Neu Wixom Dance

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Meet the Staff!

Neu Wixom Dance Academy is proud to have an all-adult staff of instructors who are educated professionals in their respective fields.   Neu Wixom dance teachers continue their own education and teacher training by attending national master classes, dance teacher training programs, courses, workshops and conventions.  Every Neu Wixom dance instructor is passionate about teaching all ages and abilities, from pre-school dance to adult dance.  We love what we do and it shows! 

Gina Thompson – Owner/Director

A native of Plymouth, Michigan, Gina discovered her passion for dance when she was five years old.  Throughout her childhood, she studied and competed dance, figure skating and gymnastics within the metropolitan Detroit area.  During her high school years, she attended Bunny Sanford’s School of Dance.  As a teen, Gina was accepted into Jazz Dance Theatre’s Youth Company, a professional Jazz dance company in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She graduated magna cum laude from Western Michigan University, where she completed her studies in Dance, Creative Writing and World Literature.  During her time in college, Gina had the privilege of studying with and performing for internationally renowned Ballet, Jazz and Modern masters such as Kathleen Hermsdorf, Donald McKayle and Derrick Evans, to name a few.  One of her most memorable honors during her time in college was being selected to perform the contemporary African piece entitled Lynching: Then and Now (Trudy Cobb) at the 2000 Martin Luther King Convocations at Miller Auditorium in Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Before leaving WMU, Gina took her studies abroad to the inspiring city of Prague in the Czech Republic.  There, she studied dance, photography and poetry.  She has also traveled to Germany on several occasions where she has studied German history and the German language.  Upon college graduation, Gina initiated summer dance classes for children ages 4-14 for the CARE program in the Novi Community School District.  She also taught kindergarten through 12th grade as a substitute teacher in the Wayne-Westland Community Schools.  Gina has been a performer, dance instructor and an award-winning choreographer for dance studios in the Metro-Detroit area.  Although she has taught many different styles of dance and gymnastics to all ages, her teaching specialties remain Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Acro and Pre-School dance.  Before opening Neu Wixom Dance Academy in 2006, Gina implemented the team dance program at Splitz Gymnastics in Canton, Michigan.  She spent several years there as the dance director, team dance instructor and a pre-school and recreational gymnastics coach.  Since then, Gina has maintained a close relationship with the gymnastics and figure skating communities as she continues to teach dance, flexibility and conditioning, and breath-work to competitive athletes throughout the Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor areas.  Forever dance students, Gina and her dedicated teaching staff work hard to continue their own dance education training through national teacher-training programs, master classes, workshops, conferences and conventions.  Gina specifically holds a deep interest in kinesiology, injury-prevention and physical therapy.  It is Gina’s greatest hope to help develop and share in ALL of her student’s passions for learning and dancing.  Miss Gina would like to be the first to welcome you to Neu Wixom Dance Academy!

Brianna Bennett head shot 2016

Brianna Bennett

Brianna is a native Michigander and began dancing at the age of 5.  She quickly developed a love for dance and continued her training in Ballet (both Cechetti and Vaganova methods), Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Belly Dancing.  She began performing her own choreography at age 10, then started teaching beginner level Tap, Jazz and Ballet at age 13.  As a teenager, Brianna attended the highly esteemed dance program for multiple years at Blue Lakes Fine Arts Camp.  She also studied under the direction of Jefferson Baum and Moscow-based Ballet dancer Dmitri Roudnev.  From 1992-1998, Brianna attended and competed in the dance competition circuit, both as a performer and choreographer, with 5-6-7-8! Dance! Company.  Later, while training with the Elizabeth Williams School of Dance, she also gained many years of performing experience, including lead roles, in shows like the Nutcracker, Pas De Quartre and Hansel and Gretel to name a few.  Other stage and performing experiences include stage management, costume design and specialty prop and stage fighting training.  Brianna has worked with stage fight choreographer Brett Eckhart to learn stage combat, and then she and Brett went on to co-choreograph battle scenes for the Nutcracker.  Other credits include performing as a back up dancer for Lansing-based singer Twyla Birdsong, and auditioning dancers/performers and planning a celebrity birthday party.  We are so happy to have Brianna as a part of the Neu Wixom Family and she is thrilled to be able to share her passion for dance with her students!  

Danielle Carney (head shot coming soon!)

Danielle’s love for dance began at 4 with her first dance class at Bunny Sanford’s School of Dance. Her passion grew and she joined her studios’ Ensemble Company, the Plymouth Canton Nutcracker Company, and Churchill High Schools’ Creative and Performing Arts Programs (CAPA).  Danielle has received extensive summer training from American Ballet Theatre Texas, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Hope College, Orlando Ballet, and River North Dance Company. During her last two years of high school, Danielle taught ballet, jazz, and modern at her home studio.  She holds achievements in passing Grade I-V professional level examination from the Cecchetti Council of America.  Danielle received her Bachelor of.Arst in Dance from Western Michigan University.  After graduation, she moved to Chicago where she took a variety of classes/genres during her 7 years of big city living.  While continuing to find ways to stay active, Danielle dove deep into the physical and mental awareness of yoga.  Through the Yoga Alliance, she became a certified 300hr Registered Yoga Teacher in power flow vinysa and sculpt (yoga w/weights).  Most recently, Danielle became a certified fitness ‘Barre’ instructor.  Danielle and her husband recently moved back to Livonia, where they are expecting their 1st baby boy at the end of September. She will resume her role of Office Manager and Ballet Instructor after her maternity leave.  We are so fortunate to have Danielle and her family join the Neu Wixom Family and she is excited to share her passion for teaching dance with all of her students!

 Katie Minnich

Katie Caroncino 

Katie is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia. She started studying Ballet at the age of 3 and quickly discovered her passion for dance at a young age.  At age 7, she also began studying Modern and Jazz. She was a member of her childhood dance studio’s performing company for several years. As Katie continued her dance training throughout middle and high school, it soon became clear to her that she wanted to become a professional dancer. She attended college at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA, where received a Bachelor’s of the Arts in Dance Performance.  While in college, she expanded her dance and teaching skills in Modern, Contemporary, Improvisation, and Choreography.  Katie danced in numerous faculty works throughout her college years. She also enjoyed choreographing several dances for her fellow classmates, which were later selected to perform in student showcases. Throughout college, Katie also danced at Todd Rosenlieb Dance Center in Norfolk, VA. There, she stayed busy taking classes, and she was a dancer and choreographer for the performing ensemble.  Upon graduating in 2012, she moved to Michigan where she is pursuing her new passion for teaching dance.  In addition to teaching at Neu Wixom, Katie is also a rehabilitation technician and front office coordinator for a physical therapy office in Plymouth.  Furthermore, she in the process of becoming a certified Yoga instructor and she will be offering Yoga at Neu Wixom starting in January 2016! Katie continues her own dance and fitness training by taking classes and taking advantage of continuing education seminars/workshops for teachers.  She is very excited to bring her knowledge and passion for dance to her students.  We are so happy to have Katie be a part of the Neu Wixom family! 

Lisa Dietz 

Originally from the Detroit area, Lisa is a graduate of Ohio State University’s Department of Dance with a BFA in Dance Education.  She began dancing at the age of 3 and has been sharing her love of dance with her students for over 20 years. Teaching dance is her calling and she believes that teaching dance is a means to teaching life skills.  She has performed professionally with Annex Dance Company, Charleston Characters Dance Company, Coalesce Dance Company, Louisville Ballet and others.  Lisa’s choreography has been presented at various festivals and venues including the North Charleston Arts Festival, Piccolo Spoleto Arts Festival, Jail Break Arts Festival, Charleston Dance Festival, Enough Pie’s Fieldwork and by the Dance Moves Youth Company, Charleston’s only modern dance-based performance company for youth.  She has also had the opportunity to marry her passion for dance education with her belief in outreach and community service.  To that end, she has taught a series of empowering workshops for young girls called Girls Dancing, the Now & Next Dance Mentoring Project and BalletMet’s education outreach program, Momentum.  After living in Charleston, South Carolina for several years, Lisa has now returned home to Michigan.   We are so lucky to have her join the Neu Wixom Family and she is excited to share her passion with her students!  

Conan Parzuchowski

Conan grew up in Michigan.  He started gymnastics at age seven and has been involved in the sport ever since.  After graduating high school, he was accepted to the University of Michigan’s Men’s Gymnastics Team where he spent all 4 years of college as a leader and top competitor on the team.  Some highlights of his gymnastics career include winning the prestigious All American Award three times for the Still Rings at University of Michigan, and placing Big Ten Runner-Up for a position as the captain of the 2004 Olympic team.  Upon graduating from U of M with a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, Conan accepted a teaching position as an elementary school teacher in Baltimore, Maryland where he taught math and science.  For many years, Conan has also enjoyed coaching gymnastics and tumbling at gymnastics academies, cheer studios and at summer camps through out Michigan.  His former gymnastics students have gone on to be collegiate-level competitors and champions at the State, Regional, and National level.  Conan is currently changing careers as he is completing his second Bachelor’s degree at Eastern Michigan to teach science at the High School level.  Conan genuinely loves teaching gymnastics and tumbling to children of all ages and abilities.  He is especially passionate about teaching correct technique and alignment so that students can achieve strong technique and skills, while also preventing injuries.  Conan encourages parents to feel free to discuss their children’s acro and tumbling progress with him since it can be very different than the dance instruction they may also be receiving at Neu Wixom.  We are very lucky to have Conan as part of the Neu Wixom Family! 

 IMG_0016 ALEX edited

Alexandria Soria 

Alex is from Hazel Park, Michigan which is where she actually began her dance career as a gymnast and cheerleader.  She discovered her love for tumbling in high school, where she quickly excelled in cheerleading and stunting for all four years.  After high school she was selected to teach on staff for the traveling cheer camp Cheer! Michigan.  While traveling throughout the state, she was able to further her own talents while also learning how to teach and properly spot gymnastics.  At age 19, Alex began focusing more on dance when she began studying breakdancing here at Neu Wixom Dance Academy under the direction of our very own Julie Bielawski.  It was during this time that she also discovered her passion for Hip Hop and teaching.  By age 20, she began focusing and fine-tuning her dance training as she began studying under renowned Detroit choreographers and dancers in other dance genres in including Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical and Contemporary.  Currently, Alex serves as one of the creative directors and dancers for the well-known, Detroit based professional group Next Level Dance Company.  She and her crew have performed professionally and competed in many cities throughout Michigan, and around the country including Chicago and Los Angeles.  They have also opened up for artists such as Bone Thugs N Harmony, and competed and placed at World of Dance Chicago.  Currently, Alex is a dance major at Marygrove college in Detroit, Michigan.  She continues her dance training not only at Marygrove, but also with attending workshops, classes, and intensives.  Alex is a nurturing teacher who loves to encourage her students to reach higher levels in their dance training.  We are very excited that Alex is back with the Neu Wixom family now as a teacher!   

Alexz Srock, L.M.T 

Hailing from the Metro Detroit area, Alexz is a licensed massage therapist of Michigan and graduate of Irene’s Myomassology Institute. Prior to working in massage therapy, she has been involved with teaching and the performing arts for over ten years. Her passion for dance began at a young age and grew as she was a member of several competitive dance teams throughout the area, one of which gave her the privilege to perform choreography in 2007 by Stacey Tookey and Nick Lazzarini.  Alexz studied the Cecchetti method of ballet and was a performer for many years with the Livonia Civic Ballet Company. Traveling to cities like L.A., New York and Chicago she attended workshops and intensives taught by many of her favorite teachers including Joe Tremaine, Doug Caldwell, Finis Jhung, Brian Friedman, Mia Michaels, Wade Robson– and many, many others. Around the age of thirteen she was assisting in class, and began her own classes after high school teaching a variety of styles and ages. A graduate from Wayne State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Dance, she attended college and professional level summer classes that focused on improvisation and modern dance through Salt Dance Fest at University of Utah, and Bill Evans Somatic Dance Conference at SUNY Brockport.  In 2015, Alexz was the Student Assistant Director for her college’s student dance company, which included choreographing for the company and teaching workshops for students in Detroit and Windsor. She also worked behind-the-scenes in many roles interning with Kristi Faulkner Dance, as well as with Hawaii Performing Arts Festival where she interned as Assistant to the Artistic Director. Her interest in dance media has carried into producing for the television show Metro Arts Detroit and working on short films with It’s A R.A.P. Productions.  Alexz enjoys bringing the healing and creative arts together to better serve the education of her dancers. Her unique experience with dance training makes her a invaluable therapist and dance teacher with a diverse repertoire of therapeutic techniques which focus on releasing tension and facilitating movement.  We very fortunate to have Alexz join the Neu Wixom Family as both a dance teacher and massage therapist!

IMG_0023 JULIE edited

 Julie Wilson 

Julie began dancing as young as she can remember to R & B and Motown music.  Early on as a figure skater, she excelled in Ballet as part of her conditioning off of the ice, where she became more involved with her own freestyle choreography.  After high school, Julie immersed herself into the dance industry and began studying in depth in Chicago and Los Angeles, where she began singing and dancing professionally.  After moving to Los Angeles, she continued her dance training by continuously taking classes and attending conventions and competitions.  She landed jobs in print work and in commercials for Toyota, Southwest and Kellogg’s, and she also worked with The Second City.   Some of her mentors include Hama, Richard Perry, and Jaime Rogers – all of which each have more than 40 years in the entertainment industry.  Commercial work soon led Julie to begin studying all genres of dance and she begin teaching in 2000.  Julie loves to teach and one of her favorite aspects of teaching is helping her students to discover their own talent.  She specializes in teaching Hip Hop/Street, Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, and various Latin styles.  When she is not teaching, Julie is busy continuing her freelance work by performing and choreographing, and taking workshops/master classes whenever she can.  She is currently singing and dancing here in Michigan in an upcoming stage production of Mary Poppins.  Julie is excited to share her passion for dance with her students.  We are happy to have Julie as part of the Neu Wixom family!  

 Allyson Young headshot

Allyson Young

Always an active child,  Allyson’s innate love of movement,  music, and creativity was evident from an early age.  She loved doing endless cartwheels impelling her parents to enroll her in gymnastics at age 4. She began her dance career by starting Ballet at age 5 at Sylvia’s Studio of Dance in Ann Arbor, Michigan.  She found her true love at age 6 when she began studying Tap dance with her teacher, and eventual  mentor, Sara Randazzo at Randazzo Dance Studio in Ypsilanti. Over the span of 20 years, Allyson enjoyed learning and expanding her dance experience, including numerous Tap and Jazz workshops with accomplished dancers such as Sam Weber, Ed Kresley, Josh Hilberman, and Paula Skimin to name a few. She studied various forms of Tap including traditional, rhythm, funk, Irish, and improvisational. During her years with Randazzo she was a member of Ypsilanti Area Dancers performing in many annual concerts. Allyson was also a founding member of dance group Sole Full of Rhythm, and enjoyed countless performances at festivals, schools, libraries, and concerts, often working with live musicians. She also gained production experience working behind the scenes to ensure that the show would go on.  Growing up with her mother owning an in-home daycare, Allyson developed a love for working with children at a young age. Her first job at 16 was as her mother’s assistant overseeing fun after-school activities for up to twelve children at a time. She was thrilled  to  bring two of her main loves together when she became a children’s dance instructor for Randazzo in 2002, teaching primarily Tap and Jazz. Allyson loves to incorporate her past experience with all varieties of dance into her choreography, instills strong technique and musicality, and encourages the creativity and confidence of each of her young students.  We are thrilled to have Allyson as a part of our Neu Wixom family!