Mrs. Ackermann designed unique, educational, and entertaining music/movement programs for several area pre-schools, including FSU’s Educational Research Center for Child Development, The Creative Pre-School, and Annsworth Academy. In the 1990's, she presented workshops at early Childhood Conferences on the local, state, and regional level in the area of pre-school music and movement. As the director of the award winning, “THE DANCE STUDIO COMPANY”, Mrs. Ackermann and her staff directed and staged thirty- minute dance concerts at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom and Downtown Disney in 1998, 2002, and 2006, 2010, and 2012, after successfully auditioning for this honor. She is thrilled to be among the group of studio directors whose students have achieved National Title Championship several times. She is enormously proud that many of her former students andtheatre cast members have worked professionally as both teachers and performers. As an active member of the Board of Directors for Florida State University's Friends of Dance, Mrs. Ackermann is very happy to be able to share her life’s work with others who have a passion for dance. She is listed in “Who’s Who in American Women”, and was honored in 2007 by the faculty of DanceMakers, Inc. with the "Marjorie Perry Spirit Award" for her dedication and standard of excellence in Dance Education.
Michele Ackermann feels blessed to be wife to John for over thirty-eight years, mother to Brandon and Joey, and “Nonnie” to eleven-year old granddaughter, Mena.
About the Faculty...
Brandon Ackermann, Acting, Jazz, Musical Theatre, and Tap
is happy to have returned to The Dance Studio as instructor and choreographer. A former resident of NYC and native of Tallahassee, Brandon literally grew up at the studio where he was a part of The Dance Studio Company, Theatre ala Carte, and The Tallahassee Ballet. Locally, Brandon trained primary with Michele Ackermann, Nancy Carroll Abbey, and the late Damien Middleton. In his youth, he received several honors and scholarships with such organizations as Dance Educators of America and Access Broadway, to name just a few. Brandon has been extremely fortunate to have studied with some of the most renowned masters of dance, including David Howard, Al Gilbert, Mr. Scott Benson, Chet Walker in New York City and at both the Joffrey Ballet School and Alvin Ailey School. Brandon began his professional career as a Walt Disney World “Kids of the Kingdom” performer, where he received his membership in the coveted, Actors Equity stage performers union. Other professional credits include Celebrity Cruise line, Pamela Bolling's Hardrive Productions, and national television appearances with The Doodlebops, R.B.D. and Miley Cyrus, among others. Shifting gears, Brandon served as Associate Producer and Dance Advisor for the Drama Desk-nominated show Surrender at the famed Ohio Theatre in downtown Manhattan. Brandon has served as co-choreographer for Theatre a la Carte's productions of "Curtains", "Xanadu", and "Aida".
Nancy Carroll Abbey, Ballet Mistress and Instructor, was primarily trained in the Cecchetti method. She holds eleven examination certificates, and is familiar with Russian, English, and Danish styles as well. A faculty member of The Dance Studio since the mid 1990’s, Nancy has taught in private studios in Michigan and Florida, as well as in colleges and universities (The University of Michigan, William Smith College, and Tallahassee Community College). She has a special interest in dance injury prevention. To this end, she has completed classes in the prevention and care of sports injuries and also worked with orthopedic physicians. She was Artistic Director of the Tallahassee Ballet during the 1970s and early 1980s. In addition to performing for many years both in Michigan and Florida, she has choreographed more than two dozen ballets and staged many others. Nancy spent six years in Sacramento, California as a faculty member of the Sacremanto Academy of Dance teaching all levels of ballet technique, Pointe, and repertory to children and adults. A number of her former students have gone on to successful professional careers as performers, teachers, and choreographers.
Andree Aubrey, Ballet and Pointe Instructor, trained primarily with both Helen Salter and Tamara Rines, both students of the Ballet Master, George Balanchine. Miss Andree received her Masters in Social Work at FSU and became a member of The Tallahassee Civic Ballet in the early 1980s (now renamed, The Tallahassee Ballet) under the direction of Nancy Carroll Abbey. By day, Andree is the Director of the Area Health Education Program at the Florida State University College of Medicine. Wife to Chuck Drake and mother to John and Joshua, Andree has been on our faculty since 2000.
Scott Benson, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop, Lyrical, Scott’s dance career has withstood the test of time for over 30 years. He is more in demand now than ever. Scott's career has taken him all over the world to choreograph and perform with such artists as Michael Jackson, Pink, Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Madonna, Sting, John Travolta, Bruce Willis ,Tom Selleck , Paula Abdul, Reba McEntire and Tom Hanks to name but a few. He has been both in front of and behind the camera in countless television shows and commercials, including Scrubs, Jay Leno,The Academy Awards,The Super Bowl, Sea Doo/Ski Doo, Ebay, Hurley and a some of those fun Visa commercials you have seen. Some of his film credits include Pirates of the Caribbean, Forest Gump, Perfect, and The Mask. We are thrilled that Scott is now on our permanent faculty teaching classes each week and choreographing for our Ensemble Dancers. Amoung the most popular at our school, Scott's classes are fun and exciting!
Constance "Connie"Clineman, Musical Theatre Production Workshop is a veteran professional performer, choreographer, director, and producer and a long time colleague and friend of our studio director. From Straw Hat Theatre to Carnegie Hall to Community Theatre groups, Ms Clineman has enjoyed a lifetime working in the performing arts Graduating from Douglass College of Rutgers University with a degree in Dramatic Arts, she moved on to work in Regional and Summer Stock Theatres portraying characters as diverse as Mrs. Lovett (“Sweeney Todd”) and Madame Dubonnet (“The Boyfriend”). Vocal credits include performances with many notable musical organizations, including the London Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra. Directing and design credits range from Shakespeare to Children’s Theatre. Ms Clineman recently completed fifteen years as Chairman of Literary and Dramatic Arts at BrookwoodSchool in Georgia. She has worked many years as a National Park Ranger in Alaska, another great passion. Connie is a wife and mother, and is blessed with four grandchildren.
Becky Miller, Beginning Ballet and Tap Instructor for Children and Adults, hails from Cincinnati, Ohio and received her degree in elementary education from Ohio State University. After she and her husband Dan relocated to Tallahassee in the 70's, Becky taught in our public schools system for 4 years. As a young mother, she returned to her other love - dance performance - by becoming a founding member of the Tallahassee Ballet Company, under the direction of Helen Salter. Mother of three and grandmother of five future ballerinas, she retired after teaching twenty-five years of both Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten at Annsworth Academy. Our Miss Becky has taught ballet at The Dance Studio for a number of years, specializing in beginning students of all ages. She is a member of "The TipTopTappers" and still takes several classes a week at The Dance Studio. Much beloved by her peers, Becky was the first recipient of The Damien Bright Light Award in 2007.
Cheryl Chalus Scott, Ballet Production Workshop, began her ballet studies with Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo’s prima ballerina Ada Pourmel. Ms. Pourmel’s studio was frequented by George Balanchine’s acclaimed prima-ballerina, Violette Verdy. Cheryl was later accepted- on full scholarship- to the premier art school the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, NC where she received exceptional training in ballet, pointe, modern, and character. Training at NCSA included a rich variety of instructors from the Ballet Russe such as Robert Lindgren and Sonja Tyven, Balanchine’s Mimi Paul, Joffrey Ballet soloist Richard Gain, Hungarian National Ballet’s Gyula Pandi, Pauline Koner, Martha Grahm’s Richard Kutch, and a host of guest artists. After graduation, Cheryl studied in New York City with American Ballet Theater and rounded out her studies with Tony Catanzaro with Boston Ballet and Charles Stuart in the Vaganova Syllabus. Upon completion of training, Ms. Scott danced a broad array of classical and contemporary variations from ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, with Naples Dance Theatre, Southwest Florida Ballet Company, and Drumbeats in Georgia. Taking a hiatus from performing, Cheryl moved to Miami, Florida and took over direction of the Turning Point Dance Academy and founded the Renascent Dance Theatre where she specialized in creating original ROCK ballets such as Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Pandora’s Box, and Woodstock. Cheryl is married to Dr. John Scott and is the mother of a fourteen- year old daughter, Crystal.
About the Staff...
Karen Kent, Office Manager, traveled all over the world. Perhaps her love of dance and musical theatre was fostered when she was fortunate to see a production of "Hello Dolly" in Okinawa, Japan, starring the incomparable Mary Martin! She is a regular backstage fixture stage managing our annual concert, as well as productions for Theatre a La Carte and Quincy Music Theatre. Mrs. Kent holds a degree in Child Developement from FSU. She and Tommy have been married for thirty-seven years and are the proud parents of Skye, Thom, and Rusty, who are all grown up. Oh yes- the Director is happy to have taught all three of the "Kent Kids" to dance!