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 school season begins in September and ends in June, 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!
Our StudioOur cutting-edge facility is located in the heart of Oak Creek, WI, just blocks from I-94 and General Mitchell International airport. We are centrally located to accommodate families within the greater Milwaukee area, surrounding suburbs, and Northern Illinois.
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. She choreographed a tap number that was chosen as a finalist for the Mini Critics Choice Award at NYC Dance Alliance National Finals in July 2006. She most recently won the Mini Critics Choice Award at the NYC Dance Alliance Regional in Lansing, MI in January 2014 as well as the Teen Critic’s Choice Award at NYCDA in Chicago in February 2013. In addition, she received choreography awards for 3 of her tap numbers during the 2014 competitive dance season. 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. Most recently she co-choreographed the opening act for Danny Gokey’s album release concert in June 2014. She has judged at regional competitions for Starpower and Starlight National competitions.
Lisa has been with Young Dance Academy, Inc. for the past 30 years. She is 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 has worked with the Technique Intensive and competitive dancers for the past 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. She was awarded the Mini Critics Choice Award in Chicago in February 2011. Her dances continue to win choreography awards at both the regional and national levels and she most recently 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. Lisa also teaches jazz and lyrical workshop classes and choreographs for the performance company at Misty’s Dance Unlimited in Onalaska.
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 is also our costume coordinator for the entire school, putting her sense of fashion to good use. Lisa has been teaching at the studio since 1993.
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. 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 the Teen Critics Choice award in January 2016 in Lansing, MI and both the Junior and Teen Critics Choice Awards in Chicago in February 2015 at NYCDA.
In addition to her work at YDA, Lori is employed at the Milwaukee Ballet. In 2008 she joined MB’s Community Outreach Dept. which serves over 30,000 people in the Milwaukee area through hands-on workshops and performances. In 2015, Lori was promoted to Community Outreach and MBII Coordinator along with being added to the MBII Artistic Staff.
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 and in Danny Gokey’s album release concert in June 2014. 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 most recently choreographed for the Milwaukee Bucks Halftime show.
Her dancers have won many awards including most recently the 2017 Teen Critics Choice Award at NYCDA in Chicago. Other prestigious awards include 2 Hall of Fame Inductee Awards in April 2014. She has also choreographed for the award-winning Franklin Pom Pon squad. She has been back in Wisconsin teaching since 2011.
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 now married, stay-at-home mom with two beautiful children who dance at YDA. She continues her love of dance, taking classes along with teaching, and assisting 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!
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 is attending Carthage College to pursue a nursing degree and has been teaching dance at YDA since 2014.
Marie was born and raised in Hong Kong, where she started dancing at the age of five. She attended Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts (HKAPA), first in the Gifted Young Dancers Program and then in the full-time ballet program. Among other awards, she won the Hong Kong Open Dance Competition (Ballet) in 2007 and 2009. In addition to roles performed at HKAPA (Les Sylphides, Black Swan Pas De Deux, The Four Temperaments, and the Persistent Memory), Marie has also performed with the Hong Kong Ballet, with whom she performed in the China Tour of Swan Lake.
Marie furthered her ballet training at Butler University, receiving a bachelor of Fine Arts in ballet performance. While at Butler, she performed in the Nutcracker as Dew Drop and Snow Queen, Princess Florine in Sleeping Beauty, Odile, Valse Fantasies in Swan Lake by Balanchine, Viva Vavaldi by Gerald Arpino, and many other roles by various choreographers. Marie also toured to Bratislava, Slovakia performing Market Cholewa’s Displacements. Marie recently joined Milwaukee Ballet for their 2016 and 2017 season and returns for their 2017 and 2018 season. We are fortunate to have her here as she continues to share her love of ballet with her students at YDA!
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. She was most recently awarded the top soloist honor at NYCDA in Lansing, MI in January 2016.
Emily is a recent high school graduate and is now attending UW-Milwaukee for Early Childhood Development. She has been an assistant in the classroom for several years and a substitute teacher for the past 4 years. She is loved by all of the dancers in the classes in which she teaches and assists. This is Emily’s 4th year teaching at YDA!
Abby has been a dancer at Young Dance since she was a young preschooler. She was a competitive dancer in our Technique Intensive program for many years and continues her passion for dance as an assistant as well as a substitute teacher in the classroom.
Her love of all forms of dance, especially tap, and her drive to always be the best, makes her the perfect candidate as a YDA faculty member. She is always learning and confident in her abilities to help dancers grow in their technique and performance. This is Abby’s second season teaching at Young Dance!
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. A recent high school graduate, Rachel plans to have a career which will involve working with children.
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 second season at Young Dance!
Originally from Havana, Cuba, Itzel Hernandez began training at the Escuela Provincial de Ballet Alejo Carpentier. At age 12, she moved to the United States and earned a full scholarship at the Orlando Ballet School under Peter Stark, where she performed as Clara in Bruce Mark’s The Nutcracker. At the Harid Conservatory, Hernandez trained under Victoria Schneider, Olivier Pardina, and Svetlana Osiyeva, and appeared in Mark Godden’s Fable and Corazon de La Llama. After graduating, she joined Orlando Ballet where she performed in La Danse by Telmo Moreira, the lead roles in Robert Hill’s Allegretto and Huapango, as well as Abdur Rahim Jackson’s premiere of aGain fOr tHe firSt tImE.
Hernandez has competed in the Youth American Grand Prix, winning 3rd place in 2009 and 1st place Senior Contemporary in 2014. She joined the Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II Program in 2014, where she danced in Michael Pink’s Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Giselle, and Cinderella before joining the Company in 2015. Last season, she danced the title role in Kathryn Posin’s Scheherazade. This is her fourth season dancing in Milwaukee Ballet’s Company.
We are so excited to have Itzel on staff, working with our Technique Intensive dancers this season. Welcome Itzel!
Anna Stachnik has been a dancers at Young Dance since she was 3 years old. She has been a member of our Technique Intensive Program since the age of 7 and has received many dance convention scholarships and high score awards during her years in the program. She continues her dance education throughout the summers at a variety of summer dance intensives along with her Young Dance training. Anna is planning to pursue a professional dance career in her future and is teaching at Young Dance to enhance her aspirations for a success! She is excited to begin passing on her knowledge and skills, inspiring the love of dance in her students this season!
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!
Julie Benning Tiffany Hass Renee Manikham Nicole Patterson
Carrie Ann Poff Vicki Roth Lori Vanderhoef
- Boogie 80% 80%
- Groove 30% 30%
- shake 40% 40%