Heather Traub, Recreational Director

Picture of Heather DigulioHeather Traub started dancing at the age of seven at Little Red Dancing School. Here, 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.

In 2005, Heather founded TNT Dance Explosion, Inc. With the support of her co-founder, Joelle Taylor, Heather has found her passion, and will continue to make TNT a success.

Heather worked on expanding TNT’s dance opportunities in 2009 to include beginner adult tap and jazz classes, Zumba and mini hip hop classes.

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.

Joelle Taylor, Competitive Director

Joelle Taylor, born in Buffalo, NY in 1980, 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 for the past ten years.

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.

Joelle is so excited to be a co-founder and director of TNT Dance Explosion, Inc. She looks forward to working with all the students and watching them, as well as the studio, grow into something great.

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. She also created the Adult competition class known as The Divas. Erika has received many choreography and entertainment awards for her work.

Erika graduated from St. John Fisher College, with a B.A. in Communications and Marketing Management.

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. Erika is also the choreographer for The Rochettes, a dance group made up of members of the Rochester Gay Men Chorus, who perform at the chorus’ concerts and benefits.

Erika is currently on the Board of Directors for Dance Rochester!, a non-profit organization committed to advocating public support and interest in and to encourage the professional development of dancers.

Erika continues to study the art of dance as much as possible by attending local classes, workshops and seminars. She also takes yearly trips to New York City to attend professional classes and programs.

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

Sarah M. Bates, Instructor/Choreographer

Sarah has been dancing since the age of 3 and teaching/assisting dance since she was 12 years old. She has studied under the instruction of Nancy Frey, Brenda Bobby, Erika Atkinson, Meggins Kelley, and Cayla Allen. She has studied in the areas of Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Acrobatics, and Baton.

Sarah has traveled to NYC to study with teachers such as, Frank Hatchett, Sheila Barker, Lane Napper, and A.C. Also, she has taken many workshops around the area and at national competitions. Sarah has co-choreographed for Nic and the Nice Guys as well. She taught at Centerstage Dance Studio for 9 years, Dance 22 for 2 years, and has been at TNT since 2006.

Sarah graduated from Irondequoit High School with honors. While attending WIHS, Sarah cheered 4 years on the Varsity Team and was nominated Captain and MVP for the team. She also placed 3rd place at the Tournament of Champions Cheerleading Individual Competition at Bishop Kearney and was placed on the Eddie Meath All- Star Team for achieving 14th Place in an individual tournament. Sarah has also performed in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Schoolhouse Rocks, and The King and I.

Sarah has completed her Bachelor’s degree at Nazareth College , majoring in Psychology and Elementary/Middle School and Special Education. She also completed her Master’s degree at Nazareth in Inclusive Education. Sarah is now a special education teacher in the Rochester City School District , teaching in the elementary grades.

Sarah currently teaches tap and jazz to competitive and non-competitive students. She looks forward to another great year at TNT Dance Explosion.

Kelly Milacic, Instructor

Kelly MilacicKelly 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 McLaen, Instructor

Kelly McLaenKelly has been dancing since the age of three. At the age of five the competitive dance journey began for Kelly when she joined Centerstage Dance Studio, and Miss Heather. Kelly has won numerous awards throughout the years at TNT, as a member of the Dance Teams and as a Soloist. She is trained in many of the different styles of dance and cheerleading including: jazz, lyrical, ballet, tap, and hip hop. Kelly travels every summer to Broadway Dance Center in New York City, attending classes taught by Luam, Tracie Stanfield and many others to continue her education. She also regularly attends dance workshops such as NUVO and NYCDA, including sessions taught by Travis Wall, Ivan, and Sonya Tayeh. She is excited to be joining the TNT Dance Explosion staff, where her true love for dance ignited.

Kelly Horgan, Instructor/Choreographer

Kelly Horgan began dancing at the age of two at Annette’s School of Dance. At age four, she joined Little Red Dancing School, where she studied and performed for 13 years under the direction of Lisa Allain and Cayla Marilyn Allen.

In 2007, Kelly joined TNT Dance Explosion to teach a variety of classes to children (nine and under). Over the past couple of years, she has expanded the classes she teaches to include beginner tap and jazz for adults and is a certified Zumba instructor.

 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.


Michele Cwiklinski
Renie Cutt
Karen Johnston
Noel Vache

Upcoming Events

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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.