Marissa Lee Hoffman was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and started her dance training at the age of three. Throughout Marissa’s childhood, she studied various styles of dance with many different instructors, and has preformed, choreographed, and competed with styles including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Contemporary. Marissa is very involved in working with the local YMCA's teaching dance and fitness classes to all ages. She also works with two Montessori Schools sharing her love and knowledge of dance and healthy lifestyles to the children. Marissa is so excited to be working and assisting with the Burbank First Academy for her third year!
Holly was a competitive dancer and gymnast growing up in Burbank. She received her BA in Dance and Physics from Northwestern University and has since used her talents to choreograph and teach for Crescendo Performing Arts Center, Burbank High School, and many other schools around the Los Angeles area. She is thrilled to be back in her home town and participating in Burbank First Academy.
KiLeigh Williams, was born and raised in Marion Indiana, where she started training in tap at the age of 3. She worked under Lisa Hopkins for 9 years touring in the off-Broadway show called Tap Kids. After high school, she studied Forensic Science at Point Park University, while teaching tap for the Community Tap program at the school. She now goes back to Pittsburgh every summer and teaches at Point Park's 6-week International Summer Dance Camp. She has also taught at many dance studios throughout her career and hopes to keep passing along her knowledge of the arts wherever she goes.
Laura D'Anzieri is a professional dancer, choreographer and teacher originally from London, England. Laura began dancing in a variety of styles from a young age, competing and winning titles at regional and national level. At 18 she gained a place to train at the prestigious Urdang Academy in central London where she gained a degree in Professional Dance and Musical Theater and qualifying as a teacher in Ballet, Jazz and Tap with the International Society of Teachers of Dancing.
Throughout her performance career , Laura has been very passionate about teaching the art of dance. Teaching a variety of styles to students of all ages and abilities in studios, schools and professional training facilities both in the UK and the USA. She loves seeing her students achieve and enjoy their dance classes. Whether her students are recreational dancers or aspiring professionals, Laura hopes to pass on her knowledge, enthusiasm and love for dance.
Dominique Napolitano has been dancing for 23 years. She trained at Art of the Dance Academy, Media City Ballet, and Millenium Dance Complex, She was President on the John Burroughs High School Junior/Varsity Dance Team. She has engaged in various showcases and stage plays. Dominique has experience teaching toddlers all the way up to teens. Her style comprises of Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, and Hip Hop. On top of performing and teaching she aspires to build her resume and one day have her own dance studio. She is grateful to her loving Mother Miss Monica for introducing her to the world of dance at a young age and encourages everyone to "Dance like no one is watching!"
Alyssa Jean Butler was born and raised here in Burbank. After years of acting in plays, recitals and musicals, she got her AA in Theater at Fullerton Junior College. She then went on to receive her BA in Drama at San Francisco State University. Alyssa is still active in the acting world, writing sketches for her comedy channel and auditioning for film and tv. She also teaches improv to teens.
Marina Melikian was born into a family of pianists. Her father was a professor at the Yerevan Conservatory and her mother was an instructor of fortepiano at the School of Music. Marina was introduced to music at early age, beginning to play the piano at the young age of four years. In 1977, Marina was accepted into the prestigious Sayat Nova Music School of Armenia. During this time, she participated in a multitude of competitions and concerts, winning the first place title in the Bach competition specifically. At age 14, she earned the privilege of playing with the Grand Symphony Orchestra of Armenia. She graduated the Sayat Nova Music School with Honors shortly thereafter. Later in 1984, Marina was admitted into the Tchaikovsky Music Academy for gifted students and was once again commenced with Honors in 1989. Marina continued her music education by enrolling into the Yerevan State Music Conservatory, with a concentration in fortepiano. Her love for composing instituted her transition into the compositional department within the same institution. In 1994, Marina earned her first diploma, becoming a qualified piano performer and instructor. She additionally accomplished her composer qualification in 1995. Both achievements were granted to Marina with the highest Honors. From 1989 to 1998, Marina performed with various orchestras, participated in numerous competitions, and concentrated on genres ranging from jazz to pop music. Paralleling these ventures, Marina concentrated on her compositional work, creating pieces in the genres of Romance, Quartet, Ballet, Toccata for the fortepiano. She also composed concerts for the violin and piano together, and a multitude of other fortepiano pieces in subsequent categories.
Marina immigrated to the US in 1998. She has since married and has two daughters.
Haykuhi Janbazan (Mrs. J) is a substitute teacher at the BFUMC Nursery School. She is very excited about her second year of teaching Cooking with us, here at Burbank First Academy. She loves cooking and baking cakes. It is very fun and relaxing for her, allowing her to use her imagination and creativity to mix different kinds of ideas and ingredients to create her own recipes. She also likes to involve her children into her daily cooking routine so they can learn about making healthy food choices. We try to incorporate the many kinds of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet, as well as learn aesthetic decorating skills.
Mrs. J and Mrs. Bond look forward to enjoying cooking classes with your children, as they explore cooking in a fun, creative, and hands on experience!
Sandra Wernstrum (left), originally from Guatemala, has been teaching with United Methodist Nursery School for the last 15 years. She is fluent in Spanish, French, and Italian. She loves to read, hike, and do yoga. Her passion is working with children, where she provides opportunity to imagine, create, wonder, and discover creativity and freedom of expression.
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