Encore Dance Studio

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Meet the Faculty

Ashley Palmer- Founder, Executive Director, Company Choreographer, Instructor.

Ashley Palmer is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum.

Teacher Training and Certification:

American Ballet Theatre®, National Training Curriculum. (2017)

Vaganova Ballet Academy, St. Petersburg, Russia. Intensive Teacher Training.(2000)

Mat I & II Certification in Pilates through Balanced Body University.(2010)

Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration.

Siena Heights University, Graduated Cum Laude. (1999)

Company Member, Principal Dancer:

Ann Arbor Ballet Theatre (1990-93)

Additional Choreography includes:

The Croswell Opera House, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.

Siena Heights University, Anything Goes.

Tecumseh Center for the Arts, The Nutcracker Ballet. 

Additionally Instructs Ballet for:

Adrian College Bulldog Skating Camp

Adrian College Synchronized Skating Team

Adrian College Dance Team

Currently an Adjunct Dance Professor for Siena Heights University and Adrian College.

Tanya Smith- Founder, Artistic Director, Company Choreographer, Instructor.

Tanya studied dance from well-known instructors, Julie O‘Connell and Joanie O'Connell-Periatt where she was a member of their Elite Dance Teams. While attending conventions and competitions, she received scholarships to attend Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway. Through these scholarships she was able to attend classes by some of the top choreographers. Tanya also attended the Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles, where she took several classes to further her dance training. Dancing led Tanya to many opportunities including national commercials, television, videos, and print work. At the age of 11, she was in the professional production of ’Annie“at the Westgate Dinner Theatre. At the age of 12, she was featured in Joe Walsh‘s music video ’Ordinary Average Guy.“ During the same year, she was a member of a trio, which made it to the final callback auditions for Star Search. At age 18, she moved to Orlando, Florida and auditioned for a performance company. After receiving word of her acceptance into the company she began work at Walt Disney World and the Orlando Convention Center. Tanya is currently the choreographer and coach of the Senior, Teen, and Junior Elite Jazz Teams, Junior Performance Jazz Team, and the Petite dance team. Her teams have received such diverse awards as Highest Overall Score, Platinum awards, and many specialty awards for her choreography. This year will be her 19th year teaching at Encore Dance Studio! Tanya graduated from Adrian College with a teaching degree in Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. In addition to teaching dance, Tanya has taught at Adrian Public Schools for seven years. She teaches Health, Physical Education, and Dance at Adrian High School.

Mandy Harman -Artistic Director, Company Choreographer, Instructor.

Mandy began dancing at the age of three. Beginning with tap and jazz lessons, she received her first studio scholarship by the age of 8, and began entering competitions at the age of 9. Being an ambitious student, Mandy auditioned for and was accepted into a traveling competition and performing group at the age of 11. From here she studied tap, jazz, hip-hop and ballet. Also during this time she traveled to many different cities for competitions where she won several high awards and scholarships to attend Broadway Dance Center and an invitation to the Dance Caravan, Caravan Kid Program.  During her travels she was able to take classes from some of the top choreographers in the country. As she grew older, Mandy continued her study of dance and gymnastics and began to perform in musicals. Mandy was also a member of a dance trio making it to the final auditions for Star Search- a nationally televised program showcasing the top talent from around the world. It was around this time that Mandy began teaching dance as well. At the age of 19, Mandy was involved with the dance department and cheerleading squad at Bowling Green State University, but was given the opportunity to come back to her hometown of Toledo and become a full time dance instructor and choreographer. Six months later, Mandy took over as owner of the studio and feels very lucky to have been given the opportunity. During the years she owned her own studio, Mandy created a traveling competition team where she did all of the choreography and instruction, taught more than 20 classes a week from the beginner to the advanced levels in tap, jazz, hip hop and lyrical, coached a Varsity gymnastics team for 5 years taking gymnasts to the State level of Competition and has choreographed and coached for many high school dance teams, gymnastics teams and college dance teams. Many of Mandy's students have gone on to dance professionally in Disney World, Chicago and other areas as well. To continue her training, Mandy often travels to New York City to take class at Broadway Dance Center. Mandy teaches many intermediate and advanced classes at Encore. Currently, Mandy is the choreographer and coach of the Elite Hip Hop Team, Junior Performance Hip Hop Team, Senior Elite Lyrical Team, Junior Elite Lyrical Team, Teen Elite Lyrical Team and Tap Team. Her teams have received many high awards, special judges choice awards, showmanship awards and have qualified and placed well at Tremaine National Competitions. In 2016 Mandy was awarded the “Top Choreographer” Award at On Point Dance Competition for her choreography of the lyrical routine, “99 Red Balloons”.

Brook Manchester - Instructor

After watching her very first dance recital as a young girl, Brook just knew she wanted to Dance! Brook began dancing with Gail Wildfong School of Dance and studied with Gail all through High School. While attending dance classes, Brook studied and completed Cecchetti Council of Ballet Grades I & II. Brook also attended Danny Hoctor’s Dance Caravan convention in Cincinnati, Ohio where she competed and attended summer workshops for 5 years. After high school, Brook attended Western Michigan University where she studied dance as a minor. She completed her BA in Arts in April 1996. After graduating WMU Brook began teaching dance, primarily younger children tap, ballet, and jazz in Kalamazoo and in Davenport, IA. Brook taught dance until 2000 when her oldest daughter was born, she is so happy that her two daughters enjoy dancing as much as she has, they are both students at Encore. Brook currently works at Lumen Christi Catholic High School in Jackson as the Business Office Manager and has also been a Girl Scout Troop leader for the past 7 years. The spring of 2015 Brook choreographed the musical “Brigadoon" at Lumen Christi Catholic School.

Carter Asbury - Instructor

Carter's love of dance started at a young age. She began dancing at age 4. She studied Ballet, point, tap, jazz, lyrical, flamenco, and musical theater. At age 13 she started dancing with Encore, and was a member of the Elite Dance team for 5 years. While attending classes at Encore she was an assistant and substitute teacher. She participated in many competitions and conventions such as Tremaine, I Love Dance, and Encore. She also performed in the Tecumseh Nutcracker Ballet for 3 years. She continued her training at Lansing Community College where she studied Ballet, aerobics, kinesiology and was apart of the Dance Kaleidoscope Program. Also she is CPR certified. While in Lansing she became interested in Yoga, health, and Wellness. Carter loves to work with children and looks forward to sharing her skills, knowledge, and love of fitness.

Cassidy Williams - Instructor

Miss Cassidy has shown a passion for dance since the age of two.  Taking many ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, pointe, and hip hop classes, she found her best abilities. Here, is also where she started competing. Starting out with Ensemble Team and moving up to The Sr. Elite Team; competing in numerous competitions and conventions including: Encore, The Pulse, West Coast Dance Explosion, Tremaine, Groove, and Starbound. Through competitions many awards were given including: golds, high golds, platinums, scholarships, judge's awards, and best showmanship awards. Cassidy traveled to Orlando, Florida two years in a row to take part in Tremaine's National Convention.  She has taken classes from famous dancers and choreographers, which brings out the inspiration in her today.  Miss Cassidy as well performed various roles in the Tecumseh Center for the Arts' production of The Nutcracker. Cassidy graduated from Sand Creek High School as a top ten, national honor student. Here, she was also part of the sideline and competitive cheer teams.  She is now attending Adrian College as a biology majoring hopes of going somewhere in the medical field. Cassidy is a part of the Adrian College dance team. She dances on the sidelines of every football and basketball game, and all halftime shows. She also traveled to various competitions, also receiving a national championship. She was awarded MVP her first year on the team. Cassidy has been teaching for the past four years and is very excited to be back to teach again.  "Encore has been my home, it is where I found my love for dance; and I hope to help my students find the same passion for dance that I did."

Riley Carrier - Company Choreographer, Instructor

Miss Riley is currently a sophomore at Siena Heights University and is majoring in Physical Therapy. Along with that, she is being certified to become a yoga instructor at the 200 level and will finish this certification in the fall of 2016. Riley is also a member of the Siena Heights Sideline Dance Team and has been choreographing half-time dances for them. Also, this will be Riley’s second year competing with Siena Heights Competitive Dance Team. Miss Riley has been studying dance for the past eighteen years. Previously, she danced in multiple roles in the nutcracker, and has been a part of the Encore Dance Studio’s Competitive Dance Team, and performed with the Blue Lake International Ballet Ensemble in the summer of 2014. Recently, Miss Riley has been choreographing for the Tecumseh Youth Theatre. She choreographed the middle school show, Legally Blonde Junior, and choreographed all three of their summer camp shows in July 2016. Miss Riley has been teaching for five years now and is extremely excited to share her love and passion for dance with all of her students!  

Abby Slusher - Instructor

Miss Abby started dancing at Encore at the age of 6. She started with just a few classes and soon started competing. She has competed in many competitions such as: On Pointe, Applause, Groove, Starbound, West Coast, Encore, Tremaine and many more. Abby has also attended Tremaine's Nationals competition for two years in Orlando, Florida. She has received many awards during competing such as: best showmanship, judges award, high gold and platinums. Miss Abby had the opportunity and traveled to Europe for a month with Blue Lake International Ballet Ensemble. As she went through many cities, she got to stay with six different host families, who mostly had young dancers, and perform for/with them as her time in each city came to an end. Performing with kids in Europe has inspired her in such a different way, and she can't wait to share it with her classes. This fall Miss Abby will be going into her Junior year at Adrain College. She is majoring in Social Work while also taking on the role of Vice President of the Social Work club. Once receiving her Bachelors of SW, she hopes to get her Masters Degree in counseling. This year, Miss Abby will be rejoining the Adrian College Dance Team where she will be on the sidelines of each home football and basketball games while also performing during halftimes. This is her fourth year teaching at Encore and as always, is very excited to meet her new students and share her passion and love for dance with them!

Maddie Soave - Company Choreographer, Instructor

Maddie Soave- Instructor

Maddie’s dancing career began at Deborah’s Stage Door in Rochester Hills, MI, as she was exposed to a dynamic group of stylized instructors and professionals through extensive training, workshop, convention and competition. With DSD, Maddie was also a Radio Disney dancer, featured in opening numbers for The Jonas Brothers, The Cheetah Girls, Keke Palmer and more. Maddie’s more extensive performance history includes several productions of The Nutcracker, Detroit Pistons’ and Detroit Lions’ halftime shows. As she entered high school, Maddie competed with Adagio Dance Company by Kristina Boroja and worked under professionals including Danity Kane and Girlicious choreographer, Bobby Newberry. In 2011, Maddie attended Interlochen Arts Camp on a modern dance scholarship. The following summer, she was recruited as an inaugural dance team member to Siena Heights University, where she spent her collegiate career building a program and a culture. She graduated from SHU in 2016 as a 3-time NAIA All American athlete. Maddie is currently the head coach of Cheer & Dance at Adrian College. She is dedicated to her craft and passionate about sharing it here with her Encore family.

Dani Johnson - Instructor

Dani is a recent University of Michigan alumni where she studied communications and was a member of the dance team. As a member of the dance team, Dani competed at the Universal Dance Association national competition and was part of the BIG 10 Championship Hip Hop team in 2014. Prior to her college career, she attended Encore Dance Studio where she was an instructor and a member of the Elite team. Dani has additionally trained with The Joffrey Ballet and attended numerous dance conventions & competitions. Dani has choreographed for and worked with multiple dance camps, Grand Blanc Middle School Poms, Swartz Creek High School Dance Team, and Siena Heights University Dance Team. Dani is super excited to re-join her Encore family and to share her passion for dance with the next generation of Encore dancers. 

Office Staff-

Kristina Dennis

Terran Torres

Kristina is a teacher at Onsted Elementary School and the mother of three daughters. She lives in Tecumseh with her husband of 19 years, Michael and their daughters, Megan, Kylee, and Emily. Kristina graduated from Hillsdale College and then received her masters from Siena Heights University in Elementary Education. She began her teaching career right out of college at Onsted Schools and then took a period of time to be a stay at home mom with her girls. Prior to returning back to the classroom, Kristina taught several college classes and classes for adults and children, which provided her with valuable people skills and managerial skills. Kristina was also the PTO treasurer for Tecumseh Acres for 8 years while her children were in elementary school. She brings a smiling face and positive attitude to the studio and looks forward to sharing her family’s love of Encore and its teachers with all of you. The Encore Dance Studio faculty is here to make this an experience of a lifetime.

Terran is currently a stay at home Mom raising her three daughters and has been married to her husband, Ray for 14 years. They have lived in Tecumseh for the past 8 years. Terran graduated from the University of Toledo with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business with a minor in Communications. Prior to being fortunate enough to stay home to raise her girls Terran worked at Nationwide Financial and Nationwide Insurance. She learned valuable people skills as well as important business and organization strategies. Terran has always had a love for dance. She started Ballet when she was 3 years old and danced most of her childhood. Her love of dance shows through when she watches her daughters dance at Encore Dance Studio! Terran is confident that with her helpful nature and her positive attitude that she will be a great addition to the Encore Dance Studio faculty and staff.

Ashley, Tanya, 


Mandy with the


and Marty Dew.

Ashley, Tanya, 


Mandy with 


Ashley, Tanya, and

 Mandy with 

Mia Michaels.

Marty Dew 

instructing a 

Master Hip Hop 

Workshop at