Meet the Staff
Creative Director & Owner
North Royalton Dance Academy (NRDA) is proudly spearheaded by one of the nation’s elite dance instructors. Amy Stauffer has a dance resume second to none in Northeast Ohio. A dancer from the age of five, Amy has studied and performed on some of the most elite stages the world has to offer. Amy specializes in the genres of jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, tap, cheer and ballet.
Amy has been instructing since her high school days, where she studied dance and choreography at the esteemed Harrison Arts Center campus at Lakeland High School in Florida. Her dedication and rigorous work earned Amy a full scholarship to the University of Central Florida where she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree. Amy’s college dance team competed at UDA and her senior year finished 5th in the nation. Amy was also a dancer and coach of the team her last 2 years of school. Upon graduation, Amy jumped into in the professional dance world.
Amy’s world renowned performances have included stops in New York City, Las Vegas, Paris, and Canada. Amy was recruited to perform for World Tours of artists such as Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson. She has also had the honor to perform at Disney’s Magic Kingdom for 2 seasons. Amy then took her talents into professional sports where she headlined multiple dance teams such as the National Basketball Association’s Orlando Magic, and the Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators.
Prior to launching NRDA, Amy co-owned a dance studio in New Jersey with her sister. She has taught and choreographed since 2004, earning many top awards at local and regional competitions. The studio has a highly admired reputation for being a fun and structured environment for all levels of dancers. Amy has also toured all over the states teaching master classes.
The Stauffer family resides in North Royalton. Amy, and her husband Jeremy, have 3 young children, Corlyn, JJ, and Luke.
Erin Jester has been studying dance since the age of 3. For 4 summers, she performed at Cedar Point in the Live Entertainment shows as a singer/dancer and was nominated as Best Female Performer for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions.
Erin graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Music Therapy and Dance Performance. In college, she studied jazz, modern, ballet, pointe ballet and tap. During high school, she studied for 15 years and focused her studies on jazz, ballet, pointe ballet, tap, tumbling and lyrical during those years.
Erin is also a music therapist and owner of Beyond Words: Music and Dance Center to provide music lessons/classes and adapted dance classes for students with special needs, specializing in the autism spectrum disorder. Her training and experience in ABA and VB techniques are incorporated in her music therapy practice. Check out Beyond Words online at www.beyondwordscenter.org.
Erin is a step-mom to Hailie and Avery and lives with her husband, Rob in Strongsville. She is excited to share her passion of dance with the students at North Royalton Dance Academy.
Morgan loves teaching hip hop at NRDA. She is originally from North Royalton and started dancing when she was 3, but was so shy and didn’t go back to dancing until she was 7. She has studied all types of dance, but her favorite is hip hop and tap. She is a former NR Bear’s cheerleader and also cheered at Baldwin Wallace. Miss Morgan is a second grade teacher in Brunswick and is currently finishing her Masters in Literacy. Miss Morgan enjoys all the time she spends with her dance kids and students.
Melissa loves cheerleading and gymnastics and is looking forward to teaching Acro this year! She is currently studying Education, Child Development and Spanish at The University of Akron. She has cheered at North Coast All Stars most of her life as well as North Royalton High School, The University of Akron, and Baldwin Wallace College. She also participated in gymnastics and dance throughout her youth. Ms. Melissa has instructed many recreational camps, encouraged confidence through movement and gymnastics at The Little Gym, and has experience coaching all levels of tumbling as well as All Star Cheerleading. She absolutely loves working with children and helping them to achieve their goals, inside and out of the studio.
Malorie grew up in Bountiful, Utah and started dancing when she was 4 years old. She has trained in jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, and hip-hop for just over 20 years. She has trained all across the country from LA to New York under the direction of world renowned choreographers. Malorie was chosen as one of NYCDA’s regional Outstanding Dancers in 2007. In 2008 she was chosen as a regional Dance Sterling Scholar recipient. She was captain of her drill team in high school and afterwards coached the team for 4 years continuing their 6 year streak of state championships. Malorie was a Utah Jazz Dancer for 6 years and has traveled with the NBA to London, Madrid, and Shanghai performing and dancing at beautiful locations. She has been teaching and choreographing for 8 years and loves every minute of it.
Sarah grew up in Dayton, Ohio and began dancing at the age of 3. She has been trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, and tap. She began dancing on her studio’s competition team at a young age and continued throughout high school, winning top awards. Sarah continued dancing throughout college on Bowling Green State University’s Dance Team. She danced on the team for 3 years and had the opportunity to compete nationally. Sarah was the assistant coach for the team for 1 year before moving home to Dayton where she taught at her childhood studio. She has been teaching dance with NRDA for 2 years as well as teaching adaptive dance with Beyond Words: Music and Dance Center. Ms. Sarah is currently a first year teacher at a school for students who have special needs. She loves seeing all her her dancers weekly and can’t wait to see how they progress throughout the year!
Liane began her dance career at the age of 6. Her first classes were in ballet, tap, and jazz. As she got older, she also studied lyrical, hip hop, and pointe. She spent several years competing regionally and nationally earning top honors on an elite competition team. During those years, she took numerous classes with renown choreographers, including Dee Caspary and Ray Leeper whose work has been featured on So You Think You Can Dance. She also studied closely for 2 years with the amazing tap instructor/choreographer Mark Goodman. After high school, Ms. Liane spent her college years dancing on the Youngstown State University dance team as well as choreographing and dancing for the YSU dance ensemble. She also studied college level ballet, jazz, contemporary, and modern dance. She earned her bachelor of science degree in early childhood education. After college, she moved to Las Vegas where she participated in many adult ballet, jazz, and contemporary classes. While there, she also studied 2 years of ballroom dance, specializing in rhumba, salsa, and cha cha (as well as waltz, tango, and samba). Ms. Liane spent many years as a first grade teacher and loves working with children and seeing them grow and learn. She is very excited for the opportunity to join the amazing NRDA staff this year and share her talent and love of learning and dance with the community.
Courtney Jankovic-Bakula, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, received the majority of her dance training at the School of Cleveland San Jose Ballet under the direction of Dennis Nahat. Other schools she spent formative years at were Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and North Carolina Dance Theatre as a scholarship recipient. She then proceeded on to dance professionally with several companies including the Minnesota Ballet, Ohio Dance Theatre, Sierra Nevada Ballet, and Fargo Moorhead Ballet. There, she enjoyed touring and performing multiple lead roles in various ballets such as Swan Lake, Coppelia, Carmen, Cinderella, Dracula,George Balanchine’s Valse Fantaisie, Giselle, and the Nutcracker, featured as Sugar Plum, Dewdrop, Snow Queen, and Arabian, as well as numerous other repertoire works. Some of her favorite roles include Aurora in Ohio Dance Theatre’s production of Sleeping Beauty and the title role in The Firebird. More recently, Courtney had the opportunity to perform overseas in Australia with the Tasmanian Classical Ballet Company featured as a soloist in Les Sylphides, Peter and the Wolf, and the premieres of Illusions and Ode to V. Currently, she continues to dance and perform with Ohio Dance Theatre and Sierra Nevada Ballet. She also serves as a dance instructor and choreographer in the Northeast Ohio area and is pursuing a physical therapist assistant degree.
Rachel is starting her first season at NRDA and could not be more excited! Rachel began dancing at the age of 4 and quickly gravitated towards ballet. Throughout years of studying with some of the most prominent ballet instructors in the Northeast Ohio area, Rachel spent her summers dancing in programs with Ohio Dance Theatre and Broadway Dance Center.
Rachel graduated high school with plans to attend Point Park University to study ballet, when she quickly realized she wanted to pair her love of dance with her passion of music. She began a new journey at Mercyhurst University where she studied Music Education and Dance for two years. Plans changed again, excitingly, when Rachel transferred to Baldwin Wallace University in 2010 where she began studying in the Conservatory’s prestigious Music Education program. She continued studying Dance and Choreography under the instruction of Sara Whale. Rachel choreographed in three of Baldwin Wallace’s dance concerts with her inspiration lying in collaborative and improvisational techniques.
While studying as a pianist with Dr. Robert Mayerovitch and Professor Mary Dobrea, Rachel was exposed to Dalcroze Eurhythmics and began professional studies of the method under the instruction of Jeremy Dittus at the Dalcroze School of the Rockies in 2013. She is in the process of completing her Dalcroze Certification, combining Eurhythmics, Ear Training, and Improvisation into one approach to teaching Music and Movement. Rachel’s desire to combine her background of Music and Movement together was highly encouraged by Monica Dale, a professor at the Dalcroze School of the Rockies Professional Studies Summer Institute. Monica danced professionally and provided great inspiration to Rachel’s interest in teaching dancers to react to music in a different way.
Rachel teaches Music and Movement at Central School, Brecksville-Broadview Heights City School District, her alma mater, to over 500 4th and 5th grade students. Her approach is rare in a public school setting, where students use Movement as the motivator, stimulator and regulator to experiencing Music. Previously to this, Rachel directed the Vocal Programs at BBH Middle School. She enjoyed directing and choreographing Beauty and the Beast Jr there. Some of her other Music & Choreographic Direction experiences include shows such as: Jesus Christ Superstar, Sweet Charity, and South Pacific.
Rachel lives in Sagamore Hills with her Rabbit, “Rabbie”, close to family and her fiance, Joe. They are busy planning for their Fall wedding on September 9th, 2017!
Theresa began going to NRDA in 2012 and has been spending more time there each year since with her two daughters, Peyton and Madeline. The girls feel as if it is a second home, their parents are happy to have found such a safe and nurturing environment. Theresa works the front desk at NRDA, she enjoys helping and getting to know all the kids and parents. When not at NRDA, Theresa is an RN, she is the Director of Nursing and has been with her company for 30 years.
Becky took her first dance class at two years old. She loved her dance studio growing up because it felt like you were a part of a family. When it was time for her to look for a studio for her 2 daughters she wanted to be sure to pass that same “dance family ” feel on to them. As fate would have it, she met Ms.Amy right before NRDA opened for their first season and has been a part of NRDA ever since. She is married to her high school sweet heart and stays busy with their 4 children but you can find her behind the desk at NRDA on Monday nights. If you ever have questions or need help with anything she is always glad to help.
Amy is a proud dance mom of Hailey and soccer/football/basketball mom of Benjamin. In addition to working the NRDA front desk and leading the efforts backstage during recitals, she works full time as an Engineer at FirstEnergy. She also volunteers at St. Albert the Great as the Cheer Coordinator and chairs a few of the school’s annual events. Her husband Dan likes to lend a hand around the studio and proudly owns the title Prop Daddy.