Mary is the founder and has been the Artistic Director of Jordan Center Dance for the past 20 years. She is known for her training, performance background and exceptional teaching style. Her students attend the best universities (Princeton, Marymount Manhattan, Point Park, U of M, Ohio State and many more) with both academic and dance scholarships. Her focus on maintaining a classical base infused with current styles keeps her students at the cutting edge of dance. Mary enjoys judging and teaching master classes across the country in her spare time.
Mary began dancing at the age of three. During her school years she performed in Showboats, Community Theater, Christmas at Whiting and many other shows. She was an award-winning Cheerleader, 1st in the state of Michigan, 18th in the nation and earned numerous talent awards. Mary was Miss Curwood for her home county in Michigan, Miss Mid-Michigan Charm and placed in the top ten finalist in Washington D.C.
While studying Communications/Performance (BA) at Michigan State University and Dance at Lansing Community College, Mary performed with the MSU Repertory Dance Company; Dance Captain/Assistant Choreographer with The Jazz Dance Theater; taught ballet, tap, jazz and acro at the DeWitt Conservatory; Dance Coach atGreat Lakes Gym in Michigan and choreographed award winning high school musicals such as Oklahoma and West Side Story!
Mary’s past is filled with extensive training. She has studied with greats such as Gus Giordano, Luigi, Al Gilbert, Judy Ann Bassing, Ric Mitchell, Ann Reinking, David Howard, Charles Kelly, Michael Knight, Jay Fagan and many more. Her Ballet training began with the Cecchetti Graded system and later added the Russian Method.
Credits include (to highlight a few)-Ballet Theater-Nutcracker (lead); Spring Selection Improvisations; New York City Opera Company - Merry Widow; Salute to Broadway; Gypsy; Assistant Director/Choreographer Children’s Ballet Theater; Board of Directors Children’s Ballet Theater; Sony Industrial Dance Captain; Freelance modeling, TV,print and runway.
Mary is a member of the prestigious Cecchetti Council of America. She has attended numerous workshops and the International Summer School held at the Cleveland Ballet and at Hope College in Holland , Michigan. Mary has studied with many world renown CecchettiMasters. The Cecchetti System is a rigorous method drawn up with careful regard for the laws of anatomy, and it is designed to endow the human body with all those qualities essential to building a healthy dancer!
Mary is a proud member of Dance Educators of America (Board of Directors). She has attended their Teachers’ Training School at Western Kentucky University and attends DEA seminars and workshops. She is also a member of Dance Masters of America and Ohio and has her diploma from DMA Teachers Training School –Kent State University; National Dance Association, Professional Dance Teachers Association and American Alliance for Health and Physical Fitness. Mary’s almost 30 years of performing and teaching experience lends itself to quality instruction. She loves teaching, judging and inspiring young students to be the best they can be.
Jordan Michael Leitson
Jordan Leitson has been dancing since the age of 2 1/2 with his mom, Mary Spaniola, at Jordan Center Dance. He has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards-Stepp With Me, Dance Educators of America Regional, National Scholarships, Title holder of DEA’s Young Senior Mister and Senior Mister. Jordan was the first worldwide recipient of the prestigious Al Gilbert Memorial Tap Scholarship. Jordan has studied at Point Park University, Alvin Ailey, Steps on Broadway, Dance New Amsterdam, Broadway Dance center, UNLV – Ballet Seminars, and Florida Youth Ballet. He has performed in Disney World, Jazz on Tap Festivals in Atlanta, The David Lynch Show, Off Broadway Production of Red Hot Broadway, Doug Benz’Cinderella (danseur and Geppetto) and performances with The Next Project at New City’s City Center Theater and in Maui, Hawaii. Jordan specializes in contemporary, lyrical, tap, ballet and jazz technique and choreography. He also has the honor of being a master teacher with the Kids Artistic Review Convention, Dance Educators of America, just to name a few. He enjoys teaching and inspiring young dancers at JCD.
Derek is a Los Angeles native and no stranger to the performing arts. After attaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Chapman University in sunny Orange, CA where he also minored in Music with an emphasis in vocal performance, Derek went on to sign with BLOC Talent Agency and has had the privilege of working with such artists as Hugh Jackman, Rachel York, "Earth, Wind & Fire", The Fitz and the Tantrums, Kitty McNamee, Natalita, Mitzi Gaynor, Richard Dryfuss, Big Black Delta, Bonnie McKee, The Acid, Pentatonix, Myke Terry, Haroula Rose, Kristen Toedtman, Skylar Spence, Ishivu, The LA Philharmonic Orchestra, Donald McKayle, Phil McKinley, Denise Faye, Erica Sobol, and the Los Angeles based project AXIOM founded and directed by Denna Thomsen and Zak Schlegel. Under the heavy influence of many great mentors such as Lawrence Rosenberg (Director of Anaheim Ballet), Sean Greene (Former Member of Lewitzky Dance Company), and Nina McNeely (Choreographer, Member of Hysterica Dance and WIFE), to name a few, Derek has honed skills in a wide range of dance vocabularies including Ballet, Technique/Progressions, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz/Funk, Hip Hop, African, Modern, Ballroom, Partnering, Performance Art, Musical Theatre, and is an experienced Acrobat, Singer, Pianist, and Actor. Derek's multi-faceted talents definitely influence his mentality in the classroom as he stresses the value of performance quality, technical execution of movement, discipline, respect, and above all, style. Derek is currently pursuing his MFA in Choreography at Case Western Reserve University and offers dance instruction/choreography to artists, studios, companies, and for special events/productions.
Samantha Snell graduated from Western Michigan University in 2014 with a BA in Dance and a minor in General Business. Samantha has danced soloist roles in, “Fandango” by Antony Tudor - staged by American Ballet Theatre’s Amanda Mckerrow and John Gardner. She was a guest artist in many versions of The Nutcracker dancing as The Sugarplum Fairy. She also has worked with Willy Shives from The Joffrey Ballet and performed in Gerald Arpino’s, “Viva Vivaldi.” Sam is a member of Dance Educators of America. She currently resides in Ohio where she teaches multiple genres at Jordan Center Dance in Warrensville Heights. She choreographs for Jackson Northwest High School Choir in Jackson, MI.
Stephaen is a graduate of the University Of the Arts in Philadelphia with a B.F.A. inBallet Performance. He has been studying dance for 6 years and has trained at numerous ballet institutions such at Mid Atlantic Youth Ballet, Rock School For Dance Education, and The University Of The Arts in PA as a Ballet Major. He has also trained in a vast amount of studies such as Horton, Balanchine, Forsyth and jazz dance. He was a principle dancer for the Mid Atlantic Youth Ballet Company for 2 years. He was a company member for Ballet-Fleming for one season. As well as participating as a guest artist in various companies such as Poetic Expression Dance Company, for one season, as well as Carbon Dance Theater. He has also performed Lead roles in ballets such as Coppelia, La Bayadere, and the Nutcracker. I am more than eager to have embarked on this journey while willing to expand his mind even further as an artist.
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