Denise Danzo, Owner and Artistic Director
Denise received most of her dance training in Steamboat Springs, CO. She spent many intensive summers training at the famous Perry Mansfield School of the Arts, located in Steamboat. She is a previous company member of Ballet North West. She has 20 years of dance teaching experience, and has spent the last 10 years teaching dance in one of Denver’s most prestigious dance schools. She has an Associate of Arts Degree specializing in business and art. Denise has been the Director and Choreographer for the Denver Nuggets Professional Dance Team. She has performed in and choreographed for two Ford Truck commercials, one Ford Car commercial, and a dance video “Reality” for Cabana Boy Records. She has spent the last couple of years working with many cheerleading and pom squads in the Denver Metro area choreographing state routines, and musical theater for high school productions. She specializes in children’s dance and is excited to bring the highest quality of dance to the Castle Rock community.
Donovan Helma, Instructor
Donovan Helma began dancing at the age of three under the direction of his mother’s dance studio, Miller’s Dance Studio, in Denver CO. He currently continues his education in New York City. When he is not performing, Donovan teaches for numerous studios and national conventions across the United States. Some recent stage works include corporate performances for General Motors, Charles Schwab and a Monday Night Football halftime performance with the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. Donovan performed for Montreal’s Danse Encore International Festival in a production with the group Tap’d Out. In 2009 and 2010 Donovan toured with the new Greogory Hines tribute show, “Thank You Gregory” starring Jason Samuels Smith and Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards. Since 2004, he has performed for numerous tours and industrials with the international cast of Tap Dogs, including North America, Europe, South Africa and Australia. Donovan looks forward to continuing his performing career and inspiring audiences and students worldwide.
Danielle Sunseri, Instructor
Classical and Contemporary Ballet Dancer/Performer Ms. Sunseri is an Ohio native and trained as a competitive swimmer and gymnast before studying classical dance. She began at age 14 with German Zamuel and Valentina Moukhanova at Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School, studied on scholarship with PBTS Schenley Program and Graduate Program under David Holladay and Patricia Wilde and attended North Carolina School for the Arts and Mercyhurst College for Dance Performance and Pedagogy. She also studied at Peridance in NYC and at The School of Ballet Arizona and was a teacher’s apprentice under Mr. Kee Juan Han and Ms. Nadya Zubkov there for two years. She joined Martin Fredmann’s Colorado Ballet in 1995, dancing roles in Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s Serenade and Stars & Stripes and the principal role of Pioneer Woman in their 1998 historic staging of Martha Graham’s Appalachian Spring. She worked with repetiteurs Patricia Neary, Bart Cook, Janet Eilber, Terese Capucilli, Janek Schergen and others. She joined David Taylor Dance Theatre in 2003, performing seven seasons through its transition into Dawson/Wallace Dance Project until 2012 and simultaneously danced five seasons as a soloist with Zikr Dance Ensemble serving as David Taylor’s mainstay choreographic and rehearsal assistant from its 2008 inception through 2013. She danced numerous roles with both companies in ballets created by David Taylor, James Canfield, James Wallace, Gregory Dawson and others. She performed extensively with Kim Robards Dance and Elizabeth Shipiatsky’s Russian Ballet and enjoyed guest appearances with Kanopy Dance Company, International Youth Ballet and 7 Dancers. She has studied with master instructors Nikoloz Makhateli, Mark Carlson, Lorita Travaglia and Robert Sher-Machherndl and continues with her mentors German Zamuel and Lizanne McAdams-Graham. Ballet Instructor & Choreographer Ms. Sunseri has more than 20 years experience instructing young students in foundational through advanced levels of classical ballet, repertoire, stretch, conditioning, and choreography and has completed teacher training seminars in the Soviet/Russian method with Nadia Tikhonova, Zhanna Dubrovskaya and Mansur Kamaletdinov. She was a ballet instructor for ten years with the Academy of Colorado Ballet and has instructed students of all levels on many ballet faculties including the School of Ballet Arizona, Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, Rocky Mountain School of Dance, Belliston Academy of Ballet, Metropolitan Academy of Dance and International Ballet School & Youth Ballet. She designed and taught successful ballet programs for David Taylor Dance Theatre/Ascot Academy of Ballet and Denver Ballet Theatre and conducted numerous literacy-based dance residencies for Englewood Public Elementary School PEAK Outreach Programs. She has directed her own ballet program for figure skaters and taught ballroom dance to wedding couples for Adventures In Dance for three years. Ms. Sunseri joined the ballet faculty of Sweatshop Dance in 2011.
Nicole O’Farrell, Instructor
Nicole is an accomplished performer from the Denver area and currently the assistant- director and a performer of The Schiff Dance Collective in Boulder, CO. Nicole can be seen in such shows as “Dreamlife”, “Unsilenced”, “Project Joy/Full”, “How We Found Hope”, “fits like a gLOVE”, “She Is…”, and “The Edge of Us”.. She has spent her career studying, performing, and competing in a variety of styles including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Pointe, Contemporary, Hip Hop and more. She has had the honor of training with talents such as Jenny Schiff, Kit Andree, Thommie Walsh, Bill Hastings, Chet Walker, Jacob Mora, and Doug Caldwell to name a few. In August of 2008, she was a featured artist in two different studios in Oregon for summer workshops. Nicole is in high demand as she teaches and choreographs at multiple competitive level and pre-professional studios throughout Colorado. She attended the National Dance Teachers Summit in New York in the summer of 2009. In addition, Nicole was a featured performer with Danca Nova in Boulder. Nicole is a very fun and quirky teacher, a favorite for all ages!
Hailee Wilcox, Instructor
Hailee took her first dance class when she was three years old and has continued with her passion for dance since then. She trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, to lyrical, tap and clogging. During her 4 years of high school she was on the varsity cheerleading team at Douglas County High School. Hailee attended Wichita State University in Kansas and was the captain of her college’s dance team. Being a former student of Danza Dance Academy she is honored to have joined the teaching staff at Danza Dance Academy. She loves teaching and hopes to spread her love of dance to everyone.
Justin “DTM” Oliver, Instructor
Justin “DTM” Oliver’s drive, love and passion for Hip-Hop dance came at the young age of 11. From the moment he saw his future friend and mentor dancing in one of the studios, he was in love. Justin began dancing at Centerstage Starz in Littleton in the autumn of 2004 and adored it. Justin auditioned for Centerstage’s competition team in 2008 and made it onto one of the top teams. During this time, Justin began showing interest in teaching so he began substituting and assisting at Centerstage. In 2010, Justin landed his first teaching job at Streetside South, also in Littleton. After taking some time off for personal reasons in 2010, Justin has exploded back into the Hip-Hop scene and is diving headfirst into the choreography/teaching world. Justin has been teaching for a little over 2 years and has previously taught at Centerstage Starz, Streetside South, Artistic Fusion Dance Academy, and has choreographed an end-of-the-year piece at DCS Montessori in 2010. Justin has also taken classes from various professional choreographers such as: Dave Scott, Wade Robson, Leslie Scott, Chase Evered, Skye Edwards, Danza’s own Kevin O’Keefe, and many others. Justin is extremely excited to be a part of the Danza family and would like to thank Denise for the opportunity to be a part of such an awesome studio!
Katrina Lairsmith, Instructor
Katrina Lairsmith, Artistic Director of The Damsels Dance Company has never let anything stop her from dancing and it’s resulted in a life of professional accomplishment. As a teenager she watched dancers at a local studio then practiced what she saw at home in her basement. She was selected for the first magnet dance program in Denver, which eventually became the Denver School of the Arts. She also studied at Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Studio and at The Edge dance studio in L.A. with Mia Michaels, Terry Beeman, Eddie Garcia, Jackie Sleight, and Wes Veldink among others, and developed her unique style of modern contemporary dance.
Stephanie Reese, Ballet Mistress
Miss Stephanie began her dance career in 1978 at the age of 5 in Beaumont, Texas under the instruction of Bonnie Cokinos. It was without doubt that ballet was her first love. Her first Ballet appearance was at age 6 with the Beaumont Civic Ballet under the instruction of Marsha Woody in which she played a soldier and Angle in the famed Nutcracker. Having shown an incredible strength and natural ability she started training En Pointe at the very young age of 8.
At 10 she joined the Beaumont Ballet Theatre once again under the direction of Bonnie Cokinos where she spent the remainder of her training through High School. During her time with BBT she performed in multiple productions and the yearly showing of Cinderella dancing such parts as Waltz Flower Corps, Mazurka Pas de deaux with her older brother Stephen Reese and Winter Fairy Solo.
During her years at BBT she was trained by Mary Robinson in the Royal Academy of Dance out of London. She became certified as a student and was recognized by Dame Margot Fonteyn. At 14 she attended the Young Americans National competition in Los Angeles, California which she and her fellow company members took the championship for solid technique and original choreography. She was taught the latest styles by her 2 Jazz instructors Kelly Barkley and Joe Istre who both grew up in SE Texas and went on to not only perform on Broadway but also Choreograph. Kelly was the Co Choreographer for 42nd street alongside Randy Skinner in 2001.
Other Instructors Miss Stephanie had the honor to train with where David Howard, World Ballet Master whom recognized her talent at the age of 13 and invited her to train with him in NYC, however she declined due to family concerns. Richard Stienert, Soloist with American Ballet Thaetre (ABT) would perform with BBT as a guest artist, Cynthia Gregory, Principle Ballerina with ABT and Patsy Swayze who was a renowned Jazz instructor in Houston, Texas and the mother of the late Patrick Swayze.
Other training included many Master classes with Ballet greats through the Dance Masters of America in which her teacher Miss Bonnie was president for several years. She attended many conventions and competitions all over the states of Texas and Louisiana before she graduated High School and moved to Colorado.
In 1998 Miss Stephanie started her teaching career in Steamboat Springs where she took over the Winter program for famed performing arts camp Perry-Mansfield. She ran the program for 1.5 years and staged her first production with over 150 students.
In 1999 having realized there where limitations to grow at Perry-Mansfield she began her own studio, Steamboat Ballet School of Dance. The first year she had over 200 students and was the only teacher. By the third year she expanded and brought on other top instructors in the area and the school grew to have over 500 students.
During her time as Artistic Director she started a Non-profit performance company and befriended world master Michael Vernon during the Manhattan Dance Project, who would come from NYC to work with the her dancers. Mr. Vernon was also the studio teacher for American Ballet Theatre, Julliard and former company member of the Royal Ballet in London, England. Best known for his impeccable training in Classical Ballet Technique, Stephanie developed her skills while working with him to bring a higher level of training to the Yampa valley.
During her time as Artistic Director she staged several original ballet productions during her time at Steamboat Ballet such as; American Jubilee, Turning Pointe, Spanish Nights, A Musical Journey and Dulce Finis.
At the age of 30 in 2003 she staged the full Nutcracker Ballet with 2 complete cast which featured Michael Vernon as Drosselmeyer. It was such a success that people were paying to stand in the isles to see it.
In 2005 Stephanie left Steamboat to pursue teaching in the Denver area and to grow her skills as an instructor. She taught for Metropolitan Academy of Dance for 8 years. She was recognized as a Platinum Choreographer at several different dance competitions her students attended.
In 2013 Stephanie joined a local studio in Castle Rock where she built a top-notch Ballet program and staged Nutcracker 3 years in a row growing the program for older more advanced students. She also started a pointe program in which she carefully trained students the correct way to go en pointe and is looking forward to bringing all of her resources and experience to Danza Dance.
Sheryl Walker, Office Manager