Faculty

Studio Owner:

Michelle Kirkum- Owner/CEO of Business Operations

Studio Manager:

Liz Carless

Office Staff:

Cindy Moerschell and Mickie Borucki

Meet Our Team:

Suzette D'Andrea

Ms. Suzette has been teaching for over 30 years and has trained students that have gone onto professional dance and performance careers for the Broadway touring cast of "Hairspray" and "High School Musical", Chicago's Jump Rhythm Jazz Project, and at Bally's in Vegas. Suzette's credits include being a certified member of the Cecchetti Council of America, a member of Dance Masters of Michigan as well as Dance Masters of America. Suzette has toured the United States performing for the International Auto Show, was a featured dancer in an impersonation show derived from "Legends in Concert" and also has performed in many Industrial Shows. She is involved in all facets of the Miss America Program including title holder Miss St. Clair Shores 90-91, second runner up to Miss Michigan 91, emcee, choreographer, and has trained multiple other title holders for the Miss, Teen, and Little Miss St. Clair Shores Pageants as well as other contestants for Miss Michigan. Suzette has been involved in many competition and convention circuits as a faculty member and adjudicator including Dance Olympus, SADM, and OTDA to name a few. Suzette attained a business degree and achieved her ultimate goal: to own her own dance studio. She is now the RJDA Artistic Coordinator for Dance Education. Her personal motto, "Believe to Achieve" has gotten her this far, and she is excited for the opportunity to inspire students of all ages at RJDA to reach their goals. 

Crystal Orlando

Ms. Crystal is a mother of two daughters and has been a dance instructor for more than two decades. She has taught master classes in Myrtle Beach and has toured across the U.S. as an assistant for dance organizations such as Dance Olympus and Joel Ruminer' s Dance Camps. Crystal was the Co-Director of choreography for the U of D Jesuit High School Musical Productions for Fame, Guys and Dolls, Crazy for You, Grease, High School Musical and West Side Story. For the past 16 years she has been the director of the Small Wonders Preschool Dance Program. As an RJDA faculty member, Crystal teaches preschool Ballet and all ages and levels of Tap, Jazz, and Lyrical including award winning competition groups. It is also a priority of hers to stay current with her dance education through master classes and dance conventions. Her spunky personality and charm always has her students coming back for more. 

Beth Nizza

Ms. Beth is a graduate of Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a focus on Autism.  She has performed throughout the US and was a member and choreographer for the Central Michigan University's Orchesis Dance Theatre for many years. Ms. Beth has been on faculty touring the country at major dance conventions including Jazz on Tap on Tour, ODTA, SADM and Chicago National Association of Dance Masters as well as teaching master classes and setting competitive choreography from New Mexico to Washington DC.  As an RJDA faculty member, Beth teaches intermediate and advanced Tap as well as Lyrical and Contemporary a long with running our studio Facebook account.  Her eclectic personality and individualized approach in the classroom make her classes exciting and full of energy!

Nicole

Meredith

Ms. Nicole began her classical training in the Vaganova method at Metropolitan Ballet Center under the direction of Renée Wood. She also trained at the Annual International Ballet Seminar Summer Intensive for multiple seasons under the tutelage of ballet greats; such as Mikhail Lavrovsky, Gelsey Kirkland and Jürgen Schneider. Here she placed into the highest pre-professional level and was chosen to perform in a featured role in an original work choreographed by Mr. Lavrovsky. She continued her dance education at Wayne State University where she received a four year Talent Scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education with a Minor in Dance Education. She was a member of the WSU Dance Company and had the privilege of performing original works created by Sonya Tayeh, Chris Masters, Erica Wilson-Perkins and Samantha Shelton. Additional performance experience includes Soloist and Principle roles in Coppélia, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Paquita. Since finishing her degree, Ms. Meredith’s focus has been on her teaching career. She has been instructing and choreographing in the Metro-Detroit area since 2002. Her choreography has been recognized with numerous honors at both regional and national competitions. Her students have gone on to continue their studies at prestigious universities; including The Juilliard School, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts and Point Park Conservatory of Performing Arts. They have also been recognized with various awards and scholarships at regional and national conventions and competitions, as well as summer intensive programs; including American Ballet Theatre, Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Joffrey Ballet. Nicole’s passion is to equip her students with a solid base in classical training while evoking artistry and expression in their performance.

Joann Cusmano

Ms. Joann has enjoyed a long and diverse career as an accomplished academic and arts administrator, faculty member; professional dancer and choreographer; teacher, coach and mentor. She holds a BFA in Dance/Theatre and a MA in Administration from Marygrove College in Detroit. As a professional dancer/actress, Jo Ann performed with such companies as Detroit City Ballet Company, Michigan Ballet Theatre, Dance Detroit, Michigan Opera Theatre, to name a few. Ms. Cusmano has served on the faculty and taught dance at numerous colleges and universities, schools and dance companies, conventions and intensives including: Marygrove College in Detroit, Froebel College in London, The Royal Academy of Dance in London, Dayton Ballet Summer School, Center for Creative Studies in Detroit, R and J Intensive, In addition, JoAnn is a private ballet instructor and coach to semi-professional ice skaters and gymnasts, and is an instructor for Kinderdance®, teaching movement and dance to young children in numerous preschools and child care centers in the metropolitan Detroit area. Since 2000, she has held the position as Children’s Rehearsal Director for the Michigan Opera Theatre production of the Nutcracker Ballet at the Detroit Opera House working with the Joffrey Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet Company, Ballet International, BalletMet Columbus and the Grand Rapids Ballet Company 

Dione Hamza

Ms. Dione is a graduate from Central Michigan University majoring in Entrepreneurship as well as being the founder of Common Ground Performing Arts at CMU, and a member of the CMU Dance Team.  She grew up studying under Mary Lou Barnes and Suzette D'Andrea in styles including tap, jazz, ballet and lyrical.  She has been teaching dance for over 20 years specializing in jazz, jazz/funk and hip hop.  She currently teaches for Rhythm  N  Jump Dance Academy in St. Clair Shores, MI and MI Premier Dance CO. in Rochester Hills, MI.  Dione is also a member of Dance Masters of America proficient in Jazz and Tap.  Some of herperformance/choreography credits include “And One Mix Tape Tour” featuring E-40, A.S.I.I.D as seen on America's Best Dance Crew, Motor City Movement and many more.  Her choreography has won top awards at multiple competitions around the United States including high point, IDA nominee and people's choice.  When not teaching, she works as a Realtor in Metro Detroit and a Dance Adjudicator for Spotlight Dance Cup, StarQuest International and Impact Dance Adjudicators.  

Michelle Schmidt

Ms. Michelle is a singer/dancer/performer and has appeared all over the Metro Detroit area.  She has performed in the NFL Thanksgiving Day Half Time show and will soon be performing in Motor City Movement.  Michelle has toured the nation as a VIP for Dance Olympus working as an assistant to many big name choreographers.  As an RJDA faculty member, she teaches mini Tap and Hip Hop.  Her creativity and personal approach leaves each of her students feeling special! Dance team Coach/Choreographer for L'Anse Creuse Varsity Dance Team. RJDA Company Teacher/Choreographer for RJDA. Michelle teaches all types of dance at RJDA and the kids love her great energy and classes!

Lindsay Porter

Ms. Lindsay is a graduate of Oakland University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and a minor in Exercise Science. She has been dancing under the direction of Suzette D’Andrea since the age of 3, and has been with RJDA since its opening. Lindsay has performed with Oakland University’s Repertory Dance Company and has completed grades 1-5 Cecchetti Ballet Exams. She has had the opportunity to perform works by Ali Woerner, Thayer Jonutz, Laurie Eisenhower, Meg Paul, Alexandra Beller, and many more. As a faculty member, Lindsay teaches ballet, lyrical, and jazz as well as being part of the company faculty. Lindsay truly loves the art of dance and inspiring children of all ages to love the art form as well! 

Rachel Goral

Ms. Rachel has been with RJDA since its opening. She teaches jazz, hip hop, ballet, lyrical, and tap, but her true passion lies with jazz dance! She is a faculty member for our competition team and also teaches our amazing Adult Special Needs Program each Monday. She has been dancing since age 6 and has danced under fellow RJDA teachers before she became one herself! Miss Rachel is certified in teaching jazz and tap through Dance Masters of Michigan and has toured the US assisting professional choreographers for JOTOT.

Additionally, Ms. Rachel is an elementary school teacher with her Master’s Degree in teaching reading. Her passion and love for teaching is evident in both of her professions. 

Lisa 

Dayble

Ms. Lisa's love for dance started at age 3. She enjoyed learning many forms of dance. Lisa had the opportunity to dance for the Detroit Pistons Automotion Dance Team. She joined the team just in time for the Detroit Pistons to win the 2004 Championship! Currently, Lisa teaches Poms, Mini Hip Hop and Preschool Tap, Ballet, and Jazz at RJDA. She is excited to share her love and passion for dance with the students at RJDA!

Kristin Giacona

Ms. Kristin started dancing at the age of 3 & has over 20 years of dance experience. She has been able to follow her passion & love for dance as she has been trained in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, and Lyrical. She also has experience as a competitive dancer and has attended many dance workshops and conventions. Kristin has choreographed for her High School dance team along with being captain of her team while in High School. She is excited to teach at RJDA and has hopes to learn from her dancers as much as they learn from her. 

Savannah Dynkowski

Ms. Savannah grew up dancing at a local studio, where she immersed herself in various dance styles and eventually fell head over heels for tap dance. From there, to her high school dance team, all-star team, and pre-professional tap companies, she's been tapping her way through life! With experience choreographing for middle school, high school, and university show-choirs and musicals along with other local studios, Ms. Savannah brings a wealth of creativity and joy to her classes. She's also traveled the country to train with tap dance masters, always eager to share her knowledge and love for the art form. When she's not teaching, Ms. Savannah is a Mental Health Therapist and co-owner at Rebuilding Resilience, LLC. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Dance and Musical Theatre from Oakland University, and a Master of Social Work from The University of Michigan. Teaching at RJDA is more than a job to Ms. Savannah—it's a chance to share her passion and keep the rhythm alive. She can't wait to keep tapping into the joy of dance with her students!

Kelly Crossley

Ms. Kelly graduated from University of Detroit Mercy School of Dentistry. Kelly danced at the studio for 14 years. She was on the Lake Shore dance team all four years of high school and coached the dance team for 3 years. Kelly assisted at the studio for seven years and is now on her eighth year of teaching. The kids will love Kelly’s fun and exciting classes!

Cheyenne Lafferty

Katie Kirkum

Miss Katie earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree from Oakland University. She began dancing when she was 2 years old and has trained and competed in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and modern. Katie has performed with the Moscow Ballet in The Great Russian Nutcracker in 2012 and trained at the American Ballet Theatre Summer Intensive in 2015. Throughout her dance training, Katie has had the opportunity to work with artists such as Stephanie Pizzo, Alison Woerner, Thayer Jonutz, Elizabeth Riga, Samantha Shelton and Wes Chapman. She has danced with Repertory Dance Company where she worked with Sandra Torijano, Dusan Tynek, and Zvi Gotheiner. Katie has also had the opportunity to intern for Eisenhower Dance Detroit in 2019 and currently holds an internship with Take Root. Katie began teaching ballet, contemporary and modern to dancers in 2015 and teaches with a focus of innovation and connectivity. Katie is now attending Oakland University’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program and plans to use this education to become a dance medicine practitioner in the near future!

Mackenzie Byars

Miss Mackenzie grew up dancing at Rhythm N Jump Dance Academy and was on their competitive dance team since they first opened. She graduated from L'Anse Creuse High School where she danced for three years in the Pankow Performing Arts Dance program under the direction of Nicole Thuman and was the Captain of her Dance Team. Mackenzie is attending Macomb Community College and Oakland University where she is studying to be a Nurse. She is currently a Certified Nursing Assistant. Mackenzie has been trained in ballet, contemporary, lyrical, tap, jazz, jazz funk and hip hop under Suzette D'Andrea and RJDA faculty. Mackenzie has performed in the Nutcracker Ballet at the Detroit Opera House. She also won "Best Dancer" award at the Jazz on Tap on Tour under Tom Alexander. She is also certified in Cecchetti grades 1-3. Mackenzie has assisted Dione Hamza and Jayme Wapple in Orlando, Florida at Starquest Nationals Convention. Her love and passion for dance continues to grow and she is excited to inspire & work with other dancers.

Alyson Kirkum

Miss Alyson is currently a student at Western Michigan University studying Elementary Education and Dance. She is also a member of Western Michigan University Dance Team. Alyson was a student with Rhythm N Jump since its first year and up until she graduated high school. She taught and assisted classes throughout her time here, including the Special Needs Program, which she helped develop. She is trained in ballet, pointe, lyrical, jazz, tap, contemporary, pom and hip hop. Under the direction of Suzette D'Andrea, She is also certified in Cecchetti Grades 1-3. She was the Captain of the L’Anse Creuse High School's Varsity Dance Team under the direction of Diana Balgenorth and was apart of the Pankow Performing Arts Dance program under the direction of Nicole Thuman. She has danced in BalletMet’s production of The Nutcracker along with ABT’s production of Sleeping Beauty. She has also won scholarships through DMI, 24/7, and Nuvo at conventions. Alyson has always had a love for dance and leadership and she loves to use her knowledge from school to help better our programs. She is currently working  at Ballet Kalamazoo under their aspiring artist mentorship. She gets to choreograph and perform in their winter and spring productions and is loving every moment with her students. She is also behind all of Rhythm N Jump's social media and website posts. Alyson is so excited to teach all she knows! 

Elizabeth Gordon

Miss Elizabeth is one of our newest members of the team, as she has just recently graduated from high school! She has been a dancer her whole life and has mostly put her competitive training here at Rhythm-N-Jump! Elizabeth has experience dancing competitively and has learned under many inspiring choreographers. She has also earned multiple convention scholarships nationwide. Elizabeth had the opportunity to assist for StarQuest Nationals 2022. In addition to dancing competitively, Elizabeth also danced for the L’Anse Creuse High School Varsity Dance Team for 4 years under Diana Balgenorth. During high school, she also attended the Pankow dance program for 4 years under Nicole Thuman. Currently, Elizabeth attends Macomb Community College and would like to go into nursing. Although this is Elizabeth’s 1st year of teaching, she eventually would love to become a professional dancer!  She is so excited to continue teaching her passion to her students!