Dream Dance Grow with us!
THE SDD FACULTY
Ms. Michelle Spezio Ferm – Artistic Director/Owner
Miss Michelle heads Spezio’s Dance Dynamics Inc. with the philosophy that dance must be fun and yet disciplined to challenge students to reach for mastery, proper technical execution and artistic expression through all they wish to accomplish. Dance is about passion for life, discovery and expressing one’s personal talents.
Michelle Spezio Ferm, BFA, Artistic Director and President of Spezio’s Dance Dynamics Inc. since 1993 is recognized for training versatile, well-rounded dancers with an artistic spirit. Michelle has over 28 years of educating dancers and performance experience. Miss Michelle’s versatility as a teacher of all ages and levels include expertise in ballet/pointe, Acrobatics, Jazz/Contemporary, Modern/Lyrical, Theater Dance, Tap and children’s classes. Miss Michelle is a master teacher, choreographer and National Level Competition Judge with significant experience in teaching, curriculum development, training diversity and an award winning choreographer. As an adjudicator, Michelle brings a significant understanding of various subjects, technical proficiency/methodology, depth of performance and an understanding of what it takes to train working dancers for today’s climate.
Miss Michelle is certified by and active member of Dance Masters of America, the Country’s leading Dance Educational Testing Program. Miss Michelle and SDD is a proud member of I.D.E.A. “The International Dance Entrepreneurs Association” committed to principle of integrity in teaching, business practices, the proper training, age appropriate movement and choreography. The school is an active Chapter for the National Honor Society in Dance Arts, Member National Dance Education Organization and the New York State Dance Education Association. She is a former USGF Gymnast/Team Coach, a former performer with Zodiaque Dance Company, Greater Buffalo Opera Company and other professional performance companies.
Miss Michelle has built a solid foundation for students of all levels at Spezio’s Dance Dynamics to excel as “thinking artists” who understand cultivate and celebrate their personal talents. As the SDD Artistic Director, Ms. Michelle is proud of the diverse and well trained “Facul-Team” she supports for teaching/education experience, curriculum development, training diversity and award winning choreography. SDD students have performed all over the USA, received numerous National level Outstanding dancer scholarships, Summer Intensive Placements/Scholarships, attended prestigious university programs and performed professionally in many areas of dance.
Miss Michelle looks forward to guiding students of all ages and levels along their dance journey in pursuit of their goals while developing their passion for the art of dance!
Marissa Pontello – Competition Placement Director
Miss Marissa began her dance training at Dance Dynamics at the age of five. Marissa became a member of the competition team at the age of eight where she studied under the direction of Miss Michelle. During high school she became a member of the SDD faculty and has shared her passion of dance and teaching with her students ever since. She teaches a variety of subjects including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, acrobatics and kiddie combo classes. Marissa continues to broaden her knowledge of dance by studying with various teachers and choreographers at dance seminars and workshops. She graduated from Canisius College with a Bachelor’s degree in Childhood and Special Education and a Master’s degree in Advanced Special Education. When Marissa is not at the studio, she is a Special Education Teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools.
Kelly Burwick – Competition Placement Coordinator
Miss Kelly graduated from the University at Buffalo with a BFA in Dance and a Minor in Accounting. Prior to college she had been training at a local dance studio in Utica NY since the age of three. While attending college Kelly studied with the various dance companies that traveled to the college, including the American Ballet Theatre, Limon, and Martha Graham. Throughout college she gained valuable performing experience through the Zodiaque Dance Company, Stuiowerks Dance Ensemble, Zodiaque Studio Dance Ensemble, Young Choreographers Showcase, and Dancers Workshop which she also choreographed for. In addition she danced with guest performer, Anthony Miranda and his Percussion Ensemble, and In Young Sohn’s Korean Dance company. Other dance education included a summer at the American Dance Festival in Durham NC. In addition Kelly is a certified aerobics instructor specializing in Pilates, Step Aerobics, and Resistance Training.
Mr. Bill has performed in concert works such as: The Green Table (K. Jooss), Don Quixote/ Pas de Deux (after Petipa), Galena Summit (K. Posin), and Polenc (M. Simms), among others.
He has performed and gained entrance into dance companies such as: Webster Dance Theater (St. Louis), Buffalo City Ballet (Buffalo, NY), Off-Track Dancers (St. Louis), The Thomas Dance Collection (Director/Choreographer) (Buffalo), David Puszh Dance Company (Chicago), Joel Hall Dancers (apprentice) (Chicago), and Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theater (apprentice) (NYC). His musical theater credits include: Anything Goes w/ Chita Riveria(AEA), The Unsinkable Molly Brown w/ Ann Reinking(AEA), Sesame Street Live (AEA)(National Tours) and The Black Musical Review. As an independent/ freelance artist he has performed at: La Mama E.T.C. (Off Broadway-NYC)/US, The International Theatre Festival of Barranquilla/ Columbia, The Toronto Fringe Festival/ Canada, and The International Festival for Arts/ Argentina, among others.
His choreography has been seen at/on: Ailey Citigroup Theater(NYC), Thelma Hill Performing Arts-Kumble Theater (LIU-Brooklyn), The Thomas Dance Collection(Director/Choreographer), Buffalo City Ballet, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble- Philadelphia, Philadanco II, Jacob’s Pillow Inside/Out Choreography Showcase, International Theater Festival/ Mexico City, Danco On Danco Choreography Showcase, Zodiaque Dance Company, Orchesis Contemporary Dance Theater, Danza Una/Costa Rica, Buffalo Dance Festival, and Hampton University, among others.
Mr. Thomas’ teaching credits include: Philadanco, Rochester City Ballet, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Danse4Nia Repertory Ensemble (Ballet Master/ Rehearsal Dir.), Buffalo City Ballet, Montgomery County Community College, Conservatory and School of the Arts in St. Louis, Empire State Ballet, National University of Costa Rica-Heredia, American Academy of Dance, Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School, Florida A&M University, The Black College Dance Exchange, The French-English School in Barranquilla, Colombia, Losdenmedium Danza in Costa Rica, Amsterdam Dance Center in the Netherlands, Instituto de Danzas Espanolas & Ballet Folklorico in Argentina, and formerly at S.U.N.Y. @ Buffalo where he was Head of Ballet, Associate Professor & Director of Dance.
Mr. Thomas’s training includes: Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Dance Theater of Harlem, John Barker’s Vaganova Teacher Training Seminar, Broadway Dance Center, Jacob’s Pillow, Hubbard Street Dance Studio, and with master teachers such as: Finis Jhung, Madame Darvash, Madame Lavinia Williams, and Homer Bryant among others, and studied choreography from luminaries such as: Bessie Schonberg, Phyllis Lamhut and Vera Blaine.
He has adjudicated for organizations such as NAACP ACT-SO, Winners Talent Showcase Nationals, and Links Inc. International, among others and as a panelist for organizations such as the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Cultural Arts Fund (Philadelphia), and Buffalo/Erie Arts Council. He also has teaching awards from S.U.N.Y. at Buffalo and the A.K.A. Sorority and holds a B.A. in Dance (Ballet Major) from Webster University Conservatory in St. Louis, Missouri, and an M.A. in Dance(Choreography/Pedagogy) from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, where he received the University Fellowship and Teaching Fellowship.
Mr. AJ, originally from Buffalo, NY, has been an artist as long as he could remember. He has been dancing, modeling, and choreographing all over the globe since the tender age of 10. His extensive training expands to both the east and west coasts, at such studios as The Edge Performing Arts Center, Broadway Dance Center, Gus Giordano, and has assisted and trained with the likes of Joe Tremaine, Liz Imperio, Charles Klapow, and Doug Caldwell. Andrij has worked with such artists as Kylie Minogue, Marc Anthony, Stevie Wonder, Gregory Hines, and Selena Gomez. Some of his credits include the MTV Movie Awards, The TV Land Awards, Wella, Nike, International Dance Festival, The Winter Olympics, American Choreography Awards, Jazz Dance World Congress, Coca Cola, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, LA Fashion Apparel Magazine, and has toured the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Mexico with “Instincts Live Media Dance Company.” He has been, and continues to be a guest teacher, choreographer, and adjudicator at many universities and competitions all around the world. Some of these include, JMR Broadway Dance Center in Seoul Korea, and F.I.T. in Manhattan. Currently, Andrij is embarking on another life long passion by attending “The Fashion Institute of Technology” in Manhattan, interning with the fashion giant Marc Jacobs, and working as a stylist in NYC. Be on the lookout for him, and his “theJamFam” @thejamfam facebook, and @thejamfam6 twitter/instagram. Live, Love, Jam!!!
Mr. Gary began his formal training in the music department of SUNY at Albany, then went on to study dance with Melissa Hayden, Elizabeth Carroll, Edward Vilella, Kay Mazzo and Peter Martins at Skidmore College. He also studied jazz with Rhett Dennis at the Luigi School in New York as well as modern with Ethel Winter of the Martha Graham School. Mr. Marino began performing with the Skidmore Dancers, Saratoga Ballet Company, Schenectady Civic Ballet, Buffalo Repertory Ballet Co. and Camelon Dancers. At Artpark he choreographed and appeared in La Traviata and Rigoletto. His choreographic experience also includes numerous ballets for the Buffalo Repertory Ballet Co. Previous teaching experience includes Skidmore College, New York State Summer School of the Arts, Union College, Performing Arts, many WNY dance studios and SUNY at Albany and Buffalo, among others. Currently, Mr. Marino is also on faculty at American Academy of Ballet and Niagara University. In addition, he has judged numerous dance competitions in the U.S. and Canada including Cutting Edge, Dance Masters of America, WNY Dance Championships. Recently he has performed with Configuration Dance Theater in Michael Shannons ballet “Been there Done That” and as the Merlin character in “Arthur”. In addition he has created a new ballet in collaboration with Peter Bennett on Jackie Gleasons “Gigot” performed at Niagara University. Many of his students have gone on to join ballet companies and touring companies. In addition to teaching classical Vaganova technique in ballet, he has coached both figure skating and gymnastics. Most recently he will be appearing on the new season of Dance Twins to air on the lifetime network this fall. Other talents involve composing music for dance and has produced a ballet class recording with pianist Guy Boleri.
Miss Courtney began her dance training at the age of four, and has been dancing at Spezio’s since she was six years old. She became a member of the competition program when she was eight years old. She has such a love for dance that after graduating high school she became a faculty member and continued on to dance in college where she graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelors Degree in Dance. Miss Courtney teaches a wide variety of subjects including jazz, tap, lyrical, ballet and acro. She continues her training by attending various seminars and conventions. She believe that dance teaches children the importance of team work and commitment. Dance has given Miss Courtney life lessons, skills and friendships that she will have for a lifetime.
Erin Ostrum Alongi
Miss Erin started dancing when she was 3 years old and hasn’t stopped since. Before becoming a teacher at SDD, she was a student here! Since that time, Miss Erin achieved a Dance Minor from SUNY Geneseo where she was also a member of the Geneseo Dance Ensemble, performing in many faculty and guest artist pieces. She currently holds a Doctoral degree in School Psychology. Miss Erin loves teaching dance to children of all ages, believing that the skills and lessons learned in the dance studio translate to strong life lessons outside of the dance studio.
Miss Lizzy is a Spezio’s Dance Dynamics alumni class of 2019. She is continuing her education at Buffalo State College, pursuing her degree in Childhood Education. In addition to teaching at Spezio’s, Lizzy is also a member of the professional dance team for the National Lacrosse League team the Buffalo Bandits.
Miss Mia is a Spezios Dance Dynamics alumni class of 2018. After spending 15 years dancing at Spezios, she decided to pursue a major in Dance at the University at Buffalo. Mia continues to train with collegiate level professors and has been selected to perform in various shows. She has taught at Spezios since the age of 16 and has loved sharing her passion with others ever since.
René Giglia Heitzenrater
Miss René began dancing at the age of 2 ½. Through her training she was awarded numerous regional and national awards. Love for the stage at a small age lead to many musical performances such as A Chorus Line (Sheila), The Wild Party (Nadine), Anything Goes (Charity), The Who’s Tommy (Sally Simpson), and West Side Story. René graduated with a BFA in dance from SUNY at Buffalo and moved to Los Angeles. After 5 years on the West Coast, René decided to re-route back to the East Coast where she is constantly spreading her dance knowledge. She teaches master classes and is an adjudicator throughout the US and Canada. René has worked as a dancer and choreographer for film, television, and stage. She performed at the Michael Landon Awards in NYC, the MTV Movie Awards with the Pussycat Dolls, and choreographed and performed in France for the Cannes Music Festival. René also choreographed the LA premiere of the musical “Pageant” which received the LA Times Critics Choice. She also choreographs for world renowned record label, Del Oro Music, in Studio City, CA. René has been seen on T.V. in shows such as ER, The West Wing, American Dreams, and Charmed and also appeared in the movies The Italian Job, and Freaky Friday. René also is pleased to be licensed in the GYROTONIC® exercise method and the Booty Barre exercise method.
Miss Kristina has been teaching ballet for over 20 years. She holds a BS in Education, a Master’s Degree in Literacy, and a Minor in Dance. Growing up, Miss Kristina studied with Geraldine Hoffman and Sharon Ralston. In college, she performed with Buffalo State’s Dance Dimensions Dance Company. Miss Kristina also has a love for singing and currently sings in a contemporary Christian band. Miss Kristina is a mother of 4 children, and is happy to share her love of dance with her 2 girls as they receive their training at Dance Dynamics.
Miss Sara began dancing at the age of three in combination level classes. Throughout the years, Miss Sara has danced in recreational and competitive programs. Miss Sara has attended national conventions and began teaching dance nearly 20 years ago in the Western New York area. Miss Sara began teaching at Spezio’s Dance Dynamics in 2012 and teaches combination classes tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, ballet and acrobatics to students of all age levels. In addition to teaching dance, Miss Sara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education from Buffalo State College and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Technology from the University of Phoenix. Currently, Miss Sara teaches elementary level students with special needs in Buffalo, New York. Miss Sara finds joy being in the classroom and the dance studio. Miss Sara believes that studying dance provides children with life lessons and skills that can be carried with them through life.
Miss Julianna started her dance career at the age of 3 at a studio in the Western New York area. While she has trained in all styles of dance, her favorites are jazz and lyrical. She joined the competitive program at age 11. In 2015, Julianna went on the Dance Olympus Summer Tour where she traveled to Chicago, Minneapolis, Boston and Houston. Here she assisted teachers in a convention setting everyday for two weeks. This allowed her to expand her training and gave her the opportunity to work with new teachers, students and peers while following a demanding schedule. In 2016, Miss Julianna joined the Spezio’s competition team and continued dancing here until she graduated in 2018. She is currently studying Dietetics with a minor in Spanish at D’Youville College.