Lisa Shapiro – Studio owner since 1988. Teaches company level classes in jazz, tap, ballet, and pointe. Choreographer for high school musicals including: Cats, Damn Yankees, Back to the 80s, You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, Guys and Dolls, and Hello Dolly. Sponsor and choreographer for Northville High School Varsity Dance Team. Co-creator of an in-house Ballet Company for 18 years that performed original choreography in fairy tale themed shows including Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella, Snow White, The Little Mermaid, The Wiz of Oz, Anastasia, Alice in Wonderland, The Lion King, Oliver, Read Me A Story, The King and I, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz. Previous teaching experience includes team-teaching the dance program three years at a public high school. Joined her childhood dance teacher to run the after school dance program at Ferndale High School in 1979; took over the program in 1981.
Office Manager: Renee Siracusa; Office Assistants: Sue Nash, Holly Tilton
Office Staff: Erin Goldsworthy, Allie Waisanen, Jessica Stadnika
Erin Bonser-Sattler – BS, Wayne State University, K-12 Dance Education and 6-12 Health Education. While dancing at Wayne State University, Ms. Erin performed with CompanyOne, Wayne's in-house dance company. During her two years as member, she traveled with the group to inner city elementary schools to perform a children's based dance program. Ms. Erin has taught at Livonia Churchill High School in their Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) program. Choreography experience includes Northville High School's production of Cats and Dexter High School's production of Back to the 80s. Ms. Erin teaches tap, ballet, jazz and pointe at CSDC.
Heather Briggs – 5th grade teacher at Wooddale Elementary in Farmington Hills; graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a BS in elementary education with a focus in math and health education; dancing at Center Stage since 1989. Teaches: ballet and pointe.
Erin Goldsworthy – Graduate of Eastern Michigan University with a degrees in communications, economics and education. Trained for two years in the EMU Dance program in modern and ballet. Performance experience includes dancing with the Peter Sparling Dance Company in Ann Arbor. Co-director of an in-house Ballet Company for 8 years that performed original choreography in fairy tale themed shows including, Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, The Wiz of Oz, Anastasia, The Lion King, Oliver, Annie, and The Wizard of Oz. Currently responsible for the maintenance and development of the studio website. Assistant Artistic Director and Director of offsite programming. Dancing at Center Stage since 1994. Teaches: jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, and preschool.
Melissa Holmes – Graduate of Michigan State University with a BS in child development, and an emphasis on elementary education, and language arts. She started dancing at age 2, and has been going ever since! Her history includes training in, and teaching of, ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, baton, and hula; but her love for ballet was cemented when she earned a part in the Nutcracker when she was 8 years old. In line with that love, Melissa also co-directed the Center Stage in-house ballet company for three seasons during her college years including productions of Anastasia, Beauty and the Beast, and the King and I. After moving away for a few years, she is back in the area and thrilled to be back teaching at Center Stage.
Lauren McCausland- Lauren grew up in Northville where she began her dance training at age six. Lauren studied tap, jazz, hip, hop, and lyrical and graduated from Northville High School as a Center Stage Dance Company alumni. Lauren attended the University of Michigan where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology with a focus on child development. She was invited to be a part of the University’s student tap group, RhythM Tap Ensemble, during her freshman year and was elected to Director one year later. After graduating from U of M, Lauren moved to Northern Virginia and shared her love of dance at Studio Bleu Dance Center. As Studio Director, Lauren taught tap, jazz, and creative movement while directing a competition team of over 200 students. Lauren studied under (and taught along side) some of the industry’s most prominent dancers including Savion Glover, Ivery Wheeler, Jason Janas, and Chloe and Maud Arnold of the Syncopated Ladies. Lauren’s students represented the state of Virginia in local and national events like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and her competition team won countless regional and national titles. Lauren also worked for Starpower International as a competition judge, providing constructive critiques to dancers (and teachers) all over the country. Lauren continues to strive each day to instill confidence and self-awareness within her students through the art of dance and is passionate about motivating dancers to grow both technically and artistically. She currently works as a Registered Nurse at the University of Michigan’s University Hospital in Ann Arbor.
Tara Nepa – Graduated from The University of the Arts with a BFA in Jazz Dance Education where she was awarded the Outstanding Student Teaching Award. Her previous positions include; Adjunct Faculty Member, Lecturer, and Interim Administrative Assistant for University of the Arts Dance Department, Festival Coordinator for the 9th National High School Dance Festival, Production Assistant for the Garden State Dance Festival, choreographer for West Chester University’s Dance Company, University of Pennsylvania - Sparks Dance Team, Camp Wilma and Welsh Valley Middle School. Tara was a six-year member, Captain, and 2006 Pro Bowl Cheerleader for The Philadelphia Eagles. As a cheerleader, she traveled overseas to Kosovo and Bosnia to entertain the U.S. troops, performed for Super Bowl XXIX, Super Bowl XXXI, and the New Year’s Celebration in Hong Kong. Assistant Director of TEAM programming. She fulfills her dance passion through educating dancers and fitness fanatics in ballet, jazz, lyrical, Tap, Hip Hop, & Zumba throughout the Metro Detroit Area. In her spare time, Tara is an independent make-up artist for photography and special events.
Allie Shapiro-Waisanen – Graduate of Grand Valley State University with a BS in Health Professions. Currently attending Madonna University, completing additional classes necessary to become a Registered Dietitian. Dancing at Center Stage since 1990, continued involvement in dance through college and is now back in the area teaching ballet, tap and pre-school.
Melissa Towner – Graduate of Michigan State University with a degree in elementary and Deaf education. Melissa is a certified dance instructor through Dance Masters of Wisconsin and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. She is an alumni of Center Stage moving back to Michigan after living in Wisconsin for the past five years where she has worked as a full time dance instructor and team director/choreographer for multiple high school performance teams.
Kelly Owens – Kelly is a 2016 graduate of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor with a BA in Communication Studies and Writing. During her time at the University of Michigan, she was a four-year member of EnCore Hip Hop team and RhythM Tap Ensemble, and held executive board positions for both groups during her junior and senior year. Kelly was also the lead events coordinator for Dance Mix, the largest student run dance performance on campus, during the 2015-2016 school year. This event culminates into a show with an audience of over 1,300 and over 200 performers. Kelly is currently a member of Next Level Dance Company, a professional hip hop crew out of Detroit, Michigan. She was previously a member of GLYDE (Great Lakes Youth Dance Ensemble), a youth tap ensemble for Michigan tap dancers started by Shelby Kaufman, and continues to work with Shelby today. She has been a three-time member of the Motor City Tap Festival’s Elite and Pre-Professional Crews, which has allowed her to work closely with instructors including Gregg Russell, Chloe Arnold, Sarah Reich, Jason Janas, Bril Barret, and Claudia Rahardjanoto. Kelly has been dancing at Center Stage since 2002. She continues her training by attending conventions and classes in Detroit, Chicago, Los Angeles and NYC. At the studio, Kelly teaches tap, hip hop, and jazz, with an additional focus on the competitive TEAM.
All Junior Faculty are high school students who have come up through our Apprentice Program. Their own dance backgrounds are extensive in both experience and exposure to a wide variety of techniques. All Junior Faculty take weekly classes in ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, hip hop, and lyrical. Our Junior teachers participate in intra-studio workshops for choreography, class management and people skills. Regular evaluations help them to improve their teaching and communication skills.
Based on maturity level and commitment to dance, upper-level students with leadership qualities may be invited to join our Studio Assistants program or our Apprentice Program. Studio Assistants and Apprentices assist teachers by helping to demonstrate steps, combinations and choreography during classes. They serve as role models for younger dancers and as representatives of our studio. It is considered an honor to be invited into this program.
Apprentice Program Mission Statement
- To teach senior level dancers the art and mechanics of operating a dance studio business including: dance instruction, choreography, communication skills, systems management, building management, and time management.
- To demonstrate the skills necessary to instruct, nurture and develop young dancers in their pursuit of technique, self-esteem and FUN!
- To enhance the instructional flow by providing each teacher with an assistant. In time, the apprentice will assume a co-teacher role. The effect of ‘team-teaching’ will be that of a better student-to-teacher ratio and in the absence of the primary instructor the apprentice will perpetuate the class routine.
- Minimum age of an apprentice is 14, or a freshman in high school. As our program has grown, the most typical entry age for an apprentice is 15, or a sophomore in high school.
- Apprentices are invited by the director to participate in the program. Considerations for invitation include: skill level, commitment, attitude, level of participation in studio activities, leadership qualities, and dependability.
- Apprentices are compensated by the hour. They are required to document their hours on a monthly basis for reimbursement. If they cannot come to work as scheduled, they must arrange for a substitute apprentice to work with the primary instructor.
- It is strongly impressed upon the apprentices that they represent our studio, its philosophy, and its reputation, but most importantly, that the younger dancers are always watching them. They must role model in the most positive of ways at all times.
- We have regular contact with most of our Alumni. Over the years, many of them have told us that the time they spent as an Apprentice proved to be invaluable to them as they moved forward in higher education and careers.
- The young people in the Apprentice Program are a wonder. They are incredibly talented, heart-warmingly loyal, and full of the desire to achieve. It is our distinct pleasure to have the chance to help them reach their greatest potential.