Our Story

In late 2002 Susan Barr's daughters were enrolled at Thome Ohio Gymnastics and Susan was training the Girls Gymnastics Team in Ballet. The gym owner encouraged Susan to start her own studio and offered her the use of the gym's dance room. Susan followed through on the offer and started Above the Barre School of Dance in January 2003. The name is a play on her last name and a ballet barre. By June, ATB finished the short year with over 40 students. Over the next 3 years the school added a competitive Dance Company and expanded to 3 dance rooms and their own building entrance and lobby. In 2008 Thome Gymnastics closed and Above The Barre Dance & Gymnastics was born with a new focus, a remodeled facility and nearly 425 dancers and gymnasts. Growth continued and space became a problem. In 2014 ATB broke ground on a new Gymnastics facility on Berea Industrial Parkway with the backing of Petrocek properties, the Berea City Council and Mayor Kleem. In June 2015 the new 16,000 Sq. Ft. gym opened with all new equipment, 2 in ground trampolines, 3 foam pit systems, 2 dance rooms, a viewing balcony, a snack and study room and birthday party inflatables.

In 2016 the Bagley Rd facility was remodeled again with a unique pre-school gymnastics area, 6 dance rooms including a black box theater, dedicated stretch and acrobatic area, aerial arts area, student lounge and teacher break room.

Today, Above the Barre Dance and Gymnastics is Northeast Ohio’s premier dance and gymnastics facility featuring a staff of 50+ including 40+ instructors and coaches who are dedicated to serving over 1,200 enrolled students annually. ATB is unique in it's ability to offer beginner to advanced training in both Dance and Gymnastics for boys and girls.

Click on the link to take a virtual tour of our dance studio and gym and get a glimpse of all we have to offer.

Our Mission:

To build confidence and coordination through the use of arts and athletics

Our Motto:

Begin Here, Go Anywhere

Our Business:

  • Developing Coordination
  • Building Strong Minds and Bodies
  • Instilling Confidence
  • Impacting Young Lives
  • Creating a Passion for Arts and Athletics
  • Teaching Character, Goal Setting, Teamwork and Accountability
  • Training the Leaders of Tomorrow

When I started Above the Barre, I did it with the mission that I was going to impact children’s Lives and I was going to use Dance as the medium to do that. Our Mission Statement reflects this purpose. I was excited when we added Gymnastics because we could reach a whole new group of kids.
Parents have a lot of choices today in regards to selecting organized activities for their kids and I believe we have something special for all children as expressed in our Motto. Our programs provide a unique and safe environment for learning coordination, balance and teamwork. These are foundational life skills and lead to success in any activity your child may want to pursue.
-- Susan Barr, Owner ATB


Meet Owner Susan Barr

Susan Michael grew up in Western Pennsylvania where she was involved in Dance from childhood through College. In her teen years she danced competitively and started teaching and choreographing. Susan attended Grove City College where she continued to choreograph and perform in multiple productions every school year. She majored in Accounting and also continued to teach at her childhood studio.

After graduation Susan and her college sweetheart Jim Barr were married and moved to Cleveland. Jim started a career in IT and Susan worked as an Accountant and Project Manager for Key Bank. In 1999 daughter number 3 was born and Susan left her career to be a fulltime mom. Susan invested the next 3 years raising her girls and running Wednesday evening children's ministry at her church. In 2002 a conversation with Genie Thome led to the opening of Above the Barre in 2003 where Susan was able to re-ignite her passion for teaching dance.

Susan is a member of Dance Masters of America and board member of Dance Masters of Ohio. She is a graduate of DMA's Teacher Training School and holds certification in Tap, Ballet, Jazz and Acrobatic Arts. Susan is an active member of the Cecchetti Council of America and is certified to teach through Professional Grade 5. Susan also is a professional member of the USA Gymnastics and is Safety Certified. Above the Barre hosts two USAG-sanctioned gymnastics meets annually: Masquerade Extravaganza and a Boys AAU meet. Every year Susan attends numerous conventions and workshops across the country where she enjoys learning the latest styles of dance teaching techniques and gymnastics instruction.

“Dance has been a part of my life since I was 8 years old and I still get really inspired watching the kids grow up and attain goals they never thought possible. I love to see when things come together for the kids, that precious moment when they perform a skill on their own for the first time. When I started Above the Barre, I did it with the mission that I was going to impact children’s lives, and I was going to use Dance (and later Gymnastics!) as the medium to do that.”

Susan and Jim have been married for over 26 years and their 3 daughters Jessica, Christina and Ashley are all ATB alumnae and teachers.

Leadership Team

Christina Barr

Christina Barr

Christina is a professional dancer who loves working with Above the Barre. When she graduated high school, Christina got accepted into the Broadway Dance Center Professional Semester in New York City. Christina has been spotted in multiple music videos, countless dance magazines, and numerous YouTube videos. She was with Tokyo Disney preforming in King Triton’s Concert 2017-2018. Christina loves to inspire children to live their dreams and push themselves to be the best version of themselves.

Erianna Raib-Ptichkin

Erianna Raib-Ptichkin

Eri 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 well as being both CPR and Concussion Safety Certified. As an active member of Ohio Dance Masters and Dance Masters of America, she continues to share the art of dance in local high schools, state universities, and private studios. Teaching since 2003, Ms. Eri joined the Above the Barre family in 2013, and now works with the teachers and staff at ATB to create the best customer experience for you!

Jeff Vacha

Jeff Vacha

Jeff has spent over 30 years in this building and has been a coach here since 2008. He was a college gymnast at the University of Illinois in Chicago and has been coaching since 1997. Jeff loves this sport and everything it does for children’s strength, confidence and most importantly, having fun. He is USAG Safety Certified and is actually a registered professional disc golfer. In his free time, he loves to snowboard and throw Frisbees.

Nicole Delgado

Nicole Delgado

Nicole is a familiar face with Above The Barre since she is a Thome-Ohio Gymnastics Alumni and started coaching here at the age of 15. Throughout her 12 years of coaching, she has traveled around and gained knowledge throughout different programs! Currently she is our Compulsory Team Director who also enjoys being on our Marketing Team. Nicole graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in 2015 with a Liberal Arts Degree, Majoring in Public Relations and Minoring in Business Management. The sport of gymnastics and children have always been her passion, as she enjoys waking up everyday doing exactly what she loves to do in life! If she is not at the gym you can find her with her family and friends.

Brittany Garofalo

Brittany Garofalo

Brittany started at Above the Barre in 2016. Previously, she taught preschool for 7 years. She has a passion for teaching and helping children progress. Brittany is certified in CPR and First Aid, amongst many other Early Childhood trainings. Brittany has received certifications from the OCALI Autism Certification Center in both Early Childhood and School-Aged ranges. A well-rounded coach, she is excited to share her passion with every student and can’t wait to see them succeed.

Office Support Staff

Cora Kaufhold

Cora Kaufhold

Cora has been working with Above the Barre in varying degrees since the doors opened in 2003. She has enjoyed taking part in creating graphics, marketing and even altering costumes for the Dance Company. Her four daughters have all grown up at ATB dancing or taking Ninja classes. She and her husband Tom live in North Ridgeville and enjoy camping and spending time with family and friends.

Lisa Yesko

Lisa Yesko

Lisa is Above the Barre's Customer Service Manager. She joined our staff with over 25 years of customer service experience including over 4 years of office management experience in the customer service industry.

Lori Merdita

Lori Merdita

As recent addition to the ATB customer service team, Lori brings over 20 years of gymnastics mom and 15 years of dance mom experience. She works full time as a Legal Billing Supervisor at a law firm in Westlake. She is a proud mother of four daughters, three of the girls enjoy coaching at ATB. Lori and her husband Tom live in North Olmsted. When not working Lori loves spending time with her family and two dogs.

Dance Teachers

All ATB staff is concussion certified and background checked!

Aaron Blizzard

Aaron Blizzard

Bio coming soon!

Abby Brinker

Abby Brinker

Abby is an ATB Alumni. She attained her Bachelor of Fine Arts while interning with Verb Ballet, S.A.F.E. Project with Alexandre Munz, and Ballet X's Chloe Felesina. Her commercial work includes being a company dancer for Matt Davenport Productions, The Smoky Mountain Opry, alongside Chris Blue (Season 12 Winner of The Voice.), and Cedar Point’s Luminosity. She just recently graduated from Broadway Dance Center’s Professional Semester in NYC with a concentration in Street Styles. She has taught/ choreographed for dance studios across Northeast Ohio and is excited to teach at her home studio!

Amanda Recko-Downing

Amanda Recko-Downing

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.

Ashley Barr

Ashley Barr

Ashley had danced for 18 years with the Above the Barre dance company before becoming an instructor. She has won many awards as a performer and choreographer throughout her years. Ashley was accepted into the Broadway dance center professional semester in New York which she trained. She prides herself on encouraging dancers to be the best they can in a positive way. aside from dance Ashley attends Lorain County Community College to pursue a career in graphic design. She loves the arts and incorporates a fun creative learning environment for her students.

Carla Pizzola

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 three children where they live in Westlake.

Carlin Dixon

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.”

Denise Bryant

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.

Erianna Raib-Ptichkin

Erianna Raib-Ptichkin

Our Dance Manager Eri 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 well as being both CPR and Concussion Safety Certified. As an active member of Ohio Dance Masters and Dance Masters of America, she continues to share the art of dance in local high schools, state universities, and private studios. Teaching since 2003, Ms. Eri joined the Above the Barre family in 2013, and now works with the teachers and staff at ATB to create the best customer experience for you!

Erika Rogers

Erika Rogers

Erika is a professional dancer and choreographer who grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. After becoming an alumni of ATB, she went on to pursue a professional dance career with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines where she was the lead on one of their international tours, traveling all the way through Europe and the Middle East. Erika has also made an appearance in multiple music videos, movies, and commercials. She is both CPR and Concussion Safety Certified as well as an active member of Ohio Dance Masters, Chapter 16.  She has taught, danced, and choreographed with multiple programs and studios throughout the Ohio area. Erika is so excited to return to her home studio and share her passion and knowledge of dance with all the students at ATB!

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly is currently a senior business student at Kent State University. Before attending college, she danced with Above the Barre for 15 years as well as participated in cheerleading for Olmsted Falls High School. Since then, Grace has continued her training at Kent and now produces choreography for Above the Barre. Grace continues to be passionate about inspiring her students to be confident and skilled dancers and humans.

Hannah Rogers

Hannah Rogers

Hannah Rogers is currently studying Visual Communication Design at Kent State University while also continuing her dance training. She graduated from Padua Franciscan High School in 2020 and trained and competed in the dance company program at Above The Barre for 7 out of the 16 years she has been dancing. Hannah is now choreographing and teaching for the talented students at Above The Barre and loves to inspire them to take their artistry to the next level.

Holly Kuhn

Holly Kuhn

Miss Holly has training in a variety of styles of dance, but her true passion is west coast style jazz. She has studied coast to coast over the years and is certified through Dance Educators of America and Acrobatic Arts. After owning her own studio, judging and master teaching for numerous competitions and conventions, her teaching experience is now 30 plus years. Many of her students have gone on professionally and are currently operating their own dance companies. Her pride and joy are her two children. Her son, Tanner, will be a senior this year at Amherst Steele High School and Rylie will be an upcoming freshman and also is one of our own as an elite ATB dance company member. Miss Holly is thrilled to have found a home at Above the Barre and is honored to be a part of your children's dance journeys this season and years to come.

Jessica Barr

Jessica Barr

Jessica is a native of Cleveland Ohio. She comes from a dancing family and an Alumni of Above the Barre. At a young age she trained in dance and gymnastics winning many state and national titles including Miss Dance of Ohio 2013. Jessica has studied at Broadway Dance Center in New York City under the direction of Bonnie Erickson getting to preform on the Alvin Ailey Stage. She has worked professionally for Norwegian Cruise Lines as and dancer and aerialist through the mediterranean and caribbean. Jessica has a huge passion for choreography and training. Her choreography has been recognized on the regional and national level.

Joellen Wojtowicz

Joellen Wojtowicz

Joellen began her dance training with Sylvia Hamer, FISTD, in the Cecchetti Method of Ballet, passing student examinations in grades 1-Intermediate. Ms. Joellen furthered her studies at Texas Christian University with the Nordan Fine Arts Scholarship and received her BFA in Ballet. Her performing experiences include the Ann Arbor Civic Ballet, the TCU Dance Ensemble, Ballet Concerto, Allegro Dance Theatre, Chattanooga Ballet, Fort Wayne Ballet, and touring Europe with the Contemporary Dance Company. She has been a guest performing artist with the Lancaster Ballet in Lancaster, Ohio, with Keith Lee and his Newworldance Experience at Centre College in Kentucky, and the Orange Grove Dancers in Chattanooga, TN. Joellen’s performance experience includes Odette from Swan Lake, Giselle and Myrtha from Act II, Giselle, Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker, Blue Bird pas de deux from Act III, Sleeping Beauty, Helena from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Eve from Frank Hay’s Creation, and many other classical and original ballet, modern, and jazz works. Most recently, Ms. Joellen joins us from Chattanooga Ballet where she served as School, Outreach, and School Ensemble Director. Prior to that position, she served on faculty for Chattanooga Ballet, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne Ballet, and Allegro Dance Theatre. She has also choreographed for Chattanooga Ballet, Chattanooga Ballet School Ensemble, CB Children’s Company & Junior Corps, Chattanooga High School Center for Creative Arts, The Baylor School, Orange Grove Dancers, Fort Wayne Ballet, and directed the Fort Wayne Ballet Youth Company & Youth Company too. Ms. Joellen has also taught various master classes and workshops for the University of Mississippi for Women, Middle Tennessee State University, Ballet Arts, En Pointe Dance Studio in Celina, OH., Sylvia Studio of Dance, and several other schools/organizations. Ms. Joellen is an associate teacher member of Cecchetti Council of America and has passed grades 1 through Elementary teacher examinations. In 2012, she received her Master of Arts in Education/Adult Education and Training from University of Phoenix. And, is a licensed provider of Fletcher Pilates Towelwork®, Floorwork® and BarreworkTM

Kristin Daniel

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.

Laney Waters

Laney Waters

Laney danced since 7th grade with ATB! She has been an Aerial instructor for about 3 years and also taught preschool gymnastics classes. Laney graduated from Olmsted Falls High School where she had attended for all 12 years of schooling. Laney plans to attend Loyola University in Chicago to study Anthropology and hopefully get her Masters and PHD.

Monica Olejko

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.”

Rachel Leheney

Rachel Leheney

Rachel grew up dancing from the age of 2.5 years old at a studio in Sagamore Hills and followed her favorite teacher, who opened up a studio in her hometown, in Broadview Heights, in 2009. The past 18 years she has learned various styles of dance including jazz, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical, ballet, modern, pointe, tap & acrobatics. She has been to conventions including Hollywood Vibe, Velocity & Cle Grooves, to name a few. She has been to multiple events, New York City multiple summers (Broadway Dance Center) and performed as a backup dancer in Hullabaloo fashion show and several more amazing opportunities. During her senior year she auditioned for season 4 of Cleveland Dance Project, performed with them in may of 2019 & has danced ever since then, with the Cleveland Dance Project. Rachel spent all of 2020 & all of 2021 training with Cleveland Dance Project company as a company member. Throughout Rachel’s time on company she has gotten opportunities to perform in several CDP shows, multiple video projects, Israel festival, the gathering place, NFL draft, fashion show, multiple photo shoots and so much more. Rachel has also taught various styles of dance to dancers ages 3-18 at her home studio and taught multiple master classes in Cleveland. Rachel has also worked with the special needs adaptive program at Creative Movement Center over the past several years.

Rachel Magliola

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.

Tori Taylor

Tori Taylor

Tori is a 2012 graduate from Austintown Fitch High School where she was an active member of the Concert Choir. She teaches tap, hip hop, lyrical/contemporary, jazz, and musical theater at Steppin Out Dance Center, owned by her mother, Rose Taylor. In January of 2018, she became a licensed esthetician after completing her schooling at the prestigious Casal Aveda Institute. As a competitor, Tori has won numerous awards on the regional and national level, including the Kids Artistic Revue 2012 Miss Dance America. Her choreography has won numerous regional and national awards, including multiple national champion overalls.

Gymnastic Coaches

All ATB staff is concussion certified and background checked!

Alexis Kolonick

Alexis Kolonick

Alexis has been doing gymnastics for 15 years. She still competes for her high school team. she started working at ATB this past spring and absolutely loves coaching the kids she has! A fun fact about me is that my astrological sign is a Leo.

Adriana Merdita

Adriana Merdita

Adriana she has been training at Above the Barre for 15 years. She has been teaching for the last few years on both the Dance and Gymnastics side. One fun thing to know about her is that she has a twin sister!

Anthony Covatta

Anthony Covatta

Anthony has been doing gymnastics since he saw the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games. He trained as a gymnast at Stanford Foster Academy of Gymnastics as a kid and teenager until his family moved to the west side of Cleveland when he joined Thome Ohio and ATB ever since. Anthony has been coaching with Above The Barre since 2017 is so pleased to be coaching again. “Coaching is the most rewarding thing I do in my life, I love passing the knowledge that I have learned on to these kids so that they can continue the tradition of solid American Gymnastics.” Outside of the gym Anthony is an award winning actor in theatre and singer songwriter, with all of his music available on every music platform

Brittany Garofalo

Brittany Garofalo

Brittany started at Above the Barre in 2016. Previously, she taught preschool for 7 years. She has a passion for teaching and helping children progress. Brittany is certified in CPR and First Aid, amongst many other Early Childhood trainings. Brittany has received certifications from the OCALI Autism Certification Center in both Early Childhood and School-Aged ranges. A well-rounded coach, she is excited to share her passion with every student and can’t wait to see them succeed.

Casey Schmidt

Casey Schmidt

Casey is a student at New Mexico State University where she dives for their team. She was an Above the Barre gymnast for 12 years prior to diving and joined our coaching staff in 2019. She loves working with kids and watching them grow as athletes and young people.

Colleen Thiel

Colleen Thiel

Bio coming soon!

Dave Forister

Dave Forister

Bio coming soon!

Elisa Davis

Elisa Davis

Elisa was a gymnast for 7 years. She loves helping out with kids! Her passion for kids started when she became an Aunt at five years old.

George Martin

George Martin

George has been coaching for over 30 years. He started his gymnastics career at age 9 and continued his passion into coaching. George is a well rounded coach with a background in girls gymnastics, cheerleading and power tumbling. He has a number of USAG certifications and a passion for teaching.

Jeff Vacha

Jeff Vacha

Jeff has spent over 30 years in this building and has been a coach here since 2008. He was a college gymnast at the University of Illinois in Chicago and has been coaching since 1997. Jeff loves this sport and everything it does for children’s strength, confidence and most importantly, having fun. He is USAG Safety Certified and is actually a registered professional disc golfer. In his free time, he loves to snowboard and throw Frisbees.

Joe Zitriki

Joe Zitriki

Joe is currently a student at Cleveland State University working towards becoming a Physical Therapist. He earned his Black Belt in karate at age 15 and later started parkour and tricking. He soon became a tumbling coach and has continued ever since 2010. Since then he has added break dancing, martial arts weapons training (such as double nunchucks, bo staff, rope dart), popping/animation, and capoeira to his list of skills. He has participated in competitive cheerleading and has also cheered for CSU. He has coached at Camp Woodward with world famous athlete Kie Willis as well as Ohio Cheer Explosion, Tracy’s Karate Studio, Caliber Dance Company and Steel City Parkour. Joe is a former Pararescue Candidate in the U.S. Air Force Special Operations, and is also a certified Personal training by the American Council on Exercise. Joe is exceptionally well rounded and is willing to help anyone achieve their goals no matter what they might be.

Julie Cvitkovich

Julie Cvitkovich

Julie has coached for over 30 years. She started her gymnastics career in competitive dance for two years and then moved to a competition team at Universal gymnastics. She competed up to Level Ten. Julie also competed in High School where her school won two state championships out of the four years she was there. Julie studied Sport Management at Bowling Green and Physical Education at Kent State. While at Kent State she was presented with an opportunity to own a gym. She owned Western Reserve Gymnastics for 8 years. It was quite successful in producing several Level 4, 6, and 8 State Championship teams and several Level 8 and 9 regional and national qualifiers. Deciding her true passion was coaching she sold the gym and coached at several gyms in northeast Ohio. Julie has coached Level 2-Elite as well as created lesson plans, schedules, motivational charts, etc. She is a Level Ten judge and has been one for 8 years. Julie hopes to teach the gymnasts how working hard and smart pays off by focusing on the details, form, and presentation when they are performing their routines and skills. She has aided in coaching several State, Regional, and National Champions with this concept.

Juliana Merdita

Juliana Merdita

Juli has been doing gymnastics for 15 years and still competes to this day. She started working at Above the Barre 2 years ago and absolutely loves working with all of the kids!

Kyle Hammond

Kyle Hammond

Bio coming soon

Mara Deselich

Mara Deselich

Bio coming soon!

Meah Peltz

Meah Peltz

Bio coming soon!

Michelle Barnett

Michelle Barnett

Bio coming soon!

Nate Geffert

Nate Geffert

Nate has been coaching gymnastics for over 17 years. During this time he has coached both private club and high school teams, coaching to State and Regional titles in both team and individual events. Nate joined the ATB family in 2012 and has coached men’s and women’s gymnastics at levels 3-9 as well as Xcel and recreational classes. He is a professional member of USA Gymnastics and holds a number of coaching certificates through USAG University including Safety and Risk Management and Junior Olympic Development Coach Certification. His passion is helping students to not only become better gymnasts, but also become better all-around people. Nate is married and has a 2 year old daughter who loves spending time at the gym as much as her daddy.

Nicole Delgado

Nicole Delgado

Nicole is a familiar face with Above The Barre since she is a Thome-Ohio Gymnastics Alumni and started coaching here at the age of 15. Throughout her 12 years of coaching, she has traveled around and gained knowledge throughout different programs! Currently she is our Compulsory Team Director who also enjoys being on our Marketing Team. Nicole graduated from Baldwin Wallace University in 2015 with a Liberal Arts Degree, Majoring in Public Relations and Minoring in Business Management. The sport of gymnastics and children have always been her passion, as she enjoys waking up everyday doing exactly what she loves to do in life! If she is not at the gym you can find her with her family and friends.

Nico Oliveros

Nico Oliveros

Bio Coming Soon!

Tommy Case

Tommy Case

Tommy Case was born and raised in Mentor, Ohio and has a background in martial arts tricking. Tommy has been training and traveling with this sport for over 6 years. He decided that coaching would be an amazing fit for his lifestyle, spreading his love for movement and everything he knows about it has became a passion of his. Tommy is excited to continue coaching at Above the Barre, seeing plenty of new faces, and most importantly, plenty of progression!

Will Smith

Will Smith

Bio coming soon!

Zach Krueger

Zach Krueger

Bio coming soon!

Stefanie Vlna

Stefanie Vlna

Stefanie has been teaching gymnastics for over 20 years. She has specialized in developing compulsory team gymnasts but has coached optional gymnasts up to level 10 for the past few years. She has run many gyms and programs throughout the years and has loved every second of it. She believes in developing confident gymnasts with compassion and attention to detail. Her favorite part is seeing gymnasts grow and learn new skills. She has her degree in Exercise Science and is currently working on her master degree in the same field. She also has a 3 year old named Ronin and a dog named Lilly.