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 at Great 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 Cecchetti Masters. 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 enjoys teaching and inspiring young dancers at JCD.
Ms. Michelle McDonnell Pre-Professional Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop
Michelle McDonnell enjoys teaching ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop at Jordan Center Dance. She enjoys teaching students of all ages. Michelle has studied dance her entire life. As a child, she participated in several professional experiences, including performing with the San Francisco Ballet. Michelle has been on several competitive dance teams throughout her years. She has also studied dance in the professional program at Kent State University as well as at Lake Erie College. Michelle has attended numerous workshops, conferences and master classes through Universal Dance Association/Universal Cheer Association, Dance Educators of America, USA Gymnastics, and the Ohio Education Association. Michelle has also served as a judge for AmeriDance/AmeriCheer. Michelle has enjoyed working with several communities throughout northeast Ohio, choreographing high school musicals and coaching dance and cheer teams. Michelle also, currently, teaches 4th grade in Madison, Ohio.
Ms. Helen Damiano – PreSchool, Level 1-2, Acro
Helen is experienced in teaching tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, and gymnastics to students ages three years to adult. Helen has been teaching dance for 12 years. She loves to teach every age group for its very own special reason. She has attended numerous dance workshops on both the national and regional levels. She is very excited to be back at Jordan Center Dance working with all of the amazing and talented students! All of the children love Ms. Helen!