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UPSTAGE CENTER OF PERFORMING ARTS STAFF

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Jenny Griffes, owner/director

Jenny started her dance career 25 years ago at a local non-profit, where she grew a small program into a thriving school with a successful competition team.   She is a guest teacher at private studios in the Charlotte area.  In addition,  Jenny also has contracted with high school musical theater productions and City of Charlotte events, receiving awards for her work.   Jenny's certifications include Rhythm Works Integrative Dance, which provides the tools to successfully teach dance to kids with Autism, Down syndrome & special needs students, Dance Masters of America and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance.  She is also an active member of  Dance Studio Owners Association.  A believer in continuing her training, Jenny has attended workshops with Rhee Gold, Anne Green-Gilbert (Brain-Compatible Dance Education), Duane Pitman (Little People's Creative Workshop), Leap N' Learn, Kindermusik, Preschool Dance Teachers Workshop, and Studio Success Formula.   Jenny's philosophy is to help students find their own creativity and help them achieve personal goals through movement. ​ She enjoys traveling, cooking and recently completed her 17th half marathon.  

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Ashley Baker, owner/competition director 

Ashley has 16 years of experience in the dance industry as an instructor and manager.  She received her BA in dance education and her graduate certificate in arts administration from the University of North Carolina Charlotte,   She has received numerous awards as a tap dancer and as a choreographer.   Ms. Ashley has extensive experience working with young children in dance as well as in a preschool setting.   She grew up as a competitive dancer in Mint Hill and now enjoys managing the competition team for UCPA.     

 

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Isabella Good

Ms. Isabella is trained in contemporary, modern, jazz, hip hop, pointe and tap.  In addition to her dance training,  Dancing since age 3, her favorite styles are tap and contemporary.  Isabella had opportunities to mentor and lead groups of young children, including dance clubs and serving as the president of her school's chapter of National Honor Society and also played in an award winning drum line.  She believes extracurricular activities can build disciple, respect and leadership.   She is now a student a UNC Charlotte studying biology and dance. She loves  Panthers football, shopping on Amazon, reading and draying.  When she is not dancing, she spends time with her two dogs and bearded dragon. .  She is a fan of Disney and Taylor Swift.  
 

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Paige Lee, Instructor

Ms Paige is a children's fitness, dance, tumbling and yoga instructor.  She is also a registered behavior technician serving children with autism spectrum disorder and related disabilities.  Paige embodies kind communication, adaptability, creativity and collaboration in her work with children and adults.  We are excited to have Paige as part of our team! 
 

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Heather Freire

Heather has been dancing and teaching for over 25 years and received her Bachelor of
Performing Arts degree from Oklahoma City University in 2003. Heather has danced
with multiple companies such as: Joseph Allen Decker Dance Co., Deborah Brockus
Project Dance Co., Kybele Dance Co., and The Illinois Ballet to name a few. Heather completed two contracts with Holland America Cruise Line, where she was Dance Captain as well as a featured dancer, traveling throughout Hawaii and Alaska, East/West Caribbean, and Panama Canal. She has enjoyed performing throughout the United States as well in Sydney, Australia and Beijing, China.
Heather has had an extensive amount of dance training in the following styles: Ballet,
Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, Contemporary, Musical Theater and Hip Hop. Heather has enhanced
her training by attending workshops with the infamous Donald O’Connor, Leonard Reed,
Rhonda Miller, Dana Michaels, Debbi Dee, and Scott Benson.
While attending OCU, she helped create A Chance to Dance program that emphasized
dance movement as an outlet for emotionally disturbed children in the St. Anthony’s
Hospital Children’s ward in Oklahoma City. Furthermore, Heather was a dancer for
UNICEF with choreographer June Taylor and special guests Audrey Hepburn and Liza
Minnelli.

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Nicolette Agosto

Nicolette’s love for education began at the age of 13 while assisting her first dance class. Since this time, she has taught both recreational and competitive dancers and also continued her education  at UNC Charlotte where she received her BA in Dance. After college she spent time working as a professional dancer and cheerleader in Charlotte, Atlanta, and New York. Her love for teaching quickly took over and that has been her main focus for the last 18 years. As a Dance Teacher,Nicolette feels that it is important for her students to feel confident, motivated and inspired at all times and that they are in an environment they feel comfortable in. Nicolette wants to see her students succeed, be proud of their accomplishments and enjoy all of the hard work and dedication they put into dance.

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