Rachael Cierniakoski

Ballet and Pointe Instructor

Rachael Cierniakoski began her dance training at age 8 with the Rafael Grigorian Ballet Theater under Artistic Director and former Kirov soloist Rafael Grigorian. Rachael is a graduate of Mercyhurst University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude  with a B.A. in Dance and Arts Administration. She has also trained through summer programs and residencies with Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Bruce Marks, Laura Alonso, Vivi Flindt, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, Dutch National Ballet, and Nederlands Dans Theater.

Previously Rachael has performed with and instructed classes for Lake Erie Ballet, has taught college level ballet and pointe classes at Mercyhurst University, and managed and instructed for La Luna Dance Studio, a 600-student school in the Philadelphia area. She currently teaches ballet and pointe at Ballet & Dance of Upstate NY and is the Ballet Mistress & Company Manager for Syracuse City Ballet.

Lynea D’Aprix

Modern, Contemporary and Jazz Instructor

Lynea D’Aprix is a BFA graduate of The College at Brockport. Her artistic style is composed of athleticism, kinesthetic exploration, internal complexity, and of some theatrical influence. She has studied with incredible artists such as William Evans, David Dorfman, Doug Varone, Monica Bill Barnes, Netta Yerushalmy, Arrie Davidson, Alexandra Beller, Laura Peterson, Karl Rogers, James Hansen, and many others. She thrives with innovation, risk taking, and has a persistent curiosity that propels her students and her own evolution as dancers.

Kristen Davis

Jazz and Tap instructor

Kristen began her dance training at the age of 7 and spent many years training with Ballet and Dance of Upstate NY. As a member of the Syracuse City Ballet, formerly Upstate NY Ballet, she performed Corps de Ballet roles in several productions including Snow White, Peter Pan, Aladdin, and Dracula and performed both corps and soloist roles in the 2001 production of Sleeping Beauty. Kristen went on to study dance and biology at William Smith College in Geneva, NY. She now holds a Masters of Science degree from Syracuse University in Nutrition Science and is a Pediatric Registered Dietitian at Upstate University Hospital. Kristen periodically holds nutrition workshops for dancers and is available for individual nutrition counseling for both children and adults.

Melissa Gould

Jazz and Tap Instructor

Ms. Gould has more than 25 years experience in all disciplines of dance, and has been choreographing in the Syracuse area for more than 20 years. Her areas of expertise include lyrical and commercial style jazz, funk, tap and character dance, as well as set and costume design. Ms. Gould has appeared in Syracuse City Ballet’s productions of Swan Lake, Snow White, Cinderella and Dracula, and also has appeared with the Syracuse Opera. She has choreographed many original works for the Armory Square Candlelight Series, most notably the “Fireman’s Waltz’, as well as Harbor Fests and many other community events. Ms. Gould has appeared on stage with a number of various schools and performing arts companies including Sophisticated Productions, dancing with such names as Gus Giordano and Mark Santoro. In addition to her instruction with Ballet & Dance, she has been a consultant for local gymnastic dance teams. A devoted teacher who emphasizes technique, dedication and discipline in a fun and exciting atmosphere, Ms. Gould is an asset to the staff of Ballet and Dance of Upstate New York.

Ann Owen

Ballet Instructor

A native of Syracuse, New York,  Ann Owen began ballet studies at age ten with David Shields. At twelve she received a scholarship to the North Carolina School of the Arts, and at sixteen she was invited to study at the School of American Ballet under a full Ford Foundation scholarship.  There she completed the professional division and performed in annual SAB Workshops under the direction of George Balanchine, Alexandra Danilova, Suki Schorer and Andrei Kramarevsky.  She was also fortunate to study with Maggie Black, Marjorie Mussman, Richard Thomas, Twyla Tharp, The Paul Taylor Dance Company and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance.  Her professional performing career was as a soloist with the Cleveland Ballet, dancing classical and contemporary roles.  After receiving a B.A. in Literature from SUNY Purchase, she joined the faculty of the SUNY Purchase Youth Ballet and subsequently served as its program director. In addition to teaching in Cleveland, and the NY metropolitan area, Ann was a full-time faculty member at the Stamford City Ballet under the direction of Allegra Kent. Her dance career also includes training in Dance Education from both the New York City Center Teaching Artists Program and The 92nd Street Y’s Dance Education Laboratory.  Ann is an ABT Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 5 of the ABT National Training Curriculum.

Maryann Page

Ballet and Pointe Instructor

Maryann was raised in North Carolina where she studied ballet at the Raleigh School of Ballet and performed the lead and soloist roles with Raleigh Dance Theater. She spent her summers engaged in top level training with the Pennsylvania Ballet, Boston Ballet, Richmond Ballet and the Atlanta Ballet. After graduating from high school, Maryann pursued a BS in Biology at Saint Mary’s College in South Blend, Indiana. During that time, she continued her dancing, performing lead roles with Southold Dance Theater in various contemporary and classical workds, including the Nutcracker, Swan Lake and Coppelia. Maryann joined Syracuse City Ballet in 2000 and has performed soloist roles in the company’s productions of Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Dracula and Cinderella and Snow White. She also choreographed and performed in the 2002 and 2003 Armory Square Candlelight Series. In addition to being a multitalented dance teacher, Maryann holds MS degrees from SUNY-ESF and Syracuse University and is a faculty member in the Biology department at Onondaga Community College.