Performer, choreographer, and instructor Emily Fine developed a strong appreciation for dance at a very young age. She quickly discovered it as a means of self-expression and began to acknowledge the positive influence it was having on her life. It wasn’t long before she realized dance was a powerful tool for creating change and inspiring confidence in peoples lives, and her desire to share this wonderful gift is becoming a reality at last. She is thrilled to be returning to Traverse City after 7 years in California, bringing a creative contribution to the community in an environment promoting health, happiness and FUN!
Emily’s formal training began over 15 years ago at The Dance Center and Dance Arts Academy in Traverse City, Michigan, where she trained extensively in ballet, point, jazz, and modern. Within these institutions she gained a foundation that allowed the development of a unique and personal style of choreography. A gift for teaching first became clear as she set a standard for creative dance movement as the co-captain of the Jazz/Hip hop Dance Squad for Traverse City Central High School. Concurrently, a rich culture of hip hop music began to influence Emily's work, bringing a new element of rhythm and soul to her movements. By uncovering a new face of hip hop music and culture, Emily sought out other dance communities in which to learn and extend her knowledge of the art form. This search landed her in the unique community of San Francisco.
From 2002 to 2008 Emily immersed herself in a new world of movement by teaching and participating in dance classes with a variety of San Francisco organizations. Simultaneously studying jazz, modern and ballet, Emily trained and apprenticed with some of the most renowned West Coast dance instructors including Cecelia Marta, Maija Garcia, Stacey Printz and Eric Fenn. In addition, she instructed a diverse body of students teaching classes at three different YMCA organizations, the San Francisco Jewish Community Center and various San Francisco dance studios. To compliment her experience she earned a dance certificate in Classical Dance Performance at San Francisco City College.
Through all her diverse studies of movement, it has been hip hop music and dance that has most inspired Emily, therefore she has developed a life long emotional connection to the culture. In it, a rich history with deep roots in rhythm, soul and unpredictability that is most often misrepresented in the main stream commercialized music industry that many know. Eager to embody hip hop in its true form and expose its unique history, Emily returns to Traverse City to share this passion and her love for all dance forms.
Emily’s Choreography incorporates diverse influences in a unique and innovative style that ranges from smooth, sensual and fluid, to bold, grounded and strong. By evading categorization and stylistic boundaries, her movement utilizes many different dance genres and is most certainly a creative craft all her own. Not only a talented dancer and choreographer, Emily has an intuitive spirit of a new movement of dance and its connection to our immediate world. Her unique sense of people and personal expression allow her to relate to any student and she encourages dancers to remain positive and open-minded. She believes in the importance of community, artistic exchange and in being a life long student of many different dance forms. It is this philosophy that makes her energy and excitement so contagious and her classes so irresistible.
Grace L. Blackmer was born in Traverse City and started her dance training at the Dance Center in 1985. She proceeded to train at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, National Association of Dance Masters, and Joffery Ballet Summer Programs. Grace attended Interlochen Arts Academy for Design in 1995 and began working with the Old Towne Playhouse in Traverse City choreographing “The King and I”. She continued her work at the Playhouse through her seinor year. She performed in “Hello Dolly”, “Grease”, “A Chorus Line”, and costumed “Barefoot in the Park”. Grace attended Columbia College in Chicago majoring in dance and minoring in film. She moved to St.Louis in 2000, and was a founding member of Beyond Motions Dance Company. She then moved to New York to study on work scholarship at Steps on Broadway, and performed as soloist with “Sound of the City” and “House Plague” two seperate off-Broadway companies. Grace now dances with the Michigan Dance Collective and has been teaching at the Dance Center since 2004. She has choreographed for Theatre North a Traverse City based theatre company. In 2007 Grace was co-founder of BASE Movement Theatre, a multi media performing group that is now based out of Seattle and is currentlly showing “Drop your Art” that was showcased in Traverse City in August 2007. Grace also teaches Taekwondo and is a third degree Black Belt where she has earned state titles and competes nationally.
Dorothy Eisenstein is a dancer, choreographer, and instructor. She has performed with dance companies in Ontario, New York, and Michigan, including Gina Lori Riley Dance Enterprises of Ontario, Paradigm Dance Theatre, Anne Mackesey Dance Group, and as a roster artist with Young Audiences of Michigan. She has served on the faculties of University Liggett School, Eastern Michigan University, and the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts. She received her BFA degree in dance from the University of Illinois and her Master of Arts Degree in Liberal Studies from Wesleyan University. She currently directs the dance program in the humanities division at Northwestern Michigan College.
Chrissie Reitmeyer began her dance training over 22 years ago, at the age of three in Austin, Texas, and she hasn’t stopped since! As a child, she studied tap, jazz, ballet, modern, and contemporary techniques extensively. In 2004, she moved to Evanston, Illinois to study dance at Northwestern University. At Northwestern, she was given the opportunity to study a variety of traditional and non-traditional modern techniques, as well as West African Dance, and Jump Rhythm Jazz Technique. She also continued her ballet and tap training, which eventually placed her in professional tap performances throughout Chicago, including in the popular Dance Chicago series. Chrissie developed her own unique, quirky, and pedestrian style of choreography during her time in Illinois, often called an “iconoclast” by her peers and professors. She moved to the Traverse City area three years ago, where she promptly began training at Soul Step. Chrissie’s love of dance is palpable in the energy she brings to each class and performance. For her, dance is a harmonious celebration of the body and the music -- fun music is always a must! She has been a member of the Urban Elements Dance Crew since 2010. She is excited to be teaching her first class and is looking forward to sharing her skills with the Traverse City community!
Keegan “Seoul” Loye representing Grand Rapids, Michigan has been breakin’ since 2005. Quickly becoming a staple in the growth of West Michigan HipHop, Seoul has helped spread his knowledge across the country touring with 61Syx Teknique and is now the proud owner of 61Syx Teknique Street Dance Academy. A one of a kind Breakin’ studio in Grand Rapids. Mixing up the artistic expression and adding the competitive but fun nature of a BBoy, Seoul has spent years mastering this craft. Constantly on a search for knowledge Seoul has also been very active in the BBoy community by competing in over 20 national competitions and battles last year and placing in 12!
Lisa Wyzgoski is an early childhood teacher with a passion for dance. Lisa graduated from Western Michigan University in 2006 with a degree in Early Childhood Education. In August 2012, Lisa completed her Masters Degree from Grand Valley State University in Early Childhood Special Education. Since 2007, she has taught a full-day 4-year-old preschool program in Kalkaska, Michigan.
Lisa grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and danced as a young child. After about 20 years, she returned to dance classes in 2010 here at Soul Step Dance Studio and has been a member of the Urban Elements Dance Crew since November 2011. Soul Step Dance Studio allows Lisa to combine her love of music, dance, learning, and teaching on a weekly basis. Urban Tots is a combination of Lisa’s experience dancing at Soul Step and loads of early childhood movement fun!
Bio coming soon...
With a Bachelor of Social Work Degree, Danielle has been an interpreter and ESL teacher for 8 years. Previously she taught improvised and choreographed dance to children with a touring animation group from Spain called Los Sin Carpa for approximately 2 years while also teaching dance for physical rehabilitation in El Salvador. Later she taught movement with rhythm and breath for kids after school in Grand Rapids. Danielle has received training certificates in, "Corporal Expression", "Movement Perception and Instantaneous Composition in Improvised Dance", and "Proficiency in Syrian, Lebanese and Egyptian Bellydance". She was a performing student of Contemporary Dance with Julio Mejia and Oxigeno + Danza for approximately 2 years, and has also studied tribal bellydance, hip-hop, and jazz in various studios and workshops. She is currently training as a Pilates instructor and has completed "Mat I" with Balanced Body Pilates.
Bio coming soon!