We use American Ballet Theatre for our guideline how to train a healthy dancer. Nothing of this scope was ever produced for any sport or physical activities. While injuries will always be a part of any high level physical activity, our goal is to do our best to minimize the risks. Every student who dances must receive all the benefits of dancing: Happy, Healthy and Versatile Dancers. We want to balance the proper training with the opportunities for serious dancers to pursue a professional career in dance, as well as dancing for the love of the art form.
Dancing for Good Health, Joy & Self-discipline
Dancing can be a way to stay fit for people of all ages, shapes and sizes. It has a wide range of physical, and mental benefits including: improved condition of your heart and lungs, increased muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness, increased aerobic fitness, improved muscle tone and strength, weight management, stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis, better coordination, agility and flexibility, improved balance and spatial awareness, increased physical confidence, improved mental functioning, improved general and psychological wellbeing, greater self-confidence and self-esteem, and better social skills. Most forms of dance may be considered an aerobic exercise and as such reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, help weight control, stress reduction, and bring about other benefits commonly associated with physical fitness. In addition, studies have demonstrated a considerable correlation between dancing and psychological well-being. It also helps with discipline, coordination, balance and memorization.
A major study at Stanford University added to the growing evidence that stimulating one’s mind by dancing can ward off Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia, much as physical exercise can keep the body fit. Dancing also increases cognitive acuity at all ages. Dancing integrates several brain functions at once — kinesthetic, rational, musical, and emotional — further increasing your neural connectivity.
About the Training Method
There is an amazing feeling of happiness and joy that comes from dancing ballet that is so different from anything else. You feel strong, flexible, and in control. You feel your feet pointing, legs moving with ease, you flow in movements and you feel like flying when you jump. To get to that place it takes years of consistent training. When people say that I train my students for professional dancing only, because we require so much time commitment, I disagree. We train our students to share with them that feeling of pure freedom, joy and happiness that birds feel when they fly. Because ballet feels just as amazing as it looks.
Ballet teaches how to be patient with yourself and learn how to work every day to improve your mind, your body, and your technique.
Very often the ones that are physically talented and smart, who get good grades at school with minimal effort, they tend to get discouraged when are faced with challenges in ballet class, because they do not know how to deal with a challenge. They feel if they didn’t get it right away they are just not good at that particular movement. I was one of those kids who got all “A” without really needing to try hard in school. I got discouraged when things didn’t happen right away in ballet class. With time I understood what it means to work on a challenge, think, apply corrections and you get results. Just because there is a challenge it doesn’t mean you are not good at it.
The Turning Pointe School of Dance has a strong classical ballet foundation with the primary goal of raising properly trained dancers. We use the American Ballet Theater Curriculum which is a combination of Russian, Italian and French ballet styles. We teach our students the difference among classical ballet styles, and encourage our students to learn and be able to switch between the styles of ballet. Ballet serves as our core technique; building a foundation that allows dancers to adopt and adapt to other dance aesthetics, styles, and techniques. Turning Pointe School of Dance also provides strong dance programs in Hip-Hop, and Contemporary with recreational Jazz and Lyrical classes. We encourage all dancers to be versatile in their training and movement styles.
Terry Irion, along with her husband, Bruce, founded the Turning Pointe School of Dance in October of 2004 with the goal of providing an environment that would instill the joy of dance. The also strived to provide students with the level of training needed to pursue a professional dance career. Natalya Vyashenko joined the Turning Pointe School of Dance in September 2007. In 2009, Natalya became the owner of the Turning Pointe School of Dance.
Since 2007 Michelle Walker has been with the Turning Pointe School of Dance, teaching Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Lyrical. She believes in a strong foundation in Ballet and emphasizes proper body alignment. Her classes are focused, stimulating and challenging. Miss Michelle became the new owner of the Turning Pointe School of Dance in August 2019. She takes great care with each and everyone of her students. Whether they dance in college, with a dance company, competitions, or for the pure joy of it. She wants them to be happy, healthy, successful, and versatile.
Michelle received her early ballet training from the Canton Ballet. Coursework concentrated on Ballet Technique, Pointe, and Dance Physical Analysis. Performance background included the yearly Christmas production of “The Nutcracker” and the spring performance of “Swan Lake.”
Michelle continued her dance training at the University of Akron, receiving her B.A. degree from the College of Fine and Applied Arts. Coursework included Ballet Technique, Pointe, Pas de deux, Modern, Jazz, Choreography, Dance Notation, and Pilates. Performance background included Repertory Company, Touring Ensemble, and Shakespeare & Company.
Michelle has been with the Turning Pointe School of Dance since 2007 teaching Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Tap, and Lyrical Dance. She believes in a strong foundation in ballet and emphasizes proper body alignment. Her classes are focused, stimulating, and challenging. She takes great care with each and every one of her students. Whether they dance in college, with a dance company, competitions, or for the pure joy of it she wants them to be happy, healthy, successful, and versatile.
Michelle resides in Jackson Township with her husband Mike, and two daughters Emma and Sarah. Her daughters have called “Turning Pointe” home since they were two years old. Her daughter Emma teaches Pre-Primary Ballet on Saturdays.
Miss Michelle’s Turning Pointe School of Dance
Randi Brooks has over 25 years of dance experience. Born and raised in Akron, Ohio, Randi started her dance career at the age of two years old at Sharon Rae Performing Arts Studio. For 15 years she trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, modern, acting, gymnastics, and chorus line. It was at this studio where Randi in productions at Carnegie Hall New York, Walt Disney World, and invited to perform at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
She started the very first Dance Team at her high school, Archbishop Hoban of Akron, and went on to dance professionally for the Cleveland Force Soccer Team at the age of 18. As an adult dancer, Randi’s dance career expanded to be a member of ILL’U’SYN Hip Hop Crew and performances at the University of Akron, Kent State University, MTV, BET, and masterclasses around the country.
Today at the age of 32, Randi is currently a restaurant manager in downtown Cleveland and has her own business named SugarStoned Cake Design. While Randi is expanding her restaurant career, she is eager and excited to be apart of Natalya’s Turning Pointe School of Dance. Her goal is to help expand the young minds of the dancers to explore their creativity and grow their natural strengths into the most beautiful dancers they can be.
A native of Northeast Ohio, Victoria Fraumann, began her ballet studies at the age of 2. Her range of dance has consisted of Tap, Irish, Lyrical, Jazz, Contemporary, Character, and her passion, Classical Ballet. Victoria has studied 4 years of American Ballet, 6 years of intensive Russian Ballet (Vaganova Technique) and 6 years of intensive study with the American Ballet Theatre (ABT). Victoria has trained 6 days per week for the past 10 years and received her accreditation as a professional dancer thought the ABT after passing her Level 6 testing with Honors in New York City in 2018.
Victoria had the honor of performing several dances protected by the Balanchine trust.
Victoria has been a touring member and principle dancer of Ballet Le Reve, the premier pre- professional ballet company in Northeast Ohio, for 10 years and has performed countess roles throughout the years.
Victoria has been trained and/or taken master classes with the following professional artists: Nurzhan Kulybaev, Natalya Vyashenko, Misty Copeland, Paul Boos, Zippora Karz, Ivan Zaytcev, Joshua Beamish, Amar Ramasar, Ashley Bowder, Julia Erickson, Allison DeBona, Rex Tilton, Christopher Ruud, Carlo Lopez, Aaron Ingley, Phil Chan, Amelia Lowe representing the following companies: ABT, New York Ballet, Ballet Magnificat, and the New York City Rockettes.
Victoria’s energetic and fun-loving attitude along with her classical training helps makes dance challenging and fun!
Lillie began her dance training at Tolbert Yilmaz School of Dance located in Roswell, GA at the age of 5. In 2015, Lillie continued her dance training as a pre-apprentice member of the pre-professional company at Roswell Dance Theater. She has participated in productions such as “The Nutcracker”, “Coppelia”, and performances at Walt Disney World. In 2016 Lillie moved her dance studies to Natalya’s Turning Pointe School of Dance. She has successfully completed 2 years of ABT training in levels 3B with merit and 4B. Lillie was a member of the pre-professional company, Ballet Le Reve and has performed in their production of “Alice and Wonderland”. Lillie is also a member of Jackson School of the Arts at Jackson High School where she studies dance.
Lillie’s dance training styles has consisted of Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Tap, and Character, and has been studying for 11 years. She has trained with professional artists such as Kassandra Taylor Newberry, Robert Gosnell, Tracy Vogt Wardlaw, Nurzhan Kulybaev, and Natalya Vyashenko. She has taken master classes from Paul Boos and Gary Taylor. She has performed in the production “Crystal Vortex” choreographed by Gary Taylor.
Lillie is excited to be apart of Miss Michelle’s Turning Pointe and is looking forward to share her passion for dance.
Emma started dancing at Natalya’s Turning Pointe School of Dance at 3 years old. She has been dancing as a ballet, pointe, lyrical, hip hop, jazz, modern, and tap dancer for 12 years. At the age of 10, she joined Universal Beat and remained in the company until she was 13. Emma was also a member of the pre-professional company, Ballet Le Reve and participated in many of their shows, including Alice in Wonderland. She was a member of the Jackson School of the Arts program for 2 years at Jackson High School.
Emma has trained with Nurzhan Kulybaev and Natalya Vyashenko. She has taken master classes from Paul Boos. This year, Emma will be graduating as a junior from Jackson High School and continuing her studies in math and science.
Emma loves teaching children at Miss Michelle’s Turning Pointe and is proud to share her love for dance with them. She is excited to teach for as long as she can.
Mathew Blasio is a NE Ohio native who started dancing when he was 10 years old. Competing for 5 years, he has earned many regional and national winning titles. His love for dance mixed with singing and acting in high school where he began performing in musicals. Currently he studies Musical Theatre and Dance at Kent State University, where he also works at a local coffee shop. Tap has always been one of his favorite styles, and he is so excited to be able to bring it to the studio!