She has performed for City Center Ballet, Point Park Conservatory Dance Company, UMass Dance Company, UMass Dance Team, and Opera North. She had the opportunity to be taught by Kiesha Lalama, Peter LeBreton Merz, Paul Dennis, and Sarah Wroth.

 

Things she does when she is not dancing are going for walks, going to the beach, watching Boston sports games, and hanging out with friends. 

Miss Elizabeth Lloyd

Elizabeth started dancing when she was just three years old, and has been devoted to movement ever since! At her home studio in Minnesota, she studied and practiced ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap, and contemporary. In middle school, she started assisting in classes, and was soon practically living at the studio - and loving every minute of it! When she was 15 years old Elizabeth started teaching dance at her studio, and immediately fell in love with sharing her passion of dance with others! Elizabeth recently graduated from Lesley University with a B.S. in Business Management and Expressive Art Therapy. While working on her degree, Elizabeth choreographed pieces for her college’s dance team, and also discovered a new style of dance called West Coast Swing. Realizing her strong affinity for this dance, she soon added West Coast Swing to her teaching repertoire. She currently competes in West Coast Swing, both regionally and nationally, and has gathered a strong reputation as a local Boston WCS teacher. Throughout the last few years, Elizabeth has spent significant time training with movement coaches, learning in depth how the body moves at a functional level. This training has not only improved her own technique, but has also afforded her the expertise and ability to make dancers of all styles more knowledge about the “whys” of dance and not just the “hows.” When Elizabeth is not dancing you can find her curled up in a book, with a hot cup of tea in hand!

Miss. Michelle Marquis 

Michelle started dancing at age two and quickly fell in love. Shortly after, she started competing in styles such as ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, hip hop, and modern. By high school she became a student at the New England Civic Ballet to focus more on training in contemporary and classical ballet. Michelle graduated from Plymouth State University and holds a B.S in Business Administration and a certificate in Dance Pedagogy. During her time at Plymouth State she was a member of the Dance Division and Contemporary Dance Ensemble as a performer and choreographer. She has also worked with choreographers and companies such as Urbanity, Mziyanda Mancam, and Broadway Choreographer Jesse Robb. She attended master classes with BoSoma, Deca Dance Theatre, Pantos Project, BCDP, Tremaine and many more. Michelle was even given the opportunity to privately dance with The Paul Taylor Dance Company in New York City. After graduation, she furthered her studies in dance education and performance as an intern with Neoteric Dance Collaborative performing at the Southern Vermont and Shaker Village Dance festivals. She has continued to specialize in commercialized dance training and performing in Boston, NYC and Los Angeles. Currently she is a member of a contemporary fusion company called Tilted Collab and a worldwide commercialized heels company called Army of Sass.

When Michelle is not dancing she loves going to hot power yoga, hiking and relaxing on the beach. 

Miss MaryElizabeth Mooney

MaryElizabeth began dancing at the age of four in Pittsfield, MA - doing ballet, hip-hop, and everything in between. At the age of 13, she began dancing with the Cantarella School of Dance and the Albany Berkshire Ballet, moving through the ranks of their academy from Senior Academy to Junior Company. She has spent summers training with the Milwaukee Ballet, Next Generation Ballet, Manhattan Youth Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and Walnut Hill School. With the Albany Berkshire Ballet she has performed various soloist and corps de ballet roles in productions of Madeline Cantarella Culpo's The Nutcracker and Paula Webber's Carmina Burana, as well as various other classical and contemporary works.

 

Currently, MaryElizabeth is a student at Boston College pursuing a degree in Economics with a minor International Studies and a proud member of the class of 2020. She continues to be involved in dance through various on and off campus dance groups and taking classes whenever she can. 

Miss Hannah Ranco

Hannah Ranco is a dancer and choreographer currently earning her BFA in dance studies with a concentration in choreography at Dean College. While at school, she stays busy as the captain of her school’s hip hop team and a member of Regality Dance Company. Outside of school, Hannah stays busy teaching and working in different aspects of the dance community. Her previous work experience includes  ushering at the Bates Dance Festival and work-studying at the Commercial Dance Intensive under the supervision of Casey Noblett. Her choreography credits include her two latest pieces You Were a Lesson and Cogito Ergo Sum both of which were presented on the Dean College stage.

Miss Leanne Santorsola

Bio Coming Soon

Miss Kyla Threlfall Brown

Kyla has been dancing since age 3 in studios and schools in Utah, where she is from. She has studied and continues to study in the styles of ballet, jazz, contemporary, modern, hip hop, world/folk dance, and musical theater. Kyla majored in Dance Education at Brigham Young University and had the opportunity to perform with a folk dance team, Kinnect, dancEnsemble, Contemporary Dance Theater, and Young Ambassadors while attending school. These teams toured nationally and internationally, including South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Eastern Europe to perform and do outreach activities. In 2014, Kyla lived in Southern India for 3 months teaching life skills through dance to children from leprosy colonies. After college, Kyla danced professionally with Wasatch Contemporary Dance Company and taught dance full-time at a high school girls treatment center. Since moving to Boston, she has danced with the company Tilted, taught at an after school program at an elementary school, and seeks out performing opportunities. Most recently, her and her husband welcomed a beautiful baby girl to their family in June!