Staff

DANCE TEACHING STAFF

Heather Traub, Recreational Director

Heather Traub started dancing at the age of seven at Little Red Dancing School where she studied and performed under the direction of Lisa Allain and Cayla Marilyn Allen until she was eighteen.  During this time Heather was chosen to perform at the Pro Bowl Half Time Show and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. She also was part of the Buffalo Blizzard’s Dance Team.

Heather was one of the founding members and choreographers for the Dance Theater Project from 1999-2001. With the company, she continued her dance education with Cayla Marilyn Allen. In 1999 Heather worked as an instructor for Dance 22, in Webster, NY, as well as joining the staff of Centerstage Dance Studio in Irondequoit, NY. Here, she taught and choreographed students of all ages.  In 2001, Heather established a Junior Competition Team that continued to dance together and win numerous high score and special awards. As a teacher and choreographer, Heather’s work has won her choreography and entertainment awards.

Heather continues her dance education at Broadway Dance Center. She also regularly attends many local and national workshops and classes to keep up with the changing styles and trends.

In 2005, Heather founded TNT Dance Explosion, Inc. with the support of her co-founder, Joelle Taylor. Since founding the studio, Heather has enjoyed seeing generations of dancers grow and graduate from the studio. The fun Heather infuses into every class is very evident, with her students often referring to her as H-Dogg and “The World’s Best Dance Teacher Ever!”


Joelle Taylor, Competitive Director

Joelle Taylor, began her dance training in 1984 at the Little Red Dancing School in Rochester, NY,under the direction of Lisa Allain and Cayla Marilyn Allen. Joelle has been a dance instructor in the Rochester area, teaching Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, and Ballet since 2000.

Highlights from Joelle’s years as a dancer include performing in the 1996 NFL Pro Bowl Half-Time Show in Hawaii; being a member of professional dance teams, the Rochester Rhino Rage and the Buffalo Blizzard Storm; and co-founding, choreographing, and performing with the Dance Theater Project, a progressive dance company that performed throughout Rochester. As a choreographer, Joelle has earned countless high score and choreography awards for her work.

Joelle has studied under many master teachers including Frank Hatchett, A. C. Ciaula, Sheila Barker, Jason Parsons, Alan Onickel, and Mia Michaels. She continues to visit New York City on a regular basis to take classes and keep up with the changing dance styles.

As co-founder and Competitive Director of TNT Dance Explosion, Inc. Joelle loves working with all the students and watching them grow as dancers! She currently teaches both recreational and competitive classes and is beloved by her students, who call her Miss JoJo.


Erika Atkinson, Instructor/Choreographer

Erika Atkinson was born and raised in Rochester, NY. At the age of 4, she began her dance career, studying Ballet, Tap and Jazz at Little Red Dancing School. During this time she also took classes at The Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and Dancer’s Alley. Erika began teaching at Little Red in 1987, and in 1995 established Centerstage Dance Studio, in Irondequoit. Here she was the owner, director, and choreographer for 8 years. Throughout this time, she produced numerous recitals, showcases and performances. She established the Centerstage Competition Team, who won countless awards and high scores for their performances. Erika has a B.A.  from St. John Fisher College in Communications and Marketing Management.

Erika was the choreographer and director of The Rochettes, a dance group which is part of the Rochester Gay Man’s Chorus for 11 years.

In recent years, Erika has choreographed Alice in Wonderland, for Siena Catholic Academy, Peter Pan and Beauty and the Beast for St. Joseph School The Nutcracker, All Jazzed Up, for Dancing Out Loud, and Nice Work if you Can Get it and A Chorus Line for Mcquaid Jesuit High School.

Erika is currently the director and choreographer for the tap dance company, The Oasis Tappers, a senior organization dedicated to enriching the lives of the elderly through dance. She also teachers preschool dance at the Bayview Family YMCA.

Erika has been on Staff at TNT Dance Explosion as the competitive Tap dance teacher for the past 13 years.

Erika resides in Webster with her husband, two sons and daughter.


Sarah M. Bates, Instructor/Choreographer

Sarah has been dancing in the Rochester area since the age of 3 and teaching and assisting dance classes since she was 12. Studying under the instruction of Nancy Frey, Brenda Bobby, Erika Atkinson, Meggins Kelley, and Cayla Allen, Sarah is highly trained in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Acrobatics, and Baton. Sarah has traveled to New York City to study with teachers such as, Frank Hatchett, Sheila Barker, Lane Napper, and A.C.Ciaula in addition to attending frequent workshops, both regionally and nationally. Sarah has also co-choreographed for Nic and the Nice Guys. After teaching at Centerstage Dance Studio for 9 years and Dance 22 for 2 years, Sarah joined the TNT Dance Explosion teaching staff in 2006, and loves the excitement each new year of dance at the studio brings.

Sarah is a tenured Special Education Teacher in the Rochester City School District, where she has over ten years of teaching experience in the elementary and middle school grades.  She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees at Nazareth College, where she majored in Psychology and Elementary/Middle School and Special Education, along with Inclusive Education. Sarah also maintains her passion for dance by performing with the TNT Competitive Adult Class, known as “The Divas”, which has won numerous 1st Place and Platinum awards at competition.  She currently teaches Tap and Jazz to competitive and non-competitive students.


Kelly Milacic, Instructor/Choreographer

Kelly is a dedicated professional dancer, with lifelong experience and very disciplined training in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, tap, contemporary and modern dance. She has performed professionally, is skilled in aerial performance art, and has experience teaching a variety of dance styles to a wide range of ages. Kelly was a key member of Royal Caribbean International’s theater review cast for over three years, performing in eight productions on the Luxury Cruise Ships including Freedom of the Seas, Adventure of the Seas, and Voyager of the Seas, in which she was also selected for several aerial soloist parts.


 

Kelly Horgan, Instructor/Choreographer

Kelly Horgan started dancing at the age of 3 at Annette’s School of Dance. At the age of 5, she moved to Little Red Dancing School, where she studied and performed for 13 years. Kelly began teaching at TNT Dance Explosion in 2007 and is celebrating her tenth-year teaching at the studio. Kelly teaches both recreational and competition classes, where she specializes in tap.

Kelly graduated from SUNY Brockport with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Communications and works full time as an Executive Assistant at a local company that provides vegetation management services. Kelly is an avid reader and often devours three to five books a week. Kelly is also now a competition dance mom, as her daughters have joined TNT’s competition team. So, now in addition to her lovingly ascribed nickname from her competition tap class – “Tap Mom” she is also a competition “Dance Mom” too.

 

 


 Alisha Brandon, Instructor/Choreographer

Alisha Brandon has been teaching dance lessons in the Rochester area for over 20 years, six of those years (2001-2007), she owned and operated her own studio. Her training began as a young child in Rochester. She has choreographed and directed musicals for Monroe Community College (Smokey Joe’s Cafe, Godspell, and Side by Side by Sondheim). Some of her choreography awards include … Clean Choreography, Fabulous Feet and Super Spacing! Alisha has been with TNT since 2007 and teaches both recreational and competitive classes. Alisha’s pre-competitive team at TNT has taken local overall top placements at competitions.


Melissa Petz, Instructor/Choreographer

Dance has been a part of Melissa’s life since the age of 3. She spent most of her studio experience at Little Red Dance Studio where she studied Ballet, Tap and Jazz under Lisa Allain and Cayla Marilyn Allen. She also took trips to New York City to take classes at the Broadway Dance Center and attended Master Classes offered locally. Melissa is also a graduate of Rochester’s School of the Arts where she was a Dance Major.

Melissa joined the TNT Staff initially as a licensed Zumba Fitness Instructor in 2013. She would also occasionally fill in as needed for recreational dance classes and later began teaching Hip-Hop recreational classes in 2015. She is currently teaching recreational classes, including Hip Hop and Toddlers. You will also often find her subbing for others as needed! In addition to teaching, Melissa enjoys performing with the TNT Competitive Adult Class, known as “The Divas”, which has won numerous 1st Place and Platinum awards at competition.  She also choreographs the Rochettes, a dance group comprised of members of Rochester Gay Men’s Chorus who perform at the chorus’ concerts and benefits.  Beyond the dance classroom and stage, Melissa continues her pursuit of health and fitness continuing education through various formats including attending workshops and the Zumba Instructor Convention annually.

In addition to her work at TNT, she also has a full time career in the Health Insurance Compliance Industry.

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Marc Ellis Holland, Instructor/Choreographer

Marc Ellis Holland is Broadway vet, whose credits include Cats and the Radio City Christmas Spectacular. Marc also toured with the productions Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls and La Cage Aux Folles, among others. He has performed with Deca Dance Company of New York City and toured with the company to Japan. Marc is Cecchetti certified and teaches for the Cecchetti Council each summer.  He has choreographed numerous shows for community theatre, including Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, Beauty and the Beast, Grease, Sweet Charity, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat, Gypsy, Rent, Cats, Children of Eden, Cabaret, and School House Rock. Most recently Marc choreographed a piece for the Virginia Contemporary Dance Company.  Marc is very happy to be working with TNT dancers and staff, bringing his passion and talent for dance to the studio.

 

 

 

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Nicole Chenier, Instructor/Choreographer

Nicole Chenier’s life as a dancer has come full circle.  Nicole began dancing at the age of 2 at Centerstage Dance studio, by the age of 7 she was a competitive dancer and continued to be part of TNT Dance Explosion’s competition team until she was a senior in high school. Studying in many areas including tap, jazz, ballet, and musical theater, Nicole studied under current TNT instructors – Erika Atkinson, Heather Traub, and Joelle Polanski. Now, Nicole teaches multiple classes at TNT for various age levels. She loves to share her knowledge and love for dance with classes and students she can call her own! Outside of her time at TNT, Nicole works as a Patient Care Technician at Rochester General Hospital and continues her studies of nursing and medicine. She is also talented, licensed cosmetologist and is highly sought after for hair and makeup assistance at dance competition time.

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Krisy Malone, Instructor/Choreographer

Dancing since the age of 6, Krisy began her training at Sandy Stramonine School of Dance in West Walworth where she studied ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and pointe. Krisy started teaching at the young age of 16 at Stramonine School of Dance and then brought her teaching talents to Artistry of Dance at age 18. She later became owner of Artistry of Dance from 2006 to 2013. In 2013, Krisy joined the TNT teaching staff and instructs ballet and pointe for competition classes of multiple age ranges. In addition to teaching, Krisy has attended multiple workshops in New York City, including classes at the Broadway Dance Center.  She’s danced with Tim Draper, Frank Hatchett, Mia Michaels, Joe Tremaine, among others and won many choreography awards at local and regional competitions with top scoring groups. Outside of dance, Krisy is an accomplished licensed cosmetologist and works at SalonROC as a receptionist.

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Sarah Roncone, Instructor/Choreographer

OFFICE STAFF

Michele Cwiklinski

Michele’s expertise comes from being a “dance mom” for many years, supporting her daughter as she danced at TNT since she was 4 years old. She joined TNT in the office staff function in 2012. In addition to her office duties, she is also the resident be-dazzler for all TNT costumes. When she’s not at TNT, Michele works as an accountant and is a devoted mother and grandmother.

 

 

 

 

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Renie Cutt

Renie has seen 3 daughters come through TNT as dancers, and has served as office staff since 2010.  In 2011, Renie started dancing in the adult tap and Jazz Class with  Ms. Kelly Horgan.  Currently, when she’s not working and cheering for her girls off-stage, she is performing on stage herself in the TNT Competitive Adult Class, known as “The Divas”, which has won numerous 1st Place and Platinum awards at competition.

Renie graduated college with degrees in both Communication Disorders and Accounting. In her day job, she has worked for the City of Rochester for the past 28 years

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Additional Office Support Staff
Karen Johnston
Noel Vache

Upcoming Events

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Contact

Please feel free to contact the studio at 585-342-6750 at anytime. Our directors and office manager may also be reached at following e-mails:

The staff of TNT will make every effort to answer any and all of your questions in a timely manner.

The studio is located at 563 Titus Avenue #4, Rochester, NY 14617-3560.