MEET OUR

TEAM OF WIZARDS

Staff-Julie

Juliana Pirpinelli

Owner & Director

Miss Julie, is the Owner and Director of Juliana’s Academy of Dance and has been teaching for nearly 40 years specializing in tap, jazz and lyrical. Her credits include judging national dance competitions, President – Dance Masters of Michigan, countless awards for choreography and teaching, the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade and a $100,000 winner Star Search – Vegas. Julie’s students have appeared on Broadway, television and national tours including The Radio City Christmas Spectacular, Billy Elliot, and West Side Story.

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Michael Lemanski

Elite Choreographer & Instructor

Mr. Mike has been at JAOD for over 15 years and is honored and privileged to be able to work with such amazing Faculty, Students and Parents. Michael has had the pleasure of working with such amazing artists as Enrique Iglesias, Shaggy, Vanessa Carleton, Jon Bon Jovi, Christina Milan, and Patti Labelle. Michael was the assistant choreographer for three Orange Bowl Halftime shows as well as the Gator Bowl halftime show. Michael was the head choreographer for the Champs Sports Bowl Halftime show, the Hall Of Fame Game for the NFL, the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl Halftime show, the Halftime show at the Alamo Bowl and the 2013 BCS championship game. As a performer, Michael was in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for five years, danced for Disney Productions as well as played and sang the role of Aladdin. Michael has also done numerous shows, industrials, and television commercials for Chrysler, Nike, MGM Detroit, Ceasars Windsor, and Ford Motor Company. Michael has taught for Dance Makers Inc, State Dance Championships, Conquest Dance Convention, ADA, DEA, Jazz On Tap, and DMA.

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Marcy Rathgeb

Instructor

Miss Marcy is a dance professional who had performed, choreographed, technically facilitated and taught at JAOD since 1980. Her teaching career began as a student
teacher at LaVerne Dance Studio in Clawson, MI and eventually operated her own studio. Her experience includes numbers of awards in U.S. Championship Ballroom Dancing, Tap & Jazz. Choreographer for children’s theater, competition figure skating, dance teams and staged production numbers and has presented many Tap Technique workshops for summer dance camps. Additionally, Marcy has been associated with D.M.M., D.M.A. and P.D.E. Sometimes referred to as the “warden” of Mrs. Marcy’s “House of Corrections” she continues her passion for dance through her teaching skills and her dedication to young dancers.

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Amanda Knight

Choreographer & Instructor

Miss Amanda is a third generation dancer. She grew up dancing at JAOD under the instruction of Juliana Pirpinelli and has taught dance since 1998. Amanda’s love for dance has motivated her to lead all types and styles of dance so she can teach others, no matter your age, anyone can learn. Amanda has performed with Enrique Iglesias, Boyz II Men & Mariah Carey. She teaches all her students to love what they do and do what they love. Amanda’s passion, drive, and love for dance shine through in
everything she does.

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Nicole Redko

Choreographer & Instructor

Nicole is an alumni of JAOD. She began dancing here at the age of 4, and was part of the elite competition team. Currently, she is a psychology major at Oakland University, with minors in dance and Spanish. She has performed in various halftime performances for the Lions and Pistons, including dancing with Flo Rida, Robin S, and Jesse McCartney, along with dancing at Radio City Music Hall with the Rockette’s as part of a summer intensive.

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Morgan Lansky

Choreographer & Instructor

Morgan is an alumni of JAOD, began dancing at the age of three here. She is currently a dance major at Wayne State University working toward a Bachelor of Fine Arts. While attending Wayne she has been apart of two performing companies, in which she tours to local schools to perform for the students. Morgan performed with the Tremaine Dance Conventions in the company for five years, in which during she danced for Paula Abdul. Morgan has performed in several Lions Thanksgiving halftime shows with artists Kid Rock, Jessie McCartney, and The Goo Goo Dolls. Morgan enjoys teaching our little JAOD kids!

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Alyssa Iselli

Choreographer & Instructor

Alyssa trained at Juliana’s Academy of Dance in all styles of dance and is currently a member of the Detroit Pistons Dance team. After high school, Alyssa moved to California and performed in “Choreographer’s Carnival” for both Matt Tseng and Ricky Palomino. Alyssa has appeared on television shows such as “Raising Asia” and “Joan And Melissa: Joan Knows Best?” and performed in the Joffrey Ballet’s Nutcracker for three seasons. Alyssa can be seen in “Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2” and “Into The Storm.” Alyssa worked on Matt Cady’s “It’s About Robots, And Humans, And The Meaning Of Life” and Ricky Palomino’s “Daylight Come.” and has assisted choreographers Brooke Pierotti, Caroline Lewis Jones, Melody Lacayanga, Chris Jacobsen, Matt Cady, Ricky Palomino, JT Horenstein, and Justin Giles.

Staff-Kevin

Kevin Belanger

Ballet

Kevin is originally from Sterling Heights and received his formal dance training from the Virginia School of the Arts, in Lynchburg, Virginia, studying under Petrus Bosmon, a former principal dancer with the Royal Ballet. Kevin went on to dance professionally for ten years, with The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Ballet San Jose, American Repertory Ballet, and the Minnesota Ballet. Kevin has taught extensively for the past 12 years across the country, including Southold Dance Theatre in South Bend, Indiana, the Minnesota Ballet School in Duluth, Minnesota, and the Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Kevin has choreographed many works in ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary, including a full production of “The Nutcracker”, and several musical productions including “Bat Boy”, “Grease” and “Beauty and the Beast”.

Jo Ann Cusmano

Ballet

JoAnn Cusmano holds a BFA in Dance/Theatre and a MA in Administration from Marygrove College in Detroit. In addition, she completed post-degree studies at Goldsmith College and the Laban Dance Centre in London, England and is certified at the Advanced Level in Labanotation and trained in Movement Analysis and Effort-Shape as well as Dance Therapy. Ms. Cusmano served at Marygrove College in numerous roles and recently retired with the honored title Vice President Emeritus. JoAnn began her dance training at the early age of three, as a professional dancer/actress, Jo Ann performed with Detroit City Ballet Company, Michigan Ballet Theatre, Dance Detroit, Michigan Opera Theatre, Max Davey Singers and Dancers, University of Detroit Theatre, Macomb College Barn Theatre, The Detroit Symphony Orchestra and many community theatres. She currently teaches ballet at several local dance studios; serves as the ballet instructor and children’s dance consultant at Mary Skiba School of Dance in Clinton Township, MI; is an instructor of classical ballet at Rhythm and Jump Dance Studio in St. Clair Shores, MI, and at Juliana’s Academy of Dance.  Since 2000, she has held the position as Children’s Rehearsal Director for the Michigan Opera Theatre and was recently selected to serve as the local Ballet Master/Rehearsal Director for American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty at the Detroit Opera House.

Staff-Jacob

Jacob Reves

Ballroom

Jacob started his dance career at the age of 9 in former Czechoslovakia and by the age of 16 he achieved an “A Category” which is the highest category in Ballroom and Latin dance and qualifies him to represent his country of origin. By 18 years old he moved to the United States and turned professional, coached amateurs and professionals. Jacob has been a winner of many European Championships throughout his career. He is proficient in both American and International styles of dance – American Smooth, American Rhythm, International Modern and International Latin. Jacob enjoys working with JAOD as a ballroom coach, instructor and detail clean-up coach for both students and adults. He enjoys his time at the studio and we adore him!

Staff-Lisa

Lisa Krantz

Business Manager

Lisa is a JAOD alumni dancing, performing and instructing along with a Bachelor’s of Science in Human Resource Development and Communications from Oakland University. Lisa is the Business Manager for Juliana’s as well as a certified fitness instructor. Lisa loves being able to integrate her business and marketing background at the dance academy and enjoys being part of such a wonderfully successful studio.

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Chris Ritacca

Office Assistant

Chris is a proud parent of 2 successful competition dancers (Alyssa & Annelise) and proud grandma as well! Chris loves dogs, especially her fur babies. She’s been happily married for over 25 years, having lived throughout the US and in 3 countries; Belgium, Canada, and the US. We are excited to have Chris working at Juliana’s, she is very knowledgeable about the dance industry and is always willing to help and make things easy for customers!

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Joanne Attenberger

Office Assistant

Every Wednesday Joanne is at the front desk answering phones and keeping the office ship afloat.

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Corey "Mission" Whitfield

Hip Hop

When Corey isn't traveling to dance/perform/flip his way through life with the Harlem Globetrotters - he's bringing his skillz and energetic spirit to Hip Hop at JAOD.

Staff-Chrissie

Chrissie Jostock

Instructor

Clinical Therapist, Counselor and College Instructor, Miss Chrissie is happy to continue working at Juliana's to fuel her talent and passion for dance teaching the next generation who share her love of performing.

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Lea Mitchell

Instructor

Trying to summarize Lea is like trying to bottle a rainbow. Lea may spend her time in the classroom with young children, but it's truly her heart that is young with a joy and love of life and dance.

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Jasmine Floyd

Assistant

Jasmine is a recent graduate of JAOD's program. You may see her lending a helping hand around the studio - a Jack of all trades if you will.

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Paul Columbo

Acro

Paul Columbo brings high energy to acro classes, with chants of encouragement as our dancers add acro skills to their arsenal of ticks!

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Paul Vance

Physical Fitness/Trainer

Why have one Paul, when you could have two? Paul Vance works with our elite dancers every week to keep everyone in tip-top condition!