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Meet Our Staff

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Ashley Burke

Studio Director

Miss Ashley Burke started dancing at the age of 2.  Originally from Michigan, she began competitive dance and baton twirling at the age of 6.  Her repertoire of pageants and accolades regionally then led her to showcase her vocal talents, when she began singing publically at the age of 11 for Relay For Life events, county fairs, and the American National/ Canadian National Anthem all over Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.  Ashley traveled to sing for various hockey and baseball games including the Toledo Walleye, The Detroit Vipers, the Detroit Tigers, and the Toledo MudHens.  She was bit by the theatre bug in high school and began cheering on Varsity as a Freshman.  From there, she performed in various community and regional theatre productions with The Toledo Repertoire Theatre and the River Raisin Centre For the Arts.  Cheerleading led her to be granted an athletic scholarship to Adrian College where she then also became majorette captain with the marching band and earned her degree in Musical Theatre and Communications/ Women's Studies.  She is trained vocally in both Musical Theatre and Opera, as well as all dance styles. 

During her undergrad, Ashley performed with the Detroit Actor's Theatre Company, The Croswell Opera House, and the Michigan Opera Theatre.  Ashley was nominated twice for the prestigious Kennedy Center Irene Ryan Acting Awards and was also awarded first place regionally at the National Association of Teachers of Singing.  After college, Ashley was a part of the company for the Amish musical "The Confession" for over 125 shows.  She then moved to NYC and made her Off-Broadway debut at the Apollo in the Twana Lawler musical, "Love Happened By Chance".  She also performed in a staged reading of the Off-Broadway musical "The Birthday Boy", and since has performed in cabarets and concerts at 54 Below, The Duplex, Don't Tell Mama, and Joe's Pub.  Miss Ashley has been teaching all styles of dance and theatre professionally since 2012 and works with all ages of children.  She has studied under Broadway choreographer Christopher Gattelli and ballet master Dorit Koppel via PeriDance and also Broadway Dance Center.  She also had the privilege of studying voice under American composer Michael Levine, as well as studying acting and performance under Broadway and television star Titus Burgess, Merri Sugarman of Tara Rubin Casting, and musical theatre composers Jonathan Reid Gealt, Scott Alan, and Jason Robert Brown.  She has had the privilege of also taking classes under the instruction of Kenny Ortega, James Whiteside, and Liz Imperio.  Miss Ashley is a proud member of the National Dance Education Organization and Actor's Equity Association.  Her choreography has granted her various awards through dance competition circuits such as Kids Artistic Revue, Beyond the Stars, All American Talent, Inferno, and Dance XPlosion.  She has also taught traditional classroom education via Saint Demetrios Prep, as well as PS 212 for 5th grade.  Using her craft in this way has been the absolutely most fulfilling path she could have followed and is grateful every day to be getting to do what she loves!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sierra Cruz is a graduate of LaGuardia Performing Arts High School and currently attends Pace University as an Acting for Film major.  Miss Sierra is also a member of The Collective Dance Troupe at PACE.  Having been a student of Miss Ashley's since 3rd grade, Miss Sierra has studied all styles of dance, as well as acting and musical theatre.  Originally from Brooklyn, Sierra has been featured in various One Act and Shakespearean plays, as well as short films via the NYU Graduate Film School.  Her most recent credits include, "Knockoff", where she played the role of Natalia, as well as "RENT", "All Shook Up", and the University of Michigan MPulse Summer Theatre Intensive.  Sierra has had the privilege of dancing at both Carnegie Hall and Symphony Space, as well as winning Diamond scores and Highest Scoring Studio for both Hip Hop and Jazz Line Production Numbers at various dance competitions.  She currently trains at Broadway Dance Center under the direction of Heather Riggs, Michael Crawford, Ryan Miller, Ian Klein, and Michaela McGowan.  Having played lead roles such as Donkey in "Shrek the Musical", Cat in the Hat in "Seussical the Musical", as well as Mrs. Beauregarde in "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory", Sierra comes to Premiere with a polished character acting background.  She not only comes with experience teaching and assisting acting/ musical theatre and dance classes, but she looks forward to also helping backstage and producing amazing pieces of art with her students.

Sierra Cruz

Teaching Staff

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Danny Durr

Teaching Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny Durr has been called a “dance master” (Palm Beach Arts Paper). His stagings
include musicals, plays, concerts, and workshops. His choreography includes the World
Premiere of That’s Miss Fits to You! (Soho Playhouse), A Christmas Carol (1st National Tour)
White Light (Kat Wildish Spotlight Series), and Cage and The Dance (Pearl Studios NYC).
Other productions include Sweet Charity (Stage Door Theatre), The Rocky Horror
Show (Millbrook Playhouse), Godspell (Baruch College), Madagascar (Arizona Broadway
Theatre) Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Post Playhouse), The Prom (The
Cumberland Theatre), Working (Missoula’s Children’s Theatre), and Matilda (Fort Peck Theatre).
His choreography has also been seen at Josie’s International School of Dance (NY),
Perfect Fit (NY), TMPL (NY), PSS City Island Center (NY), and Brenda’s Body Shop (MD).
Since 2020, Danny has served as a Teaching Artist for Inside Broadway, a non-profit
theatre company that brings the magic and profession of Broadway to public school
students throughout New York.
Danny also serves as a Resident Choreographer for Norwegian Creative Studios for
such shows as Showdown, Acoustic Sessions, and Debonair. www.dannydurr.com IG:
@dannyjdurr

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Libby McKenzie is a recent graduate of Western Michigan University. She graduated as Presidential Scholar and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. While at WMU, she performed in student, professional, and self-choreographed works. Most notably, she performed “Inertia,” choreographed by Kelsey Paschich, “Woman,” choreographed by Tsai Hsi Hung, excerpts from Decidedly Jazz Danceworks’ “Family of Jazz,” choreographed and restaged by Kim Cooper, and most recently “8 Stages of College” by Katy Copeland. She has also had the privilege of performing works by Seyong Kim, Carolyn Pavlik, and Penny Saunders. Libby was a member of WMU Dance Department’s traveling performance company, Western Dance Project, during the 2021-2022 school year under the direction of Kelsey Paschich. She has been fortunate enough to attend numerous summer intensives such as Eisenhower Dance Detroit’s NewDanceFest, Vim Vigor, and Grand Rapids Ballet, and also teaches and choreographs for local West Michigan dance studios. Her most recent accolades include her self-choreographed solo, “of all that is changing” receiving second place in the Maggie Allesee choreography competition in December 2022 and then going on to represent WMU at the American College Dance Association East-Central Conference in March 2023. Libby is currently a company member with CPR Dance: Inhale Movement, a professional dance company in Southwest Michigan, directed by Carolyn Pampalone Rabbers. She is excited to start her journey with Premiere Performing Arts!

Libby McKenzie

Teaching Staff/ Front Desk

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Abigail Rebekah is a dancer/choreographer currently based in New York City. She has her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Modern Dance from the University of Utah School of Dance. Abigail comes from training focused on classical ballet techniques (Vagonova & ABT), neo-classical jazz, modern dance, improvisation, and commercial jazz all accumulating to specialties in theater performance. These skills have helped her establish various positions within new, and very exciting, collaborative processes with Kairos Dance, Brooklyn Acting Lab, Troy Community Theatre, Festival Dance & Performing Arts Academy, Union County Cultural Coalition, The Elgin Opera House, Open Door Productions, University of Utah Undergraduate Research Program, and the University of Utah School of Dance. Choreo./Dir. Credits: The Music Man, Once Upon a Mattress, a screen dance classic surrealist simplicity,  Newsies The Musical, a devised work Grey Area, Ronald & Edith, and All Together Now. 

Abigail Rebekah

Teaching Staff/ Front Desk

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Melissa Katz has been singing and dancing since she could walk, and talk! She has been lucky enough to train and work with some of the biggest choreographers in the industry on the east and west coasts. She recently graduated from NYU with her Masters in Dance Education, and has been teaching children and teens at various studios in the Westchester area. She has a deep passion for working with children, and feels most at home when she is creating with her students in the dance studio. Melissa is so honored and excited to be a part of the Premiere Performing Arts team, and can't wait to dance with you! 

Melissa Katz

Guest Choreographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ai Toyoshima is a New York-based musical theater actor, choreographer, and stage manager! Her favorite credits include Bryant Park Modern Dance Summer Series, the Joyce Theater, the 20th annual Dumbo Dance Festival, and Steps Beyond Foundation Performance Lab.

She is thrilled to be a part of the faculty at Premiere Performing Arts for this season.  Follow her next adventure on Instagram @toyosienne!

Ai Toyoshima

Guest Choreographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Emily J. Sanchez was born and raised in Texas. She received her formal training at the Ballet Conservatory of South Texas. Emily was awarded a Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Arts from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) in (2019). While studying at UNCSA, she performed the works of Doug Varone, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and Douglas Dunn, as well as choreographed her own pieces for student showcases. 

Emily has been a resident of New York City since 2019 and presently resides in the Queens area. In addition to her performance career, she pursues a profession as an art educator, teaching dance and creative movement to students across New York City. 

Along with her teaching post, Emily performs as a freelance entertainer and holds residencies as an artist with two New York-based dance companies. She continues to grow as a dancer and educator, sharing the art form that she loves in an environment that encourages authenticity.

Emily Sanchez

Guest Choreographer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mikayla Bunn grew up in Michigan and is proud to be an alum of Western Michigan University. While she graduated from WMU with her B.F.A. in Dance and a minor in Integrative Holistic Health and Wellness, Mikayla also trained at Oklahoma City University during her first year of undergrad where she specialized in jazz, tap, and ballet. She is an award-winning choreographer backed by a strong performance career. Most notably, she has performed work by Tsai Hsi Hung, Kelsey Paschich, Jeremy Blair, and Alyssa Brutlag. During her time at Western, Mikayla also worked with Yin Yue, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, Kia Smith, Julie Nakagawa, and Jackie Nowicki, among others. When she is not performing or teaching dance, Mikayla is leading Pure Barre classes throughout New York City. Mikayla is best described as enthusiastic and motivating with a commitment to fostering a love of movement in students. She is patient and encouraging with students of all levels and is proud to be a part of Premiere Performing Arts.

Mikayla Bunn

Guest Choreographer/ Conditioning Instructor

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bianca Megaro was born and raised in Astoria, NY. She started dancing at the young age of three and never stopped. Her training continued into her time at CUNY Hunter College where she obtained a BA in dance and an MA in K-12 Dance Education. She currently holds a NYS teaching certificate in K-12 dance education and is a proud and active member of the National Dance Education Organization, The Arts Education Roundtable, and National Honor Society for Dance Arts. Throughout her training she studied ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, and tap. As an independent choreographer, Bianca has presented her work at the Multipurpose Dance Project and Dance Astoria in addition to producing her own full-length show entitled Dancin’. Additionally, she has served as a production assistant for projects such as Dance Worx (Hunter College Dance Company), Calle Soul (Soul Dance Co), and SPLIT (Joshua Pacheco in association with Hunter College). Her performance credits include work with Carmel Lorie Dance Company, Joshua Pacheco Dance Theater, Precision Plus Dance Ensemble- Dancers Responding to Aids Stars of Tomorrow, original works by Troy Powell of Ailey II, and Pedro Ruiz’s Window Project. Bianca has taught in many capacities including, open classes, private studios, public schools, after school and summer camp programs. The core of her dancing and teaching is that dance is for everybody. 

Bianca Megaro

Guest Choreographer/ Stage Crew

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