Miss Julie with her dog Curley.

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 and many, many more!


Michael Lemanski

Co-Owner, 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.


Morgan Lansky

Choreographer & Instructor

Morgan is an alumni of JAOD, began dancing at the age of three here. She graduated from Wayne State University in 2017 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While at Wayne, Morgan performed with their three performance companies under the direction of Meg Paul. She has also performed in pieces and taken instruction under Jen Freeman, Doug Verone, Dwight Rhonden, Stefanie Battent-Bland, and many others. Morgan has continued to expand her dance education and choreographic experiences while teaching full time at JAOD where she works hard with our elite team and our recreational program! You can find her teaching technique, cleaning our guest pieces, and doing some choreography of her own!


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.


Jill Cassidy


Jill Cassidyis a professional dancer, choreographer, certified Xtend Barre and TRX instructor and founder of Motor City Choreography Collective. Jill’s professional career has included stage, film and television credits. Her award winning choreography can be seen locally all over the Metro Detroit area, nationally and internationally. On top of studio and company work, Jill choreographs for high school and college dance teams and has been an adjunct Professor of Dance at Oakland University and now currently at Wayne State University. Jill was the choreographer for the television series The Wannabes airing on Starz Family. She works with Detroit casinos, MGM Detroit and Motor City Casino, and judges for Dance Force Xpress competitions. Jill has a BA Degree in Communications from Oakland University.


Alyssa Cebulski


Alyssa Cebulski, from Michigan, joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in NYC in 2016 and has performed in Chronicle, Maple Leaf Rag, Diversion of Angels and Primitive Mysteries. Outside from her work with Graham she has performed works by Dwight Rhoden, Aszure Barton, Kate Skarpetowska, Larry Keigwin, and others. Alyssa was a member of Graham 2 and has a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College.


Shauna Shea


Shauna graduated from Wayne State University Summa Cum Laude, receiving a BFA in dance. In her two last years of college, Shauna was a member of WSU’s Dance Workshop. Before her studies at WSU, she trained at Ballet Theatre of Toledo and Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Shauna has been a company member for Lexington Ballet, ArtLabJ, and MoveWorks. She has been blessed to work with many world-renowned artists such as Dwight Rhoden, Nicholas Leichter, Meg Paul, Jeffrey Rebudal, Duncan Cooper, Ron De Jesus, Alan Obuzor, Keith Lee, Terrence Orr, Gregory Hancock, Nycole Ray, Kate Hutter, Samantha Shelton, Brain McSween, Nathan Trice, and Joori Jung. Shauna is currently a company member with Ballet Edge Detroit, enjoys sharing her love for ballet with her students, and has fun creating works of her own.


Meredith Gagnier


Meredith Gagnier first came to Juliana’s as a student in middle school. She went on to study dance at Western Michigan University and became a certified ballroom dance instructor after graduation. Some career highlights include numerous awards at regional and national ballroom dance competitions and collaborating with Fabian Sanchez from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars to choreograph and dance in a music video staring Recording Artist Sean Forbes and Academy Award Winning Actress Marlee Matlin.


Brandon Koepsell


Brandon Koepsell is a Detroit native and graduate of the Walnut Hill School in Natick, MA. After graduation in 2005, Brandon spent time performing with “Companie Coline” in Istre, France, Rapture Dance Project and Ron DeJesus Dance in Chicago. Brandon has been a guest performer and choreographer with several college programs including the University of Michigan, Eastern Michigan University, Oakland University, Alma College and Wayne State University. He has appeared with the Michigan Opera Theater in the productions of “ Aida” and “The Merry Widow”. He was the choreographic assistant on the set of Disney’s “Oz, the Great and Powerful” and a credited dancer in “A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas”. In collaboration with Jaclyn Walsh, Brandon has presented work at the Boston Contemporary Dance Festival in 2015 and 2018 and at Green Box Arts Festival in Green Mountain Falls, CO in 2019 as part of Larry Keigwin’s “Dynamic Duets”. Brandon has served as a faculty member with the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, the Southern Association of Dance Masters and as a faculty member in the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University in Detroit. He is a current dancer with Take Root dance company and a company instructor for Eisenhower Dance Detroit. Brandon also has been teaching weekly Dance for Parkinson’s classes hosted at the Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit to individuals afflicted by Parkinson’s disease for the past 3 years.


Alysa Komisarz


Alysa is an alumni of JAOD in both the competitive and recreational programs having studied tap, jazz and ballet. Additionally Alysa is a former cheerleader, a MHSAA & USASF competitive cheer coach, gymnastics coach and health coach! Alysa has been married to her husband Ken for 20 years with 2 teenage sons, Kendrick & Zach.


Samantha Shelton


Samantha Shelton received training from the Joffrey Ballet in New York, studied with Rose Marie Floyd in Michigan, and trained with Anita Young (Royal Ballet) and at the Cecchetti International program in England. Recently, she became part of the American Ballet Theatre Board of Examiners, assessing dancers for the ABT National Training Curriculum. Samantha's teaching spans institutions like Houston Ballet, Duke University, and American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive.

With a rich performance background, she has held roles in both classical and contemporary ballets and partnered with accomplished artists. Samantha holds an M.F.A in Dance from the University of Michigan and has engaged in graduate studies at New York University in Performing Arts Administration. She has contributed to education as a professor at institutions like Belhaven University and holds certification through the American Ballet Theatre National Curriculum Training Program.


Jordan Terzo


Jordan Terzo has been dancing for over 23 years and was an instructor at Miss Natales Dance Centre and La Danse Workshop both located in Rochester, NY. Over the years, she has attended many dance intensive workshops and competed in various dance competitions in her high school and college career. Jordan graduated from The College at Brockport with a Bachelor of Science degree in Dance and Kinesiology in 2019. Her studies focused on choreography, performance and a variety of modern techniques. While attending Brockport, she studied under company members from the Doug Varone, Cameron McKinney, and Trisha Brown Dance Companies. Jordan was also a member of Brockports Dance Team. Jordan just recently graduated with her Masters Degree in Dance Movement Therapy with a concentration in Couple Family Therapy. She currently works as a Dance/Movement Therapist in Auburn Hill. Jordan excels in creating an inclusive dance room and is dedicated to developing quality relationships with her dancers.


Jessica G Thomas


Jessica G Thomas is a native of Detroit, MI. She obtained a M.F.A in Dance from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Thomas also received a B.F.A in Dance from Wright State University. Thomas currently instructs classical ballet for Wayne State University. Thomas performed in American Ballet Theater’s Sleeping Beauty as Ariana during its run at the Michigan Opera Theatre. She has performed extensively throughout New York City, NY; Dayton, OH; and Detroit, MI for companies such as Dayton Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Ballet International, Second Avenue Dance Company, Naomi Goldberg Haas, and Ohio Dance Theater. Thomas’ choreographic works have received numerous awards throughout the Midwest and East Coast. Thomas is a professional educator, choreographer and performer.


Jacob Reves


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!

Adjunct Faculty

2023-2024 Season