Mary, along with her professional dance partner Jerry, have been dancing for 20 years -- competing as an amateur dance couple for seven years and winning first place in all syllabus levels in the rhythm category in national competitions. Together, they have studied under prominent dancers/instructors in the United States. Mary loves teaching dance, believes it is a great social skill, and that it has many health benefits.
Maria has 21 years of previous dance experience. Starting at a young age she has been trained in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, musical theater, hip hop and pointe. She competed up through high school and continued teaching in college for both a club and collegiate team. Currently she is also attending school at MSU to receive her MBA in Global Supply Chain Management Consulting.
With 30 years of teaching experience, a BS in physical education and dance, and an M.S. in arts/recreation administration from Michigan State University, Beth focused her energy and talent with Williamston Community schools, serving as the K-5 creative arts teacher. Beth has also taught high school dance for East Lansing and Williamston Public Schools and Dance as Human Experience for MSU's Residential College for Arts and Humanities. She is co-author of Interdisciplinary Learning Through Dance: 101 MOVEntures and is an artist-in-residence for the local Kennedy Center Partners In Education Initiative. Beth has been Michigan Dance Teacher of the Year and is a veteran Happendance Company member.
Clara Martinez has been dancing in various movement forms for over 20 years. Clara received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in dance from The Ohio State University. She is an alumnus of Happendance School and Happendance Impulse, where she is now on the faculty. She is the founder and director of Clara Lucia Y Compania, a community-minded dance project that works collaboratively to engage the greater Lansing area in dance, dancers, dance-making processes, and dancing. Clara is serving her second term as the AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer for Mayor Bernero's office as part of the Cities of Service City Hall AmeriCorps VISTA Love Your Block Program, a neighborhood revitalization initiative awarded to the City of Lansing by Cities of Service, a nonprofit of Bloomberg Philanthropies. She has represented the City of Lansing on a national level as a VISTA and Dance Artist. Clara is the recipient of the Artist in the Community Grant (formerly the Individual Artist Grant) from the Arts Council of Greater Lansing, and was showcased at the 2016 Creative Placemaking Summit.
Melissa has been dancing for more than 37 years and has 27 years teaching experience. She has studied under several ballet companies throughout the United States. Her background includes ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical and Cecchetti. While earning in B.A. in Human Resource Management from Michigan State University she formed a campus dance program called Generation Dance that was free to all students.