Creativity in Motion
Young Dance Academy, Inc. has been creating the ultimate experience and turning young students into trained professionals since 1983.
Aspiring dancers aged 2 and up, of all levels can put enroll in a variety of classes. They can learn and master technique in ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, lyrical, musical theater, hip-hop, jumps & turns, and specialty classes for dancers with special needs.
Our season begins in September and ends in May, concluding with our exciting annual recital. Although we do not have a second semester, we continue enrollment through March in any classes that are not full. However, our classes usually fill up quickly so register as soon as possible!
Young Dance Academy, Inc. has four spacious and fully-equipped studio rooms complete with raised wood flooring, essential for safe, and swift movements. There is plenty of parking, and a comfortable, spacious lobby to wait for your dancer to finish. Our friendly front desk staff is always there to greet you and help you with anything you may need.
MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS
Our expert, professionally-trained instructors pride themselves on their extensive dance training, the stress of technique, and showmanship to encourage every dancer to be the very best they can be. Read more about them!
Owner and Director
Sandra is originally from Buffalo, NY and has been in the Milwaukee area since 1983. She received most of her training in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Toronto. She was a choreographer for Unique Dance Company of Unique Productions in Buffalo and had formed Unique II, a branch of that company while in Milwaukee. She has performed at Shea’s Theater and Studio Arena Theater in Buffalo and at Artpark in Niagara Falls in community theater productions as well as dance company showcases.
Over the years, many of Sandra’s dances have received Top Honor regional and national awards. Her choreography has appeared many times on Showstopper Finals nationally distributed videos and on the Showstopper television show on CBS. She continues to win regional and national choreography awards and was a finalist in the Jazz World Congress choreography competition in August 2000. Two of her tap dances were most recently awarded the mini and junior Critic’s Choice awards at the NYCDA Regional in Chicago in February 2023. Her choreography has been featured at Summerfest in 2000, 2001, and 2002 in shows featuring Bob McGrath from Sesame Street, Kinder-concerts with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra & Bob McGrath in March 2010 and January 2007 and a back to school advertising campaign for Milwaukee Public Schools in 2008. She co-choreographed the opening act for Danny Gokey’s album release concert in June 2014 and her dancers have performed at the Milwaukee Bucks Halftime for the past five seasons. She has also judged at regional competitions for Starpower and Starlight National competitions.
Sandy’s dedication to her craft and to her students is both remarkable and admirable. Young Dance is fortunate to have such a fearless leader!
Richard Ashworth is an educator, choreographer, and performer whose interest in technical foundation and corresponding social cultures have made him a resource in social and percussive African Diaspora dance communities. Richard attended the University at Buffalo, receiving a BFA in Dance in June 2007. After graduating, Rich performed aboard Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas and upon returning to the States, danced in several crews for live performances and industrials including for artists such as Flo Rida and The Goo Goo Dolls.
Rich has performed, choreographed, and toured with several internationally celebrated dance companies including Lehrerdance (dir. Jon Lehrer), Chicago Dance Crash (dir. Jessica Deahr), Be The Groove (dir. Stephanie Paul) serving as educational director, and Chicago Tap Theatre (dir. Mark Yonally), where he served as a choreographer and rehearsal director. As an educator Rich has been on the faculty of several dance based organizations including Dance Masters of America, Flow 40 Dance, Beyond the Stars dance convention, and Interdanza of Mexico. Rich has served as a choreographer and lecturer at Hope College, Salve Regina University, and Carthage College. Rich most recently attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, achieving a Masters of Fine Arts in Dance in May 2021. He now lectures at UWM, teaching courses in Hip-Hop Foundation.
Erin started her dance career at the age of 3 and began training at Young Dance Academy when she was 5 years old. Erin began assisting in the classrooms in 2017 and has been substitute teaching for the past 3 years. Her enthusiasm for dance and her dedication to the kids is clear and we are grateful to have such a reliable and confident instructor joining the team. We are more than happy to welcome her to our Young Dance teaching staff!
Emma began her dance training at age 6 in Racine, WI, and joined us at Young Dance in 2009. She worked her way up in the Technique Intensive and Competitive Programs and we are so proud of her work ethic and perseverance in becoming the amazing teacher and performer she is today. She was consistently a dance convention scholarship finalist and has been the recipient of many high score awards at dance competitions.
She is filled with enthusiasm for dance and for all of the students at Young Dance, including those for whom she has assisted and taught during the past several years. Emma attended Carthage College to pursue nursing and is now attending grad school! She has been teaching dance at YDA since 2014.
Emily has been dancing at Young Dance since the age of 3. She has been involved in our competitive program since the age of 7 and has never looked back. She has been the recipient of many awards and scholarships over the years and continues to excel in all areas. Emily was awarded the top soloist honor at NYCDA in Lansing, MI in January 2016.
Emily recently graduated from UW-Milwaukee with her degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been an assistant in the classroom for several years and a substitute teacher for the past 7 years. She is loved by all of the dancers in the classes in which she teaches and assists. This is Emily’s 8th year teaching at YDA!
Jenna has been dancing at Young Dance since before she was born and spent the majority of her school years at the studio intensively studying ballet, pointe, jazz, and tap. She was a teacher at Young Dance for four years before graduating from high school in 2007. After graduating high school, Jenna spent five years touring, teaching and performing through the US, Europe, the United Kingdom and Japan with the performance group, The Young Americans.
In addition to performing and teaching, she filled the rolls of casting director, staging director, and company manager. Jenna’s choreography was featured in the Sojourner Peace Center Fundraiser at the Harley Davidson Museum in 2017, Goodwill’s Retro Rendezvous Fundraiser in October 2013, Danny Gokey’s album release concert in June 2014 and most recently, Dancer’s Against Substance Abuse Fundraiser in August of 2019. She has choreographed for the Wheaton Franciscan Diamond Jubilee in February 2016, Christian contemporary dance in conjunction with the musical group “Rhythm & Hum” and she has also choreographed for the Milwaukee Bucks Halftime show.
Her dancers have won many awards including most recently the 2021 Teen Critics Choice Award at NYCDA in Chicago. She won 4 choreography awards for her work in the competitive program the 2021 season. Jenna has been back in Wisconsin teaching since 2011.
Janell Larson is a former Young Dance Academy student who began her training with us at the age of five. She trained extensively in ballet, tap and jazz and was a member of YDA’s competitive program for nine years. Her passion for teaching began early. She was assisting classes at the age of 12 and she was teaching and choreographing for YDA at the age of 16. While in college at UW-La Crosse, Janell taught and directed the performance company for Misty’s Dance Unlimited, under the leadership of Misty Lown (founderof More Than Just Great Dancing) for five seasons. Following that time, she was on faculty for the competitive dance programs at Oconee Youth School of Performance in Watkinsville, Ga and Forte Arts Center in Morris, Ill. She most recently was the director of the competitive program at Your Performing Arts Center in Yorkville, Ill for four seasons. Many of Janell’s former students are currently performing in NYC and LA, as well as, for Disney, cruise lines and topcollege programs and dance teams all over the country. Her choreography has won numerous top-honors at the regional and national levels. She has traveled around the country choreographing for studios and high school dance teams as well as judging for the national dance competition, Tribute. She is so excited to be back teaching in Wisconsin at the studio she called home for so many years of her childhood. When she is not dancing, she is a 4K Educational Assistant in Muskego and loves to spend time with her husband, Matt, and three dancing daughters.
A native of Houston, TX, Daniela Maarraoui began her training at the City Ballet of Houston from age four to 18. While training, she attended various summer programs at Houston Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, and the HARID Conservatory. Additionally, she competed in the 2014 International Ballet Competition and performed in the 2016 Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival.
After graduating high school, she joined The Joffrey Ballet as a trainee and was promoted to the Studio Company the following year. At Joffrey, she danced and toured with the Company performing in Christopher Wheeldon’s Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, Lola de Avila’s Giselle, as well as Krzysztof Pastor’s Romeo & Juliet. Maarraoui spent three months as a guest artist with the Semperoper Ballet in Dresden, Germany to perform in Aaron Watkin’s Swan Lake.
In 2019, Maarraoui joined Milwaukee Ballet for its 50th Anniversary season where she performed in Coppélia, The Nutcracker, Nicole Teague-Howell’s The Firebird and Timothy O’Donnell’s Sacre in Ballet Russe Reimagined. Since joining the company, she has performed various featured roles in Michael Pink’s the Nutcracker, Beauty and the Beast, Swan Lake, and Peter Pan.
Daniela will be teaching ballet and pointe technique to our competitive dancers and a few recreational classes as well. She has been a substitute teacher at YDA in past seasons and officially taught her first year in 2021. She is thrilled to return to YDA for her third season!
Lori trained for six years at the Milwaukee Ballet School and for two years at North Carolina School of the Arts. She trained with Duncan Noble and Melissa Hayden and graduated with a Ballet degree in 2002. While at NCSA Lori performed corps and soloist roles in Giselle, Paquita, La Bayadére, and Grand pas de Romantic. She was a company member of City Ballet Theatre in Milwaukee from 2003-2007. Lori also taught in CBT’s school for four years. Lori also worked at the Milwaukee Ballet from 2008-2019. She worked in the Community Engagement Department and was also on the MBII Artistic staff.
In 2004, Lori started teaching ballet at Young Dance Academy, Inc. Her ballet choreography for the Young Dance competitive dancers has won several high score awards and most recently her pointe group was a national finalist in the teen category at Showstopper Nationals in 2021!
Rachel has danced at Young Dance Academy, Inc. since the age of 5 and was involved in our Technique Intensive and Competitive Programs for many years.
We are fortunate that Rachel possesses special gifts which combine her love and passion for dance, teaching, and children of all ages. She has been an assistant and substitute teacher in the classrooms at Young Dance for several years and is excited to be teaching her own classes for her sixth season at Young Dance!
Lisa has been with Young Dance Academy, Inc. for the past 31 years. She has extensively trained in jazz, tap, and ballet under the direction of Sandra Young. Throughout her years as a competitive dancer, she won top honor awards for her group, trio, duet, and solo performances. She won numerous scholarship awards at dance conventions.
Lisa performed in the opening number of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1996. Lisa has choreographed and performed in a New Year’s Eve concert with Milwaukee’s very own “Love Monkeys” in 2001 and for the National Association of Catering Executives Annual Gala in 2010. Lisa worked with the Technique Intensive and competitive dancers for 18 seasons. Her dances have won many top honor awards at the regional and national levels including both the top senior and junior small group awards at Showstopper Finals in Myrtle Beach in July 2003. Her dances have appeared many times on the Showstopper National television show on CBS. Most recently she received 2 choreography awards at the Tribute competition in Chicago in March 2018. She also choreographed for Danny Gokey’s album release concert in June 2014. In February 2019, Lisa choreographed a music video that went viral on YouTube as part of a wish granting experience for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin.
Lisa has an excellent “choreographic eye” and is passionate about instilling a fire within her dance students to bring out their very best! Her innovative style makes her classes exciting and fun! Lisa has been teaching at the studio since 1993.
Rachel is a former Young Dance Academy, Inc. dancer who began her training with us at age 3. She spent many years as a competitive dancer at the studio and was known for her great technique and energy as a performer! She attended the Art Institute in Chicago, IL where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree.
She is a married, stay-at-home mom with two beautiful children. She continues her love of dance teaching with a fiery passion in the evenings. She enjoys giving private lessons to YDA students to additionally enhance their training. Rachel spreads her love of dance and YDA and has been teaching her own classes since 2013!
Our Front Desk Staff
We pride ourselves in having friendly faces & helpful staff from the moment you walk into our studio. Meet our front desk faculty below!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What age do you have to be to take dance class?
Young Dance Academy, Inc offers classes for students aged 2 through adult.
What styles of dance do you offer at the studio?
Young Dance Academy, Inc offers classes in tap, jazz, ballet, hip hop, lyrical, contemporary, pointe, jumps and turns, and musical
Can my child try a dance class before we register?
Dancers can try any class at Young Dance Academy, Inc for a $20 walk-in fee.
How do I sign up for a dance class?
To sign up for a class, a parent portal must first be created. New to Young Dance Academy? Click here to create an account. Once an
account is created, dancers can enroll into any available class.
What should I wear to dance class?
No street clothes of any kind including sweaters, sweatshirts, jeans, skirts, or pajama pants permitted. We do not allow leotards with
attached suspenders, belts, skirts, or tutus – please no ruffles or no frills! Warm-ups may be worn over dance attire for the first 15
minutes of class during cold weather only. Instructors will have the final approval of attire for each class.
FEMALE CLASS ATTIRE:
Combo Jazz/Ballet – Leotard and tights, biketard. No skirts or tutus.
Ballet – Solid color leotard and tights (preferably pink tights). No skirts or tutus.
Tap/Jazz/Lyrical/Musical Theater – Leotard with tights or any combination of fitted jazz pants or shorts, camisole top, biketard or
Hip Hop – Fitted leggings or shorts, camisole top, biketard or unitard.
MALE CLASS ATTIRE:
All Class Types – Plain, fitted T-shirt or tank (no oversized t-shirts or sweatshirts) and fitted sweatpants, jazz pants or shorts above
SHOES (Male & Female):
Combo Jazz/Ballet – Leather or canvas ballet shoes in any color with elastic strap, drawstring and leather sole or jazz shoes in any
color & style.
Ballet – Leather or canvas ballet shoes with elastic strap, drawstring, and suede leather sole.
Jazz – Jazz shoes in any color & style or ballet shoes.
Lyrical – Jazz shoes, ballet shoes or bare feet.
Tap – Tap shoes in any color & style. Please inquire as to what style is preferred for your dancers age.
Hip Hop – Any style athletic shoes.
RECITAL SHOE & TIGHTS REQUIREMENT:
Shoe style & color may vary from what is worn in class to what is required for the year end recitals. Shoe price is never included in
the costume price. A shoe style & color/tights information sheet will be available for all classes at a later date. It is your responsibility to
purchase the proper shoe style & color/tights for our May recitals.
Hair must be completely pulled back off the neck and away from the dancer’s face. Hair should be styled in a secure bun using a hairnet and hairpins, or in a ponytail, braid, etc. Gel and spray back all whispies. Female dancers with shorter hair should wear a headband or clips to keep hair away from face.
Can I watch my dancer in class?
We do not allow parents in our classrooms during class time. In addition, we are not allowing parents/family/friends in the hallways.
Please do not drop your dancer off more than 10 minutes prior to their class start time. Parents of dancers may walk their dancer into the lobby and return to pick them up 5 minutes prior to the end of their dancers’ class.
What is the cost of a recital costumes and where can I buy shoes and attire?
Dancers enrolled in our full 9-month season (September through May) will receive a FREE recital costume for each class in which theyare enrolled. Dancers who enroll after October 1st will incur a $75 costume fee per class. Required recital tights and shoes must be
purchased separately. If a dancer joins after October 1st, and withdraws prior to our year-end recitals, you will be called when your costume is available for pick-up. All unclaimed costumes will be donated in July.
A select array of class wear, shoes and tights may be purchased at our facility. Please see the front desk if you are in need of any of these items.
What fees am I responsible for besides the monthly tuition?
There is an annual $20 registration fee for each dancer enrolling in classes at Young Dance. Dancers are also responsible for all shoe
and tight purchases. In addition, everyone attending a recital is required to purchase a ticket, except the dancers performing in each
performance. If a dancer is not performing in a particular recital and plans to attend said recital, they are required to purchase a
Are you still accepting students for registration now that the season has begun?
Young Dance Academy, Inc accepts students all year, so long that we can order and receive the May recital costume on time for the dress rehearsal/picture day and subsequent recitals.
When and where are the performance opportunities and who performs in these shows?
Young Dance Academy, Inc offers two performance opportunities per season. All shows are held at the Greendale High School Henry
Our Holiday Showcase, held in December, is an optional performance opportunity that requires a small fee.
All dancers enrolled in our regular season will be included in our May recitals. There is no fee to participate in the year-end May recitals.
- Boogie 80% 80%
- Groove 30% 30%
- shake 40% 40%