Sue Van Voorhis, Director
Pre-Ballet I&II, Pointe, Beginning Ballet, Elementary I&II Ballet, Adult ballet
Sue's journey in dance began at age 5 when her mother, who was enamored with Shirley Temple, took her to her first tap class. A bout with polio at age 7 caused muscular problems in her right leg, and ballet was introduced as therapy. Ballet quickly became her first love.
She studied with Jorg Fasting, a Ballet Russe member who settled in Columbus, Ohio and started his own school and company, The Capital City Ballet. She danced leading roles in Swan Lake and Cinderella. Sue graduated from Ohio State University with a BS in education. There, she became a member of the Ohio State dance Troup under Helen Alkire. She spent the summers in New York City studying ballet with Vlademir Dokovsky and Nina Strogonova. She studied jazz with Lenny Dale at the June Taylor School.
When Sue moved to Indianapolis in 1962, she studied with Jack Copeland and Karl Kaufman. She became a member of their dance companies. She then studied with Lynnette Schisla and danced in many Footlight productions and also the Sheraton dinner theatre. She appeared in the musicals, Sweet Charity, Anything Goes, Annie Get Your Gun, Most Happy Fella, and Kismet. She also danced with the Indianapolis Opera Company in Carmen. Since then, she has shared her passion for dance through her teaching.
Julie Meyer, Artistic Director
Ballet, Pointe, Ballet Variations
Julie began her childhood training at Jordan Academy of Dance studying under Collette Kaufman and Jack Copeland. Julie continued her training at the Dance Center with Lynette Schisla. During her senior year, she studied at Butler University as part of an independent study program. Julie graduated with a BFA in dance from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She studied the Horton technique under James Truitte and ballet under Denise Limoli, David Blackburn and Oleg Sabline. After college, Julie spent three seasons as a solosit with the Lexington Ballet Company under the direction of Kirt Hathaway and Karl Kaufman. She has also danced independently with the Ruth Page foundations Nutcracker under the direction of Larry Long, with Civic Theatre of Indianapolis, Indianapolis Opera and the Cincinnati Opera. Upon moving back to Indianapolis in 1994, Julie started dancing with the Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre. She was able to tour with them on two occations to Latvia. At that time, Julie started teaching for her mother Sue and has been teaching ever since. Julie now resides in Jamestown, Indiana with her husband and three children Jacob, Grace and Amelia. Her two daughters take at the studio. Julie would like to thank Laurie and Sean for carrying on the studio so that her children will be able to experience such a positive and loving place to dance.
Rebecca Jones, Modern Director
Ballet, pointe, Jazz, Modern, Modern Repertoire, ADA Ensemble
Rebecca Jones received her BFA in Dance Performance from Butler University. She enjoyed her first career performing with Dance Kaleidoscope, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Repertory Ballet Company, and Princeton Ballet. Rebecca began her second career teaching professional workshops and classes in various forms of dance. She has taught Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary, Broadway, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, and Liturgical. Rebecca is also is the director of the ADA Ensemble. She is proud to be raising three wonderful children with her husband Shawn. Rebecca understands its a privilege to have been teaching at ADA for so long and finds it a joy to train the dancers of the next generation.
Emily Dyson received her BFA in Ballet Pedagogy from the University of Oklahoma, where she performed with Oklahoma Festival Ballet and Contemporary Dance Oklahoma. She began ballet training in Houston, TX with Gilbert Rome and Victoria Vittum and was later inspired by Austin Hartel to study modern. She trained with Paul Taylor Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, The Joffery, Washington School of Ballet, and Atlanta Ballet. Emily enjoys teaching around the city and passing forward her love of dance to younger students and she thanks her family and friends for their endless love and encouragement.
Preschool Creative, Pre-Ballet, Beginner I&II Ballet, Beginner, Elementary, & Teen Jazz
Melissa Ferise has been dancing since the age of 8, beginning with tap, jazz, and ballet from her mother in their in-home dance studio on the south side of Indianapolis, and gymnastics at the Baxter YMCA. Progressing to intensive ballet and modern dance study at the Jordan Academy of Dance, her love of entertaining grew into a passion for all disciplines of movement. As a young dancer, Melissa performed in the Butler University production of The Nutcracker twice, sang and danced in three different Footlight Musicals Young Artists Productions, danced in the '87 Pan American Games Opening Ceremonies, and at age 16 toured with Dance Kaleidoscope as part of the former holiday tradition The Magic of Christmas Love. She also participated in numerous local and regional competitions, earning Entertainer of the Day frequently, as well as being a Prelude Awards finalist in '87 and '88.
She continued her studies into college, earning a B.A. in Dance Pedagogy from Butler University in 1993. Melissa was a Pacemate for the Indiana Pacers '96-'97, '97-'98 seasons, in addition to being the department head of the Broad Ripple High School Dance Magnet, '97-'98, teaching all levels of ballet, jazz and modern. After taking a break from dance to pursue a masters course of study in Landscape Architecture at Ball State University, she returned to her first love, dance, and has been teaching ever since. Melissa and her husband, Adam, reside in Fishers and have twin boys, Riley and Gavin, and a daughter Cianna.
Timothy June is originally from Enfield, CT. His dance training began at New England Dance Conservatory. Timothy continued studies at Miami City Ballet, Boston Ballet, the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, the Martha Graham School and at Butler University where he received his BFA in Dance Performance. He has danced for Ballet Arkansas, Indianapolis Opera, and American Cabaret Theatre, as well as other guest artist appearances. Outside of DK, he has also had the privilege of performing works by choreographers such as Thaddues Davis, James Kudelka, Susan McGuire and George Balanchine to which he received coaching from Violette Verdy.
Marie Kuhns received her BFA from the University of Oklahoma in modern dance performance under the direction and guidance of Austin Hartel, while performing with Contemporary Dance Oklahoma. She grew up in Silver City, New Mexico, and trained at the Conservatory of Dance along with New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. She has had the opportunity of working with world-renowned choreographers such as Jessica Lang, Carla Maxwell, Kevin Iega Jeff, and Raimondo Rebeck. She is currently a trainee with Dance Kaleidoscope. She enjoys teaching dance and spreading the love of performing arts to different communities. She is forever grateful for the constant loving support of her friends and family.
Tap, Adult jazz
Sue began dancing and age 5, and her love of dance has continued for 40+ years. She has been an instructor for ADA since 1999, and loves sharing her passion with others. Sue has performed in many productions at the Indianapolis Civic Theatre. Her favorites roles include, Carmen; Sweet Charity, Minnie Faye; Hello Dolly, and Phyllis; 42nd Street. This year she was thrilled to make her debut at the American Cabaret Theatre in Victor/Victoria. Sue has also performed in many opening ceremonies, including the Pan Am Games, the World Gymnastics Championships, and Indiana Special Olympics. As a member of the All-Star Professional dance team, The Indy Blues, she had the honor of performing her own choreography in the 2004 Indiana "Circle of Lights Ceremonies." Sue and her husband, Lyle, live in Carmel with their 3 children; Christopher, Caroline and Claire.
Preschool Creative, Pre-ballet, Beginner I & II Ballet, Beginning Teen Ballet, Beginner & Elementary Jazz, Beginner, Intermediate, and Teen/Adult Hip Hop
Courtney has been dancing since she was 3 years old. She has been with the Academy of Dance Arts for a total of 14 years and has experience in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, Hip Hop, and Tap. At age 15 Courtney began demonstrating for various classes at ADA and at 16 she began teaching Hip Hop. She danced with the Gregory Hancock Dance Theater from 1998-2008 participating in the student production of The Nutcracker as well as numerous other GHDT productions. She is currently a Nursing student at IUPUI and will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in December of 2013. Courtney has a passion for both teaching and dance and hopes it will always be a part of her life
Shauna's life-long love for dance began at age 8 when she started studying ballet, tap, jazz, and musical theater at Performer's Edge. At 12, she joined the pre-professional ballet company, Central Indiana Dance Ensemble, and danced with them for 5 years. Shauna was awarded a full tuition scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in New York City at 17, and went on to perform at the New York City Center, Joyce Theater, and several other prestigious venues in NYC. Her student choreography was chosen to be performed in Philadelphia at the InHale performance series. Shauna was a company member of the Joffrey Ballet Touring Company, View Point Dance, and guested with Ballet X and several other companies.
Shauna moved back to Indiana in 2012 and started teaching at several local dance studios, and eventually became a Zumba and Bootcamp fitness instructor for LA Fitness, as well as a choreographer for CYT and Zionsville Middle School show choir. Shauna taught at the Academy of Dance Arts 2016-2017 but left when her husband's job moved them to Orlando for 8 months. She is so thrilled to be back in Indiana!
Shauna is also working with Kids Dance Outreach, a program aimed at enriching the lives of inner-city elementary students. She is currently an instructor at several dance academies in the greater northern Indianapolis area, and strives to pull out personal excellence from every student she works with. Shauna's passion is to equip students with technique, artistry, confidence, and other life tools that her students will use to further their dance careers and any other goals they aspire to in life! Shauna is so happy to be back and re-joining the Academy of Dance Arts faculty!
Manuel Valdes began gymnastics training at the age of five in Dallas, TX and continued as a competitive gymnast for 12 years. He began dancing at Dallas Black Dance Theater and went on to receive his BFA of Modern Dance Performance from the University of Oklahoma under the direction of Austin Hartel and Roxanne Lyst. While performing with Contemporary Dance Oklahoma he not only had the pleasure of performing works by his professors, but also Ilya Kozadayev, Sonia Dawkins, Raimondo Rebeck, Jose Limón, and Alvin Ailey. Manuel has attended intensives with Paul Taylor American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, BODYTRAFFIC and SALT.