All ATB staff is concussion certified and background checked!
Owner and Artistic Director Susan Barr has been a dance instructor for 23 years. She is a member of Dance Masters of America and Dance Masters of Ohio. Susan holds certification in tap, ballet, and jazz as recognized through Dance Masters of America.Read More
- Allie Beres
Bio coming soon!
- Amanda Recko
Amanda was born and raised right here in the Cleveland area and now resides in Avon, Ohio. Amanda has been with Above the Barre since 2005 and has 30 plus years’ experience and training under her belt in dance. Amanda attended both Kent State and University of Toledo where she studied and majored in Dance. She was a member of KSU Dance Flash Force and Captain of the Toledo Rockettes and is currently a proud member of DMA Chapter #16 and Ohio Dance Masters. She also studied and assisted at Broadway Dance Center in New York City and at The Edge in LA. Amanda has performed as a dancer, singer and a magician’s assistant throughout the U.S. and abroad; also spending six summers and 8 fall seasons performing at Cedar Point Amusement Park. You can see her cutting edge, award-winning work in theaters, amusement parks and local studios throughout North America. Her teaching accolades include numerous regional and nation competitive Choreography & Technique Awards. Just some of her many awards for her performances include “Best Female Performer” IAPPA 2005-2007 and “Best Actress in a Musical” by The Scene. All of Amanda’s students are taught to practice what you perform, be confident, be committed, and of course have fun.
- Ana Lobé
Ana started teaching here at Above the Barre back in 2012; however, she over 30 years of professional dance experience. Ana was trained and graduated from the National Ballet School in Havana, Cuba. She rose through the ranks with Ballet Nacional de Cube and danced in all international Ballet Festivals from 1982-1990 as well as touring internationally to all continents. Lobe placed as a finalist in the international Competitions of Varna, Bulgaria 1988 and IBC, Jackson 1990. She was featured in the “International Ballet Competition” PBS documentary in the same year. Consequently, Ivan Nagy invited her to join English National Ballet as a Principal Dancer; a turning point in her life. Upon her return to America, she joined Ballet Mississippi where choreographer Luc de Lairess created two ballets for her and was partnered by Fernando Bujones in Paquita. Later, Denis Nahat brought her to Cleveland San Jose Ballet; dancing in all lead roles. Ana was praised for her strong technique, artistry and innate musicality. Mr. Nahat tailored the role of “Anita” for her in his critically acclaimed “Blue Suede Shoes”, broadcasted by PBS in 1997. In 2000, Ana received a Commendation from Mayor Ron Gonzalez in San Jose, CA. Dance Institute of the University of Akron awarded the “2003 Outstanding Teacher Award” in recognition of her excellence in dance education. She has taught at various summer intensives around the country, such as the International Ballet Competition Dance Program 2015 in Jackson, MS; NextGeneration Ballet in Tampa, FL; International Ballet Academy in Cary, NC; and Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet in Jackson, MS. In 2006 Ana was licensed as a Gyrotonic Trainer and served from 2008-2012 as the Artistic Director for the Great Lakes Youth Ballet. Along with teaching her at ATB, she is also the Founder, Owner and Director of “ALBA” or Ana Lobe Ballet Academy. Always having her student’s best interest, she always gives particular attention to the physical and artistic development in order for them to succeed.
- Ashley Barr
Bio coming soon!
- Brittany Sprung
Currently in Hawaii, and performing on a cruise line, Brittany, originally from Upstate New York and a part of the Above the Barre family since 2015 as an instructor of dance, acrobatics and aerial arts, began her training at the Merritt Dance Center under Dance Masters of America Lifetime Members Marlene and Mara Merritt. She continued her education at the University at Buffalo, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Art in Dance Performance and Choreography as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics. While a UB, Brittany trained inder Thomas Ralabate, Jon Lehrer and Kerry Ring, was a member of the Zodiaque Dance Company and Zodiaque Dance Ensemble, choreographed for student and departmental showcases, and performed at Performa ’09 in New York City with Saya Woolfalk. She has also studied with Doug Varone & Dancers, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, Urban Bush Women, HT Chen & Dancers, Louisville Turners Circus, Suspend Louisville, Metro Movement Arts and held the title of Miss Dance of Western New York, DMA Chapter 8 in 2010 and 2012. Brittany has had a prosperous performance career as a dancer, aerialist, and tumbler with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line, Feld Entertainment, Disney Live., Cedar Point Amusement Park, Dorney Park, The Backstreet Boys and mostly recently On the Fly Productions, taking her to 5 continents and 28 countries. Her television credits include the Orange Bowl Parade, Pro Bowl Half Time show, commercials and TruTV’s Fake Off Season 2. She has been both a show captain and dance captain for various productions, the aerial captain for Luminosity at cedar Point, and a principal swing with Disney Live. Also has judged for Starpower Talent, onstage America, and Dance masters of America; and currently assists On the Fly Productions as the company manager.Read More
We can't wait for her to be back at Above the Barre!
- Carla Pizzola
Carla joined us here at Above the Barre in 2015 teaching Jazz Lyrical Ballet and Acro. Carla started dancing when she was just three years old and has over 25 years’ experience with competitive dance and performing. While attending Point Park College, she earned her degree in Dance with a concentration on Ballet and Jazz. Carla was also a member of the Pittsburgh Tap Ensemble and performed in multiple shows including “The Nutcracker” with the Ohio Ballet Theater and “The Jazz Nutcracker” with PoPC and spring show cases. Due to her love of dance and commitment, she has been awarded numerous scholarships and awards for dance and choreography. Here at ATB, Carla fell in love with teaching due to watching her students grow and excel all while having a smile on their faces, “I love watching that lightbulb go off when they get something right; and then to watch them live their dreams while dancing on cruise-lines, college dance teams and even going pro.” Not only is Carla a great asset here at ATB as a dance instructor, but she also is a talented hair stylist in Independence, OH. When she’s not at the dance studio or salon, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children where they live in Westlake.
- Carlin Dixon
Above the Barre’s Hip Hop, Boy’s Next, and Adult Hip Hop classes has the pleasure of having Carlin be the instructor since 2014. Carlin has achieved many accomplishments working with different organizations, the performing arts and helping others. At Berea Mid Park High School, he was a part of the Theater program, Concert Choir, Key Club, program director for the Annual Black History Celebration and the peer mediation program. In just his first year of college at Write State University, Carlin became Vice President of his freshman class for the Black Student Union and led many events throughout the year including a suicide prevention event. He was a part of an award-winning dance group and was voted to be Chaplian for two Christian organizations on campus, one being a Gospel choir. At his home church, and many other in Cleveland, Carlin has choreographed and coordinated dance ministries, including his own Team Victory and for the guys Dance Too Program with the Cleveland Ballet. With life lessons and excellent dance moves, his teaching style is very inspiring to those in his class and is “honored to be part of the ATB family.”
- Dana Decker
Dana started instructing dance here the summer of 2013 as a guest teacher for acro camps. In the fall of 2016 she came on staff as an official acro teacher. Dana started like most little girls, at the age of 3 and has been involved ever since! She went on to teach in a studio atmosphere over the last 15 years. Her choreography and students have been recognized at a regional and national level. Dana continued her dance education at BDC as well as Lou Conte in Chicago. Many of her students went on to perform professionally and teach at a professional level.
"Plain and simple, I love sharing my talents with kids. I enjoy seeing the progress they make."
Dana believes the concentration on ballet and technique is what makes ATB so special. The plan for these dancers is directed in a way that truly allows them to succeed! When she is not at the studio she is spending time with her 3 boys. Everyone asks her when she will be having a girl to dance and it's simply not happening. Dance is a perfect fit for Dana and she continues to excel in her passion.
- Denise Bryant
Denise Bryant has over 42 years of teaching experience. Denise has danced both on stage and on television. For 24 years she owned and operated the Denise Bryant Studio of Dance in Tallmadge. Denise is now happy to be sharing her knowledge of dance with several students in various locations. She is currently serving as President of Ohio Dance Masters and is also a member of Dance Masters of America, and the Cecchetti Council of America (where she serves as Scholarship Chairperson). Denise choreographed Bye, Bye Birdie for Tallmadge High School and Fiddler On the Roof, Oliver, My Fair Lady and The Wizard of Oz for The Dynamics, an intergenerational theater group in Tallmadge. Denise has taught Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Pointe, Acro, Modern and Lyrical. She participates in workshops and master classes to continue learning about this living art we call Dance.
- Drew Burgess
Millersburg, Ohio native, Drew made his industry debut on Live with Regis during Amazing Kids Week. Upon relocating to California, he trained at L.A.’s best studios including EDGE, Millennium, Fusion, PAC Annex. Involved in many facets of the dance and entertainment industry, he is highly sought after as a performer, choreographer, and master teacher. Drew can be seen on faculty and judging panels for NexStar, Showbiz Xtreme, American Dance Awards, Dance Masters of America and Dance Educators of America. A former competitor himself, Drew’s titles include Jr. Mr. Dance of America and Mr. Dance of America. Drew’s passion for dance circles the globe year-round. His performance career highlights include: GMC, Taylor Swift, and the World Ballet Stars Gala. Drew has helped students achieve awards such as: Teen Miss Dance of Arizona, Miss Arizona’s Outstanding Teen, Miss Dance of Ohio and Mr. Dance of America. His choreographic achievements include the Sherry Gold Memorial Scholarship and numerous overalls, specials, & highest adjudication awards. Drew is going into his third season, on staff, with Above the Barre Dance Company. He also tours extensively with Rasta Thomas’ Bad Boys of Dance in, both, "ROCK the Ballet 2" and "Romeo & Juliet".
- Emily Kaiser
Emily has been a great addition to the Above the Barre family since 2014, but has been teaching dance since 2003 including master classes around the Midwest. Her impressive resume starts in high school and college where she performed in many shows including “Footloose”, “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”, “Grease”, and played Peep Bo in the opera “The Mikado.” At Slippery Rock University, Emily earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education with an emphasis on Vocal performance. She also was the director for Jayson Michaels’ Energy Source Dance Association, a national company that travels around the United States offering master classes, workshops, and intensives in all styles of dance as well as music and voice. The Energy Source focused on the importance of technique and versatility that starts at the age of 3 and goes up through the professional level. Emily taught all styles of dance at JMESDA, including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and Michaels’ Technique to all age levels. After dancing at Mary Kay Manning Dance Studio, Emily became an assistant dance teacher who quickly got her own dance classes. She started a Show Choir program, directed and organized summer camps, became the lead preschool teacher and taught many disciplines of dance to many age groups. In addition to dance, Emily is also a music teacher and director at St. Dominic School in Shaker Heights as well as the K-2 Spanish teacher.
- Erianna Raib-Ptichkin
Eri Raib-Ptichkin is a well-trained and experienced dance teacher from the Youngstown, Ohio area. In addition to over twenty years of dance training, Ms. Eri has studied extensively at the collegiate level, receiving both a B.A. and B.S from Youngstown State University. As an active member of of Ohio Dance Masters and Dance Masters of America, she continues to teach the art of dance in local high schools, private studios, and state universities. Ms. Eri joined the ATB family in 2013, and looks forward to sharing another year on the dance floor with the students and staff of Above The Barre!
- Erika Hunt
Erika, Northeast Ohio native, has been a ballet and pointe instructor here at Above the Barre since 2011. She began her training in 1990 at the University of Akron Dance Institute. While there, Erika had the pleasure of working with some very talented instructors including, Tatyana and Roman Mazur, Richard Dickinson, Jane Startzman, Lana Carroll, Andrew Carroll, Ana Lobe, MaryAnn Black, Amy Miller and Christina Foisie. Erika supplemented her early training with summer studies at both Pittsburgh Ballet Theater and Jennifer Muller/The Works. Erika continued her education at the University of Akron and graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelors Degree of Fine Arts in 2008. Erika has performed in multiple professional and pre-professional capacities throughout Northeast Ohio including Ohio Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, University of Akron Dance Company and appearances regionally as a guest artist. Erika’s training and experience shows through to her students, providing them with the correct tools to succeed in dance.
- Grace Kelly
Grace Kelly has been a member of Above The Barre's Dance Company for almost 15 years! She is a senior at Olmsted Falls High School with plans to graduate and attend Kent State University to pursue a degree in Managerial Marketing. Grace started off with assisting a variety of classes here and now teaches acrobatics weekly. Along with dancing, Grace is also a Olmsted Falls Varsity and Competitive cheerleader!
- Holly Kuhn
Holly, resident of Amherst, has been teaching Competitive Dance, Rising Stars, and Kids Ignite Jazz here at Above the Barre since 2011. Holly has been involved professionally in dance for over 25 years, including owning her own dance studio in Warren, OH for 10 years. During those years, her students excelled on receiving many scholarships/titles and made cheerleading squad for the Buffalo Bills’, Atlanta Falcons’ and or own Cleveland Cavaliers, just to name a few. Upon closing of her studio, Holly traveled with various competition/convention tours teaching and judging across the US. Now living here in Ohio with her husband and four children, she has been a great asset to ATB. Holly feels the same about us, “The quality of dance that we put out here is just awesome. I’m proud to be a part of it.”
- Janae Cunningham
Bio coming soon!
- Jim Becker
Jazz Technique Instructor at Above the Barre since 2015, Jim is a professional choreographer and fitness trainer from New York City with over 15 years’ experience. Certified by American Ballet Theatre in New York, Jim studied Theatre and Dance at Marymount Manhattan College. He recently completed a tenure at Harlem School of the Arts where he was the premier Tap teacher; also teaching ballet, jazz, partnering, musical theatre and fitness. Performance credits include Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, and Dance Captain with Disney Cruise Line. Jim’s National Tours include Barry Manilow’s Copacabana, Big River, and backup vocals with Reba McIntire. While in the NYC Opera, he worked on La Boheme, Macbeth, and Tournedot. Some other noteworthy performances include Johnny Baseball workshop, Broadway Bares, LSnB dance Co., The Apollo Theatre, Carousel, The House of Bernarda Alba. Here in Ohio, Jim has worked on Guys & Dolls, The Producers, Miss Saigon, Fiddler On The Roof, All Shook Up, Disney’s Hercules the Musical, 42d Street. Beauty and the Beast, and Disney World’s Kid of the Kingdom Dancer. Being a prod member of Actors’ Equity Association, Jim’s choreographic credits include Disney’s Lion King Kids Premier, Tom Jones the Musical, Gilbert & Sullivan’s Ruddigore, (international tour), Ballet Arts Christmas Spectacular NYC. Cleveland credits are with Baldwin Wallace University, Cassidy Theatre, Strongsville High School and the Mustang Express, Berea High School, Bally Total Fitness and The Cleveland Force Dance Team. Jim loves teaching here at Above the Barre and giving back to his community because it is his goal to help our students achieve greatness by demanding a certain level of excellence and maximum potential, “ Seeing a students’ joy after completing their first pirouette is a great motivating factor!” Fun fact about Jim, he has a twin sister and comes from a long line of educators.
- Julie Novak
Bio coming soon!
- Katie Lyons
Katie has been a part of the Above the Barre family for a long time. She started dancing in 1998 and started as a dance instructor here in 2011 teaching tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, lyrical and contemporary dance. Katie is certified in tap, jazz, and ballet through Dance Masters of America and Ohio Dance Masters; as well as certifications through Cecchetti Council of America. She has participated in Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School and the Cecchetti Council of Americas International Summer School as a student and a counselor. Katie is a great asset to ATB due to her love of teaching and sharing her passion of dance with her students, “I love watching them learn new things, practice with them, and perfect them.” Even though she is busy here teaching, Katie recently received her Bachelor’s degree in Middle School Education. When she is able to get some free time, Katie enjoys babysitting, watching TV, reading, drawing, but most of all being a part of the Above the Barre family and “getting to work with such awesome people.”
- Kristin Daniel
Kristin Daniel, an accomplished artist in her own right, became enamored with performing at a very young age. Knowing she wanted to pursue her passion for the arts, she moved to Los Angeles after graduating from The University of Louisiana-Lafayette in Business Administration to work as a professional dancer. Working between Los Angeles and New Orleans, Kristin earned several credits, including: GLEE, Grey’s Anatomy, Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” music video, and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. She worked as Choreographer for ABC’s The Astronaut Wives Club and Assistant to choreographers Tyce Diorio and Lindsay Nelko on the hit show “So You Think You Can Dance?”. In addition to traveling the country Choreographing, conducting Master Classes, and judging
competitions, Kristin is now in her third year of owning her own business, Distinction Arts Co., which hosts her annual dance intensive & charity organization fundraiser: Distinction Dance Intensive. constantly immersing herself into her craft, she is thrilled and excited to continue furthering her career as an artistic force in the industry.
- Lindsey Oates
Miss Lindsey is so excited to be a new instructor at Above the Barre! She has been working with ATB for the short time of only two months and is already so impressed with our students and spirit! Before joining she was a dance instructor for five years and a head choreographer at the studio she also trained at called Shannon's Studio II in Waverly, Ohio. At Shannon's Miss Lindsey participated on the competition dance team, and was awarded many top honors for both her own performances and choreographed pieces. She was awarded over 7 titles and national overalls, and also had the pleasure of learning about the studio's business and being under the supervision of one of the greatest dance mentors she has ever had, Miss Shannon Hall. Trained and certified to teach in all dance styles, but is most comfortable teaching in jazz, contemporary and especially tap. In tap dance, Miss Lindsey has had the great honor to be a part of the Tap Music Project Winter Intensive in New York City with Sarah Reich. At this workshop she learned about the art of tap dance as instrument and how to accompany in jazz music. This was a competitive and professional experience. Besides these honors, Miss Lindsey's tap dance choreography has won many national competition awards, and has continued to be her favorite style of dance both to teach and perform. She loves teaching because she gets to see moments of magic in students where dance makes sense to them as a way to express themselves. So far, her favorite thing about ATB is how welcoming the staff has been to her arrival, and how open her new students have been to her as a teacher! As her full time job, Miss Lindsey is also a Special Educator in the Cleveland Metro School District. She loves teaching in academia as well, which is where you can find her if she's not at ATB. In any free time she has, she loves to day dream about cute frogs and drink lots of coffee. She also enjoys painting, reading and writing stories. Thanks for being a part of my dance adventure!
- Lori Simplican
Not only has Ms. Lori been apart of the ATB Family since August 2016, she is also a Teaching Artist for Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio; ballroom dancing throughout the Cleveland area. Ms. Lori grew up studying jazz dance from the renowned teacher/choreographer Dee Hillier. Lori preformed locally in theaters as a member of the Dee Hillier Dance Company where she was a part of the Lighting of Public Square Show and the Opening of the remodeled Allen Theater. . Her teaching career spans over two decades throughout the Cleveland area. Lori was on the faculty and co-consort of the Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater, along with teaching at a number of local studios and choreographed for many local theaters. She also worked with the late Joan Sidor at Independence City School District, creating their musical programs, as well as studied with some of the very best in ballet, tap and modern dance. Lori is always continuing her education by attending classes and dance conventions to stay current with the latest trends in dance.
- Monica Olejko
Monica, known to the Above the Barre family as “Miss Mo” has been teaching dance for over 40 years and has been with us at ATB since 2007. With training in tap, ballet, jazz and ethnic dancing, Miss Mo has been choreographing musicals for all ages from preschool to high school in professional theatres for over 30 years. She also studied in New York with Wayne Ciliento, Onna White, Tommy Tune, Alvin Ailey and Graziela Daniele; also including the study of African movement and dance while in Zimbabwe, Africa while performing for the Harare International Arts Festival. She also choreographed the Olympic Diving and Acrobatic show at Sea World. This award winning performer continues to choreograph and direct theatre right here in Ohio. Miss Mo keeps busy and is a voice-over artist for American Greetings and Little Tyke Toys. When Miss Mo isn’t dancing or directing, she loves to spend time with her grandchildren, “They are the reason I was born.”
- Nina Lupica
Nina first joined the Above the Barre family in August of 2016. She started her education in dance at the age of just 2 years old after watching neighborhood friends dancing outside. Trying to mimic what they were doing, she begged her parents for classes. Ms. Nina trained strictly in Cecchetti Ballet as well as jazz, tap and lyrical. She took classes and attended conventions from well known choreographers and dancers such as Brian Friedman, Mia Micheals, Francisco Gella and many others. Just one of her many accomplishments in dance was tapping alongside Sarah Savelli, Ayodele Casel and Savion Glover for a holiday performance in New York City. Nina’s love for teaching starts all with the kids; instructing them on how to grow in their dance and also into respectable young adults. What she enjoys most about teaching here at ATB are the kids technique classes where they practice future performances; she loves teaching these classes as much as she enjoys watching them. Fun fact about Nina, she was born with a full head of black hair and even had her first haircut at just 4 months old.
- Rachel Magliola
Dance Manager Rachel has been a part of the Above the Barre family since 2007 and is responsible for managing and setting the direction of the preschool and developmental programs. She instructs dance from Preschool Dance to Teen Dance and much more in between. Coming from a family of dancers and performers, Rachel has a long resume with her experience and training. She trained under her mother Margaret Holden and later studied dance at the University of Akron where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Art in Dance. Rachel has studied the Kostrovitskaya Pedagogical method with Dr. Peggy Willis-Aarnio and worked with choreographers Michael Medcalf, Garry Abbott, Peter Kalivas, Germaul Barnes, Linda Kahn and Young Park. She is also a former member of Cleveland Contemporary Dance Theater and worked with Tap Cleveland. Rachel’s performance experience includes musical theatre productions in New York, Tennessee, and Northeast Ohio. She is a certified member of Dance Masters of America and Cecchetti Council of America. Her goal in teaching every class is that every child gets the same chance and attention to learn skills and to most importantly, to have lots of fun.
Now with Two Locations!
1087 Berea Industrial Parkway in Berea
1450 West Bagley Road in Berea
Office Hours:1087 Berea Industrial Parkway:
Monday: 9:30am - 7:30pm
Tuesday: 12:00pm - 8:00pm
Wednesday: 3:30pm - 8:30pm
Thursday: 9:30am - 8:00pm
Friday: 9:30am - 8:00pm
Saturday: 9:30am - 12:30pm
1450 West Bagley
Monday: 9:30am - 12:30pm; 3:30pm - 7:00pm
Tuesday: 9:30am - 8:00pm
Wednesday: 9:30am - 8:00pm
Thursday: 2:00pm - 8:00pm
Friday: 4:00pm - 7:00pm
Saturday: 9:30am - 1:00pm
- Allie Beres