Dance Connection Staff

Teacher Ericka Lyons, Studio Director Kathleen Slezak, and Assistant Studio Director Megan Stone

Kathleen Slezak
Studio Director

Kathleen graduated from Michigan State University with a B.S. degree in Medical Technology and minor in Chemistry. Kathleen has always had  a passion for the performing arts. She was fortunate to study with, mentor under, and eventually take over for the late Sandra Brewer. Kathleen was a member of the Michigan State University Dance Team, and the professional dance teams for the Detroit Motor City Mustangs and the Detroit Pistons.

 

Kathleen has also worked professionally as model, actress in commercials, a dancer at the Fox Theater in Detroit, ensemble in the touring company of Jesus Christ Superstar, and professional choreographer for an unreleased feature film. Kathleen helped start the Goodrich High School and Davison Middle School dance teams, coached the Anchor Bay Varsity Cheer Team, Goodrich Varsity Dance Team, Davison Middle cool Dance Team, and coached the only Davion Varsity Dance Team hat attended the national Dance Team Championship three years in in a row in Orlando, Florida. She continues her dance education annually, attending dance teacher and studio owner conventions and training under many professional instructors. Kathleen is the artistic director and main choreographer at the studio. She is trained in and teaches all genres of dance including ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip hop, adagio, and musical theater. The most rewarding part of owning a studio is seeing the joy in every student's eyes, the passion on their faces, and the progress of each student of every age. "Performing arts isn't just a job for myself and my amazing staff or a hobby to all of our extremely talented students. It is a passion and a way of life." Edit biography
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Megan Stone
Assistant Studio Director

Megan began dancing with Dance Connection at the age of three and has been working at the studio since 2013. Megan acts as assistant studio director under Kathleen and loves being able to help make all the magic happen behind the scenes. Megan teaches and choreographs for all DC companies, Adagio, the 7's class, and the Adults. 

 

Megan loves the challenge of choreographing big productions and seeing students get excited about their dances. Megan attends the University of Michigan-Flint where she studies Elementary Education. She has always had a passion for working with kids and is grateful she is able to spend her time teaching kids how to dance while attending school. Megan spent time in Scottsdale, Arizona attending a Dance Teacher Conference where she expanded her dance education from directors and dancers from all over the country.  "Not every dancer will turn their love of the art from into a career, but every one of them will take the lessons they have learned in their training, choreography, and there performances to improve the quality of their life."
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Gabrielle Slezak
Associate Studio Director

Gabrielle Slezak has been dancing with Sandra Brewer’s/Dance Connection since she was 3. She has been teaching, assisting, and choreographing since she was in high school. After graduating, Gabbie went to study at The University of Alabama for 1 1/2 years and then returned to Davison to study at University of Michigan-Flint and work for the Studio. Gabbie teaches and choreographs for the DC Dynamites, Hotshots, Showstoppers, Elite, Encore and More, and Encore, as well as the Hip Hop classes.

She has also choreographed Tap, Jazz, and contemporary solos and duets. Her favorite thing about teaching dance is getting to see all of her students work hard in the studio to perform on stage, doing what they love. When Gabbie isn’t at the Studio she enjoys singing, spending time with her cat, dog, and her 6 Albino Corey Catfish, watching TV shows, and playing video games.

Ericka Lyons
Teacher

Ericka is a teacher at Dance Connection teaching and choreographing for the company performers by night and is a board certified IntraOperative Neurophysiologist with Nuvasive Clinical Services by day. Ericka started her dance career at the age of 3, dancing with Sylvia Studio of Dance/Ann Arbor Civic Ballet continuing to Sandra Brewer’s/Dance Connection. She began assisting/teaching/choreographing at the age of 14 and was Competition Director at the age of 18. She has enjoyed choreographing and performing in many musical theater productions including “Millie” in “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “Cinderella” in “Cinderella”, “Laurie” in “Oklahoma” and “Velma” in “Chicago”.

Ericka was involved in the start up of the Goodrich High School Dance Team, which she was captain of throughout her high school years. Ericka has always held a passion for dance and is lucky enough to watch it continue through her daughter, Kennley, who is currently a Dynamite team member at Dance Connection. Her favorite part of teaching dance is assisting students to become their own best teacher. “There is nothing better than when a student says they hear your voice in their head on what to do. If you can’t rap it, you can’t tap it!” She would like to thank her parents for their constant support and her husband, Nate, for everything he does to support “his dancing girls.”

She has enjoyed choreographing and performing in many musical theater productions including "Millie"in Thoroughly Modern Millie and "Velma" in Chicago.  Ericka was involved in starting the Goodrich High School Dance Team which she was the captain of during her high school years. She has alway has a passion for dance and her favorite part is assisting students to become their own teachers.  There is nothing better than when a student hears your voice in their head. "If you can't rap it, you can't tap it!" 
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Kristin Moss
Teacher

Kristin Moss began dancing with Sandra Brewer’s/Dance Connection when she was 5 years old. She has performed in Christmas at Whiting, Christmas Concerts, Recitals, and Productions throughout her childhood and adult years. “Bye, Bye Birdie” and “Damn Yankees” are just two of the productions that she has performed in throughout the years.
Kristin graduated from Central Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education in 2005, and has been a Middle School Teacher in Clio Area Schools since her graduation. She currently teaches 8th grade Math, which was NOT her favorite subject as a student. She also has a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Kristin has choreographed and worked on several school musicals with one of the best mentors in the business, Evie Zilinski. Kristin’s favorite part of teaching dance is seeing a student work so hard to master a new step, and the pride that comes from her students doing just that. “I can’t do it……YET”, is one of the mottos that she tries to instill in each of her students.

Kristin has two children, Katelynn (12) and Montgomery (9). Katelynn loves dance as much as her Mom, and is in the Elite Company this year. Montgomery loves to read and loves Pokemon. Her husband, Mike, helps make sure that she and Katelynn can be at the studio doing the things that they love, and for that she is extremely thankful. She would also like to thank her parents, as she knows the commitment they made for her to dance all throughout her school years, and the help they provide still today.

 

Kristin has choreographed and worked on several school musicals with one of the best mentors in the business, Evie Zilinksi. Her favorite part of teaching dance is seeing a student work so hard to master a new step and the pride that comes from her students doing just that. "I can't do it...YET," is a motto she tries to instill in each of her students. Kristin teaches 5-8th grade Math at Clio Area Schools. 
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Danielle Marinco
Teacher

Danielle is a teacher at Dance Connection and is a member of Encore, Pointe, and Advanced Adagio. She is a Senior at Davison High School and has been dancing for 14 years. Danielle was awarded the title of Broadway Star when she performed her first solo in March of 2018. This year she is a teacher for Dynamites, Showstoppers, Elite, and Encore and More. Also, assisting Miss. Kathleen with Beginner Pointe.

This year is Danielle’s first year leading the class for the 3’s as well as the 4s and 5s. This will be Danielle’s second year involved with choreographing for competition groups, soloist, and recital routines which is very rewarding for her. Dance holds an important place in Danielle’s heart so teaching is very special for her. She loves working with kids and seeing their improvement throughout the year and watching them shine on stage. 

 

Rex Wilkes
Adagio Teaching Assistant

Rex has been with Dance Connection since 2006 and started dancing at the ripe age of 22. He earned his engineering degree from Michigan State University in 2008. He has been a High School Track and Cross Country Coach at Lansing Waverly for 18 years as well during that time. While splitting his time on the track and on the dance floor Rex has been helping with the youth adagio classes while also expanding his own skills in the Adult Rec class and Adult Adagio Class. He has been in several musicals “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, “Chicago”, and “Legally Blonde”. He absolutely loves stepping on the stage to show the Men and Boys how beautiful it is to be able to express yourself through dance, and that you are never too old to do great things!

James Felton
Teacher
James Felton II (Mr. Jimmy) graduated from Western Michigan University in 2021 where he earned his BFA in Dance Performance and Choreography (Cum Laude). Originally from Lapeer, Mi, James began his training in 2005 with Sandra Brewer and Kathleen Slezak at Dance Connection before later joining the Flint Youth Ballet. In highschool and college, James has attended summer intensives on full scholarship with Flint School of Performing Arts, Grand Rapids Ballet, Eisenhower Dance Detroit, and Collage Dance Collective. While at Western, James was grateful to participate in workshops with The Balanchine Trust, Giordano Dance Chicago, Paul Taylor II, Yin Yue Dance Company, Peridance NY, and DanceWorks Chicago. While in college, James worked professionally as a performer/choreographer with the project based Chamberlain Dance Company and as a Guest Artist with various Michigan-based ballet studios. James is also grateful to have worked professionally under mentor, Seyong Kim, in original works at Michigan Dance Festival, Oakland Dance Festival, Chicago International Dance Festival, and Contemporary Dance Competition Festival in Orlando. James has had the pleasure in performing works by Bob Fosse, Marius Petipa, George Balanchine, Durante Verzola, Stephanie Datellas, Jennifer Archibald, Darrel Moultrie, Mike Esperanza, Jackie Nowicki, Seyong Kim, Monique Haley, Elizabeth Phillippi, and David Curwen. Since 2015, James has been teaching various styles of dance throughout Michigan in both commercial and nonprofit settings. James is very eager to share his love of movement as a Company Artist and Instructor for Ballet QuadCities and The BQC School of Dance for the 2022-2023 season!
Jack Slezak
Adagio Teaching Assistant

Jack competes as a member of DC Musical Theater and DC's Advanced Adagio Class as well as assists in adagio with younger company members. Jack is a first year student at Mott Community College and is planning on getting his real estate license. 

Sarah Keesling
Teacher
Sarah Keesling has been dancing for more than 25 years and teaching for over 20 years. She has participated in many dance workshops including ACDFA and Dance North, an annual workshop taught by a former Rockette. She majored in dance at Oakland University, which included taking classes such as kinesiology, pedagogy, and multiple choreography classes. During her time at OU, she danced with the Oakland Dance Theatre and Repertory Company. Her senior year she received the MaTilDa award for Outstanding Dance Student.
Miss Sarah was an instructor and dance director at Extreme Dance Studio in Imlay City for 18 years before it closed in 2021. She has taught all styles of dance and all age groups, including the company classes. Her main focus as a teacher is to pass on not only her knowledge of dance technique, but also her passion for dance to her students. Whether it is performing, perfecting their form, or just expressing oneself through movement in a safe place, Miss Sarah hopes to offer her students exactly what they need from each dance class.
Julia Felton
Teacher

Julia Felton is an alumna of the Flint School of Performing Arts and the Flint Youth Ballet under the direction of Karen Jennings. As a young student, she attended the Joffrey Ballet Intensives under the direction of John Magnus, prior artistic director of The Joffrey Ballet, and went on to spend the next three summers training with Mr. Magnus in Michigan and in Oregon. She also danced and performed in Germany, Austria, Italy, New York, and Tennessee. Additionally, she attended Pacific Northwest Ballet Intensive on a full ride scholarship before she went on to continue her education at Michigan State University. Julia majored in horticulture, minored in dance, and performed in the university’s contemporary dance company, MSU Orchesis, until graduating in 2018. She has attended Complexions Contemporary Ballet Intensives in college, as well as the American College Dance Association Conference (ACDA) twice and her senior year her choreographic work was selected to perform in the prestigious gala performance. She has performed in works by George Balanchine, Darrell Moultrie, Tyronne Brooks, Rosely Consz, Lauren Flower, and Billy Bell among others. She is an ABT Certified Ballet Teacher who has successfully completed the ABT Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3. She has also taken courses in dance education through the National Dance Education Association (NDEA) and has taken yoga classes for ballet teachers. Julia has taught and choreographed works for pre-professional and professional ballet schools in Michigan, Idaho, Washington and Oregon and continues to teach locally and dance in professional freelance roles.

Lyniece Fenner
Teacher

Lyniece is a teacher and assistant with Tap and Jazz for the Showstoppers company. She danced and did musical theater at Dance Connection in the past and came back this season to dance with the Adult Class. 

By day Lyniece is a band director at Lapeer High School. Her favorite thing about dance is the performance! 

Lisl Knizner
Digital Media Director

Lisl is Dance Connection's Digital Media Director. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Grand Valley State University where she studied advertising and owns her own digital marketing business. Lisl joined Dance Connection when she was four years old, took a break during high school and college, and came back in 2014.

She loves performing on stage with DC and is also active in community theater where she has been featured in musicals such as Chicago and Legally Blonde with Savie Productions, as well as other shows across Genesee County. Lisl is currently a member of the Adult Class and DC Musical Theater and was recently in the cast for the premiere Black Box Theatre cabaret. 

Lisl enjoys being surrounded by others who love performing as much as she does and loves challenging herself to be a better singer & dancer every year.

Emma M
Teacher

Emma M. is a teacher here at Dance Connection and a member of the Encore competition group. She has been dancing at Dance Connection for 13 years. What Emma loves most about working at DC is interacting with younger kids. She hopes to be a kindergarten teacher when she gets older, and she values her time with kids at the studio. Emma also appreciates the lifelong friendships she has made throughout her dance career. As a senior she hopes to keep dancing when she transitions to college in 2022.

Peyton T.
Teacher

Peyton is an teacher at Dance Connection. She is a junior at Goodrich High School high school and member of Encore, Pointe, and DC Musical Theater. Peyton has been dancing for fourteen years and is also involved with 4H, Duel Enrollment, and Goodrich Varsity Dance Team. 

Alayna
Teaching Assistant

Alayna is an assistant at Dance Connection and is a member of Encore and Advanced Competition Adagio. She has been dancing at DC for years. In addition to dance, Alayna loves theater, reading, and playing percussion. 

Jaimee
Teaching Assistant

Jaimee is a teaching assistant at Dance Connection and is a member of Encore and Advanced Competition Adagio. She is a junior in high school and has been dancing for twelve years! 

Alyssa H.
Teaching Assistant

Alyssa is an assistant at Dance Connection. She graduated from high school in 2021. In addition to dance, Alyssa likes to travel to new places. 

Hannah
Teaching Assistant

Hannah is a member of Encore and Advanced Competition Adagio and has been dancing for eleven years. She is a teaching assistant at DC helping with the Encore & More.

Hannah is a high school student and loves to spend time with friends. 

Alyssa S.
Teaching Assistant

Alyssa S. is an Assistant at Dance Connection working primarily with the companies Elite and Showstoppers. Alyssa has been dancing at Dance Connection for 6 years, and is also a member of Encore, Advanced Adagio, and Pointe. She is 16 years old and is an 11th grade AP student at Davison High School. She is also enrolled in the Davison Early College Program. She is on the Davison Varsity Tennis Team and NHS. 

Kathryn
Teaching Assistant
Kim
Students Accounts Manager

Kim has been the Student Accounts Manager for Dance Connection since 2017. She has a mixed background of dance, poms, and gymnastics. Though she does not currently dance, she is actively involved in figure skating, having recently competed at the 2021 U.S. Figure Skating Adult Championships. She is the Assistant Club Manager for the Ann Arbor Figure Skating Club and is currently enrolled in grad school to earn a Masters Degree in Sport Management.

Brooklyn
Teaching Assistant
Molly
Teaching Apprentice
Anna
Teaching Assistant
Adriana
Teaching Apprentice
Kaitlyn
Teaching Apprentice
Emma T
Teaching Apprentice
Chloe
Teaching Apprentice
Lisa Capps
Vocal Coach

Lisa Capps is a Vocal Coach at Dance Connection as well as an experienced performer and teacher outside of the studio. Lisa works with DC musical theater students and on solo and group pieces for competition. She has worked professionally as an actress and instructor and has appeared in stage and television roles. She also teaches acting and voice privately to students of all ages. 

Peyton Sparks
Front Desk