Syracuse School of Dance

The Faculty

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The Faculty

MARY PAT SPENO, Owner & Artistic Director A popular, talented and energetic teacher, Mary Pat has taught at the SSD since its conception. She performed in musicals for Salt City Playhouse and Syracuse Musical Theatre and choreographed for the “Festival of Nations”, Jamesville-Dewitt Schools, wasthe creator and director of the Dance Workshop Ensemble; and participated in the Baldwinsville’s Arts in School program. Mary Pat also choreographs for ice skaters and has been part of the Litz Team Skating Seminars in Lake Placid. A long-time student of Lorraine Havercroft and Gus Giordano (Chicago), Mary Pat has also studied at Le Ballet Jazz, Montreal, and Alvin Ailey, New York City. She will teach Jazz and Ballet, and serves as Artistic Director of the Syracuse Contemporary Dance Company.



Laurie has taught, choreographed and performed with SSD since 1984. She was dance faculty for Syracuse University and has a Masters degree in Dance and Dance Education from NYU where she studied Limon, Graham and Cunningham techniques. Laurie will also serve as the new office manager for SSD.



 Along  with  having  her  masters' degree  in  education  from  Syracuse University, Helen has studied dance on Long Island at the LeRoy School of Dance and with Muriel Daks. She has also studied at Ballet Arts, New York School of Dance and Steps in Manhattan. She continues a long affiliation with SSD.



Whitney has been dancing for over 20 years and teaching for 11. She earned a BA at SUNY Geneseo and an MS in Education at the College of St. Rose. In both locations she taught, choreographed and performed with the Orchesis, Geneseo Dance Ensemble, the Young Actors Guild, Maud Baum & Company and the eba Center for Dance.


 Barbara has studied ballet, musical theater, jazz, modern, and tap locally and with Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Rennie Harris and Garth Fagen. She received her degree in Exercise Science and Dance at Syracuse University and has a New York State Teaching Certificate in Dance Education. 


Christina began her extensive dance training at the center of Ballet and Dance Arts, with Deborah Boughton, in ballet, jazz, and modern. She graduated from Syracuse University, where she was involved in the DanceWorks program, and had the opportunity to learn from and work with Laurie DeyoChristina has been teaching dance for several years at a variety of places including Syracuse University and Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse. She has been the Spring Musical choreographer at CBA for over twenty years staging a variety of shows including 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls, Footloose, and A Chorus Line.


Brandon has been dancing and studying Hip Hop, Musical Theater and Jazz for the past 12 years. He has choreographed and taught for the Ballet and Dance Center, Dance Theater of Syracuse, Dominiques Dance Creations, Say Yes to Education, Peaceful Resolution and Lemoyne Upward Bound Summer program.




 Jamie first trained in ballet, tap, and jazz at Fitzsimmon’s Dance Factory, followed by Toni Wright’s Dance Studio, and performing through college with the Le Moyne Student dance Company. Now she dances modern and jazz with the SSD, and has been a member of the Syr. Cont. Dance Co. for the past 8 years. For 10 years, Jamie has choreographed the spring and summer musicals for the high schools in the Syracuse City School District, while also leading a dance team at Fowler and then Corcoran for much of that time. She has her BA in English and Adolescent Education, and her MS in Literacy.



Julia Shove attended Utica College, graduating summa cum laude and receiving a Bachelor of Science in psychology with minors in sociology and gender studies. A dancer of nineteen years, she studied at Ballet Arts of CNY under the instruction of Delia Foley, A.R.A.D. and Melissa Larish, RAD RTS. Julia completed her Royal Academy of Dance training through the Intermediate level. From fall 2015 to present, she has continued her training at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY, partnering with the Dance and Movement Studies program. Julia is a certified PiYo fitness instructor through BeachBody. She performed as a soloist with the Mohawk Valley Ballet for five years, returning as a guest artist ince 2015 to dance the roles of Sugar Plum Fairy and Snow Queen in The Nutcracker. Her choreography is featured in repertory showcases and local festivals, incorporating balletic and contemporary movement.



Elizabeth(Liz) Bryson trained in classical ballet in Rochester, NY under the London Royal Academy of Dance curriculum. She has performed as sugar Plum fairy, Snow Queen, and Soldier Doll in The Nutcracker; as Marie Taglioni in Pas de Quatre; and as a member of the corps in Sleeping Beauty. She has also performed in and choreographed contemporary ballet pieces and instructed pre-ballet in Rochester. Liz holds a Master of Art History from Syracuse University and has worked in the field of museum education for ten years, teaching students of all ages and backgrounds, from early childhood to older adulthood. She is thrilled to be a part of the SSD family. 





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