Faculty

Liza Schnitzer

Executive Director

Liza Schnitzer began her dance training at the age of 2. She is well studied in jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, modern, acro and hip hop. Over the years Liza had trained in New York City, Toronto, Chicago, and Orlando. She taken classes with the Martha Graham Company, Gus Giordano, Joe Lanteri, and Frank Hatchet to name a few! In addition to her extensive training, she graduated with a BA in Theatre and Dance from The University at Buffalo. During her time at UB, she focused her studies on dance education. Liza has been teaching dance for over 20 years. Her choreography has won several awards at both the regional and national level. Several of her students have gone on to become professional dancers. Miss Liza’s passion for dance has lead her to a passion for teaching. She believes strongly that dance should always be FUN, and every child should feel like a STAR.

Mercede ``Cede`` Davern

Teacher

Mercedes Smith is originally from Buffalo, NY. She started her dance training at the age of 3 years old and continued her training throughout her schooling as a competition dancer. After graduating high school, she earned her B.F.A. in Dance from the State University of New York at Fredonia, with a duel B.S. in Exercise Science and a minor in Dance Studio Administration. Throughout her time as a student, she has worked with artists such as Ruth Andrien and the Paul Taylor 2 Company, Jon Lehrer, as well as Rebecca Guile-Wind. She has attended the East-Central Regional American College Dance Association all 4 consecutive years while attending Fredonia, including a Gala performance in 2016. Mercedes has also had the opportunity of training with the Dance Masters Of America at the University at Buffalo for the Teacher Training School program each summer, working with artists such as Lynne Kurdziel Formato, Rich Ashworth, Tracy Navarro, Barb Denny & Larraine Susa. Mercedes is excited to be a part of the faculty at Dansations and looks forward to an awesome season!

Emily Coddick

Teacher

Emily Codick was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and has been dancing for over 30 years.  A college graduate from the University at Buffalo, Emily majored in both dance and communications.  She has performed for the mayors inaugural ball, Curtain Up!, and Neglia Conservatory of Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet to name a few.  She is an experienced dance teacher, and her dedication over  the last 20 years has earned her and her students awards and recognition regionally and nationally. Recently, her outstanding work as a choreographer was recognized at Turn it UP National Competition in Ocean City 2018, and at Starpower National Talent Competition in Ocena City in 2020. In addition to teaching, Emily works for the Town of Tonawanda, and is a loving wife and mother of two.

Makenzie Snekser

Teacher

Mackenzie Snekser began dancing at the age of 4. She joined the Dansations competition team at age 13. She has mastered all genres and styles of dance, with her favorite being contemporary. Makenzie has always been very passionate about dance. During her time as a competitive dancer, she has attended many dance competitions at the regional and national level as well as many dance conventions & master classes. Mackenzie recently won a $1,000 scholarship from the Starpower National Talent Competition in Ocean City, Maryland. She was the only soloist chosen for the prestigious scholarship out of over 150 dancers. Over the years, She has trained under the artists such as Jen Apter, Joe Celej, Bailey Kirwan, Gianna Newborg, Megz Alfonso and many others. She has performed for Dancers Give Back, the Buffalo Bisons and the Harlem Globetrotters.

Mackenzie currently attends school at Suny Erie Community College for a degree in Marketing. She is looking forward to starting a new dance season as a teacher at Dansations!

Katie Heintz

Teacher

Katie Heintz is originally from Rochester, NY and has extensive training in ballet, jazz, modern, acro, tap, and contemporary. She lived in Los Angeles, CA as a scholarship student at the Edge Performing Arts Center before graduating summa cum laude from SUNY Buffalo with a BFA in dance performance. She has spent many years dancing professionally with Zodiaque Dance Company, Configuration Dance Theatre and Met Dance Company of Houston, TX, where she performed at many events and venues including Jacob’s Pillow, APAP and Texas Contemporary Dance. She has worked with numerous choreographers and has performed works by Joe Celej, Caleb Mitchell, Pattie Obey, Larry Keigwin, Kiki Lucas, Peter Chu and Kate Skarpetowska. She has been teaching dance to all ages for over 15 years in studios in Rochester, Buffalo, Houston, Baltimore, and Washington DC.

Angela Disorbo

Teacher

Angela Disorbo began her dance training at the age of 5. She has taken a wide variety of master classes from famous choreographers and dance companies such as Jon Lehrer, Andrij Deneka, Joe Celej, Dorrance Dance, Rioult Dance, Koresh Dance Company, Jen Apter, and many more. Angela has been teaching dance for over 12 years. During that time her group dances and soloist have won numerous awards and high scores.  Angela has a Bachelor of Arts in Dance, Biological Sciences and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Outside of dance, Angela works as a Registered Nurse and is currently working towards her Doctorate in Nursing Practice to become a Family Nurse Practitioner at the University at Buffalo. She loves being able to share her passion and love for dance with others and help others find their own passion for dance. Angela enjoys being a dance teacher because it gives children a way to express themselves. Angela is very excited to be on faculty at Dansations and is excited about the upcoming season!

Brodie Haladay

Teacher

Brodie Haladay studied dance at Fitzsimmons Dance Factory in Rochester NY. During her study at Fitzsimmons she took classes with Mia Michaels, Suzi Taylor and dancers from Fosse. She began teaching with them her senior year in 2002. Brodie continued with her dance career and attended SUNY Brockport as a Dance major and Arts for Children major. During her time at Brockport she studied Modern, Irish, African dance. She participated in performances with SANKOFA and took classes with Garth Fagan. In 2006 she auditioned for Walt Disney World in Florida and accepted a position in their college program as a Character Performer. There is a chance she might personally know some of your favorite Disney pals! She has continued to teach after college, and joined Dansations in 2014. She loves dance and is very passionate about teaching. She is looking forward to another great year with your kids and the studio.

Lindsey Parini

Teacher

 Lindsey Parini has been dancing for 16 years. She was very passionate about dance and earned a spot on the competition team. She danced at the competitive level for 7 years. Lindsey has performed at numerous regional competitions, In 2021 she performed at Starpower National talent competition in Ocean City, Maryland, where her team was selected for the battle of the stars and was a high scoring finalist. Lindsey has worked as an assistant teacher at Dansations and is looking forward to starting her first season as a teacher at Dansations. Outside of dance, she is attending Buffalo State College as apart of the honors program where she is pursuing a degree in Biology and Chemistry. Lindsey loves working with young people and aspires to be a science teacher as well as a dance teacher!

Caitlin Celis

Teacher

Caitlin Celis began her dance education at the age of three. Growing up, Caitlin broadened her training by studying with renowned choreographers and workshops. Her love of dance led Caitlin along a path towards a professional career. In 2004, Caitlin enrolled in the University at Buffalo’s dance program. She performed three seasons with UBs Zodiaque Dance Company before graduating in 2008 with her BFA in dance. Shortly after graduating, Caitlin began performing on board Royal Caribbean Cruiseline. After two successful contracts, Caitlin moved to Cancun, Mexico where her dance career continued. Caitlin performed in some of Mexico’s best resorts as a featured dancer and aerialist. Her final professional contract was with Cancun’s Oasis hotels. She began as a dancer and worked her way up to soloist and rehearsal director. Caitlin is grateful for her opportunities as a professional dancer and is eager to share what she has learned with Dansation’s aspiring dancers.

Christine O'Brien

Teacher

Christine O’Brien began dancing at the age of 4 at a local dance studio. At the age of 8 she was selected to compete in groups and solo competitions at a local and national level in tap, jazz, lyrical and ballet. In addition, she had the opportunity to perform at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida with her dance studio. Miss Christine has continued to grow in her knowledge of dance through various college courses with Neglia Ballet. Outside of the studio, Christine has recently obtained her Bachelors of Science in Accounting as well as an MBA. She currently works as a staff auditor for a local firm.

Emily Codick was born and raised in Buffalo, NY and has been dancing for over 25 years. A college graduate from the University at Buffalo, Emily majored in both dance and communications. She has performed for the mayors inaugural ball, Curtain Up!, and Neglia Conservatory of Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet to name a few. She is an experienced dance teacher, and her dedication over the last 14 years has earned her and her students awards and recognition regionally and nationally. In addition to teaching, Emily works for Neon Entertainment, a national entertainment booking agency, and is a loving wife and mother of two.

Jennifer Trybuskiewicz

Teacher

Jennifer Trybuskiewicz began her dance training at age 4. When she was 12, she joined Dansations and became a member of their competition team. She has preformed at numerous local competitions in many styles including tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, hip hop, and contemporary. Throughout her training, she has worked with artists including Jen Apter and Joe Celej. She has also attended workshops at Disney and preformed at Disney Springs. During this time, Jen also participated in the class assistant program at the studio. She loved doing this for the next 6 years, before finally becoming a teacher herself. She has much experience working with dancers of all ages and in a variety of styles. She has recently begun teaching and choreographing for the competitive program at Dansations, her soloist have received a variety of high scores and special judges awards. Additionally, she has completed teacher training at the famous Broadway Dance Center in NYC. Jen has been teaching at Dansations for the past 6 years and is looking forward to her 7th season!

Outside the studio, Jen has obtained her Bachelor’s of Science from Canisius College. She studied as a triple major in Marketing, Management, and Entrepreneurship. In her free time, Jen loves spending time with her 1 year old kitten names Louis. She can’t wait for another great year with her Dansations family.

Sharon Ralston

Teacher

At the age of 4 years old, Sharon Ralston began dance instruction in ballet, tap, jazz and acrobatics at Geraldine C Hoffman’s School of Dance. Soon it became apparent that ballet was her ultimate passion. During her early teens, she became class demonstrator for all ballet and pointe classes and then an assistant teacher. Shortly there after Sharon went on to become a full instructor. In order to improve in her chosen field, she studied Ballet at The University of Buffalo, Department of Dance, and also with Arthur Mitchell of The Dance Theatre of Harlem and Finis Jung, a master teacher. Later, Sharon completed teacher training with David Howard, world-renowned for mentoring such famous dancers as Mikail Baryshnikov and Natalia Markarova, which earned her a Certification in Ballet Instruction, with a Specialty in Pointe. Miss Sharon has continued teaching Ballet and Pointe at various studios in the Western New York area for over 40 years.

Christina Lamb

Teacher

Christina Lamb began her dance training at the age of 8 and has been with Dansations from the start. She was a member of the competition team for 10 years. She competed at the regional and national level in styles including tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, modern, and ballet. She earned several overall high scores and judges awards for her solos throughout the years at the regional and national level. In 2018, Christina earned a spot on the national dance team for Turn it Up. She performed with Turn It Up’s National Team in Ocean City, MD. Throughout her years she has taken many master dance classes and worked with choreographers including Joe Celej, Jen Apter, Sarah-Katarina, Michael Deep Weaver, Maud Arnold, Bailey Kirwan, Nikki Gyfto and more. During her time at the studio, she was part of the class assistant program for several years until she began teaching at the studio in 2019. She is currently attending Buffalo State College with a major in Early Childhood and Childhood Education. She has also taken ballet classes at Buffalo State College. She has always had a special love for children and enjoys teaching them. She would love to become a Kindergarten teacher. Christina is looking forward to another great year at Dansations and is excited for what the new year will bring.

Haley Bajer

Teacher

Haley Bajer started her dance training at the age of 3. When she was 15 she came to Dansations and became a member of the competition team. Haley has competed at various local and even national competitions in a variety of styles such as tap, jazz, hip hop, ballet, lyrical and contemporary. During her dance career she has completed many conventions and workshops and has worked with artists like Jen Apter, Joe Celeji, Megz Alfonso, SKooJ and more! During her time at Dansations not only has she competed but she also participated in the assistant teacher program where she trained to be a dance teacher. Hailey has been a substitute dance teacher at Dansations for a few years, and has taught some of the 6 week sessions that Dansations offers. Haley has great experience with kids of all ages and really enjoys dancing and bonding with the kids.

Outside of the studio Haley currently attends Buffalo State College where she has taken many dance classes including: ballet techniques, dance appreciation, and globalization of dance.

Haley absolutely loves her Dansations family and she can’t wait to see what this upcoming season brings!