Staff

DANCE TEACHING STAFF

Heather Traub, Educational Program 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 Hill, Company Program 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, NY. 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 for 11 years; a dance group which is part of the Rochester Gay Man’s Chorus.

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

Erika is currently and has been for the past 20 years, 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 currently and has been for the past 16 years on Staff at TNT Dance Explosion as  their competitive tap dance teacher/ choreographer.

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 Sanchez, 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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Nicole Moroni, 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 Teeter, Instructor/Choreographer

Sarah Roncone began her dance training in 1994 at the Little Red Dancing School, where she trained under the direction of Lisa Allain and Sarah Rothrock-Rickel in various styles, including ballet, tap, jazz, pointe, musical theater, contemporary, and hip-hop. During this time, Sarah competed with her team for 10 years, winning numerous awards and recognitions, including 1st place and Platinum awards across multiple dance genres.

After graduating high school, Sarah continued in her dance career by performing in multiple companies, including Roc City Diamonds and Balasole Dance Company in New York City. These opportunities also lead Sarah to take ballroom dance lessons, specializing in Viennese Waltz, further broadening her versatility in the dance community.

Sarah also works with the Champagne Creative Group, headquartered in Las Vegas, where she works with various venues throughout New York as a model and greeter.

This is Sarah’s fourth season teaching and choreographing with TNT Dance Explosion, and she continues to be inspired by the incredible students and staff she works with every year.

In addition to being an instructor at TNT, Sarah is currently studying to be a Radiographer at Monroe Community College.

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Chris Collins, Instructor

 Mr. Collins first received his training here, in his hometown of Rochester, at the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education under the tutelage of Jamey Leverett, Beth Bartholomew, Stefanie Cheshire, and Fidel Orrillo. Performing lead roles in numerous ballets such as Cavalier in The Nutcracker and Jamey Leveretts Images, to name a few. He then went on to further his training in Pittsburgh at Point Park University on scholarship. There, he had the opportunity to work with many prestigious artists such as Alan Obuzor, Sidra Bell, and many others.

Chris is very excited to continue his 10th consecutive season at the Rochester City Ballet and show what this great city has to offer to the arts community.

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Uma Deming, Instructor

Uma Deming She was born in Rochester, New York, and began her ballet training at the Timothy M. Draper Center for Dance Education at the age of three, where she studied with Jamey Leverett, Beth Bartholomew, Fidel Ernesto Orrillo Puga, and her mother, Julianne Deming. She attended summer courses at the School of American Ballet (SAB), the official school of NYCB, in 2013 and 2014, before entering SAB full-time for the 2014 winter term.

She received additional summer training at Miami City Ballet School, Boston Ballet School, the School of Carolina Ballet, and Pacific Northwest Ballet School. While at SAB, she trained with the Royal Danish Ballet company and school as a recipient of the Danish American National Cultural Exchange scholarship program.

Additionally, as a student, Ms. Deming performed with the Draper Center-affiliated Rochester City Ballet in The Nutcracker and Cinderella. Ms. Deming was named an apprentice with NYCB in November 2018, and a Corp De Ballet member in November 2019.

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Iyana Voltaire, Instructor/Choreographer

Iyana started dancing at TNT Dance Explosion when she was seven years old. She joined the competition team in 2013 and began assisting dance classes a couple years later. Iyana has a passion for choreography, choreographing solos for school talent shows since eighth grade and choreographing a solo for herself that she placed with at competitions last year. This past year she has also been taking extra classes to further her training in all styles as well as guest teaching at another studio. Her achievements include a hip-hop scholarship at 24seven dance convention and participating in the New York State summer school of the arts school of dance program in 2020 and 2021. Iyana was also accepted into a hip-hop company starting this fall. She loves working with children and is so excited to start teaching hip hop at TNT this year.

OFFICE STAFF
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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. After 30 years of dedicated service for the City of Rochester, Renie has retired. She now enjoys spending more time with her friends and family in addition to working for the studio.

Karen Johnston

Karen’s daughter, Lauren, has danced at TNT for 11 years, and she has been working in the TNT Office for 4 years. In addition to her day job, Karen volunteers for a number of boards and committees in the community. Karen is the smiling face you’ll see regularly at the studio and she is just as passionate about helping young dancers and their families as she is about watching her own daughter perform.

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Additional Office Support Staff
Melissa Delprete
Noel France
Christine Penner

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.