- Karen Kernowner/director
KAREN KERN She’s the woman who makes it all happen! Karen Kern is the owner/director of Karen’s School of Dance, and of the award winning dance company Dance’Sations. She is truly dedicated to making her studio the best possible. Karen is known for inspiring her students to always reach higher, instilling that hard work and determination will push them to their personal best. Karen believes that a dance studio should be more than just that; it’s a place for dancers to come together as a community, and for many it’s a second home.
Karen has lived in the Highland/Milford area most of her life where she attended Huron Valley Schools up until high school. She then transferred to a performing arts school, Interlochen Arts Academy of Michigan. Karen received a dance scholarship and studied with the academy until her graduation in 1986. Karen’s academic and dance skills also allowed her to attend Eastern Michigan University as an off-campus senior, while at Interlochen, where she continued her dance studies and opened her studio at the age of 17.
Karen was accepted into the Lakes Area Ballet Company and performed with them in addition to her travels and touring with Interlochen’s Dance Ensemble.
Throughout her career, Karen has trained under many respected choreographer’s including Donna Mihalik, Robert Gatzke, Peter Sparling, Bella Lewitzky, Joe Tremaine, Barry Lather, Gay Delange, Steven Whistrich, Betsy Dickie, Vicke Emmert, and many others.
Karen began teaching dance at the age of 15 and currently teaches all levels and ages at her studio. She has won many top awards for her choreography and teaching such as Teacher of the Year, “The Icon Award” for Best Choreography and Choreographer of the Year at dance competitions like Kids Artistic Revue and Bravo Dance and Talent Competition. She also judges for local and national competitions.
Within recent years KSD has been honored to receive many coveted awards, displaying outstanding achievement as a studio. KSD has accepted the judge’s FDC Award at Kids Artistic Revue’s nationals, an award given to only one exceptional routine throughout an entire week of national competition. As of late, her dancers have been invited to participate in the prestigious FDC World Championships. Karen is also proud to have received numerous “backstage awards” for her studio, which congratulate dancers on exceptional manners, professionalism, and general conduct backstage during competitions.
Karen teaches jazz, tap, ballet, pointe, lyrical and jazz gymnastics and she absolutely loves what she does! She looks forward to teaching anyone with a passion for dance, living by her motto, “Dream. Believe. Achieve.”
- Maureen HoyeOffice Manager
Maureen Hoye has been the Office Manager for Karen’s School of Dance for 15 years. On a day-to-day basis, “Miss Moe” keeps the studio running!
On most days you’ll find her at the front desk and if you have a question about your dancer’s schedule, tuition, or general studio happenings, she is the expert.
Maureen is a dedicated employee who spends countless hours not only managing, but helping out with costumes, overseeing projects and lending helpful advice for parents. She’s a vital member of our staff here at KSD! On most days you’ll find her at the front desk and if you have a question about your dancer’s schedule, tuition, or general studio happenings, she is the expert.
Maureen is a dedicated employee who spends countless hours not only managing, but helping out with costumes, overseeing projects and lending helpful advice for parents. She’s a vital member of our staff here at KSD!
- Liliya Ruhukya Ballet Director / Competition Director
Our Ballet Director and Competition Director is Liliya Ruhukya, fondly known as “Miss Lil”. Her vast knowledge of the art of dance is evident from the moment one sets foot in her classroom. She perseveres to provide students with extensive knowledge that they will always carry with them. Her experienced background paired with her patience and kind-hearted nature is only part of what makes her an excellent teacher.
Liliya began her dance training at the age of ten and completed eight years of professional classical ballet training at the College of Ballet and Choreography in Minsk, Belarus (part of Russia at the time), where she was trained in the “Vaganova” method. Her college instructor Vera Shvetsova was herself trained by the famous Vaganova and was one of Vaganova’s best students.
Liliya has trained and worked with various choreographers including Dr. Olga Tarasova, Lena Golikova and Lena Bendel. Liliya has performed various ballets at the Bolshoi Theater in Minsk including, “Sleeping Beauty”, “Swan Lake”, “Corsaire”, “Giselle”, “Nutcracker”, and “Chopinianna”. She also performed “Halt of Calvary” in Germany, Vietnam and in the United States. In addition to classical ballets, Liliya has also performed in dramas and pantomime.
After moving to the United States, Liliya taught in North Carolina while she also toured Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio performing in “Time To Remember”, “Christmas Around The World”, “Pas De Quatre”, “Dying Swan—by Saint Saen”, and “Man on the Street”. Liliya has taught in Virginia and danced in such works as “Hadassah-The Story of Ester” and “The Play”.
Liliya has been a staff member at Karen’s School of Dance for over ten years and teaches classes and workshops to all levels – from beginner to advanced – in classical ballet, pointe, variation and character dance. Although she devotes many hours a week to provide outstanding ballet and pointe training to our dancers, it doesn’t stop there. Liliya also teaches award winning lyrical, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop routines. During our winter season, Liliya works hard creating KSD’s own version of the Nutcracker for our Holiday Spectacular. It’s clear that she lives and breathes the art of dance!
- Stephanie FicaTAP DIRECTOR / ASSISTANT COMPETITION DIRECTOR
Stephanie Fica is the Tap Director and Assistant Competition Director here at Karen’s School of Dance. She enjoys choreographing routines in a range of styles from classical to street to musical theater influenced tap. While tap is her specialty, Stephanie equally enjoys teaching other styles of dance including jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet, and musical theater. Stephanie is known for her energetic teaching methods and unique choreography.
Stephanie trained at Karen’s School of Dance for thirteen years and has been a member of the staff for over eight years. Her training under Karen Kern included jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, musical theater, hip-hop, gymnastics, and modern. Stephanie has also pursued studies in acting and theatre. Stephanie was part of the award winning Dance’Sations Dance Company at KSD for many years, competing regionally and nationally each year. She was proud to receive many top overall awards for both group and solo performances. After graduating high school, Stephanie attended Michigan State University where she received her bachelor’s degree in English.
For the past few years, Stephanie has been a Convention Teacher on a National Tour, traveling the country to teach for dance conventions. Stephanie is also a choreographer and audition judge for the Milford High School Varsity Pom Pon team. She was a four year varsity member of the team herself while she attended Milford High School.
In addition to teaching her own classes, Stephanie has assisted Miss Karen for many years. She is a highly talented and respected teacher and her choreography – from recreational to competitive – is outstanding. Over the past several years, Stephanie’s students of all ages have won numerous top overall awards for tap, lyrical, musical theater, and jazz.
Stephanie believes that dance is beneficial in many ways beyond being a form of physical exercise; self-esteem, pride, and creativity are only a few of the elements she hopes her students will attain! We’re so happy to have Stephanie as part of our staff and she looks forward to meeting and teaching all of you.
- Ashley Charlick
Ashley Charlick is a truly talented teacher here at Karen’s School of Dance. She puts her knowledge of advanced technical training and fantastic style to great use in all the classes she assists. Ashley is known for inspiring students to always reach higher!
Ashley trained at Karen’s School of Dance for over 15 years. During her years on the Dance’Sations team, Ashley was consistently recognized and honored for her talents including the coveted title of Miss Dance America in 2007, Dance Spirit Magazine’s “Future Star of the Year” and she was one of only 12 dancers from across the nation to be selected by LA Dance Force (LADF) to perform with “Dance with the Force.” Ashley’s accomplishments also include making it to the top 100 dancers during season 5 of “So You Think You Can Dance.”
In 2008, Ashley joined Stiletto Entertainment – an international entertainment production, management and marketing company – and spent 9 months dancing around the world aboard Holland Cruise Line’s, Eurodam. More recently, Ashley was a member of the Detroit Pistons Dance Team for multiple seasons.
Ashley looks forward to putting her talents to good use as a teacher at KSD! She will be full-time at the studio and looks forward to seeing everyone this year.
- Lynda McCarron
- ALICIA SCHULTE
Alicia Schulte is a fantastic teacher with a gift for sharing her love of dance. Her excitement for teaching and her passion for the art of dance are just some of the many things that make her an excellent part of KSD.
Miss Alicia began her dance training at the age of seven. She trained and performed locally for many years while also studying with nationally known and respected teachers such as Eugene Mills, Doug Caldwell and Joe Tremaine. Alicia has been teaching dance since graduating from Western Michigan University in 1998, where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Education. While at WMU, Alicia also minored in dance and was a member of Orchesis Dance Society. Orchesis is a self-sustained organization within the dance department at WMU that provides performance opportunities that enable students to showcase creative works, raises funds, brings in guest artists from the professional dance world, and provides support to WMU’s department of dance.
Miss Alicia’s dance experience combined with her professional teaching certification helps her to provide young dancers with a unique opportunity for learning and growth. Her classes emphasize collaboration and creative teaching methods, while focusing on the development of each dancer’s potential. While Alicia has experience performing, choreographing, and teaching a wide variety of dance styles, her concentration and true passion is to teach Ballet and Lyrical. She has experience teaching ages 3 to adult, including all skill levels from beginner through advanced, from recreational to competitive. Alicia has often been recognized for her choreography for groups and soloists, and also has had the honor of watching many of her students win awards, titles, and scholarships at both regional and national competitions. Many of her students have gone on to study dance at prestigious universities and with highly sought after dance companies.
Miss Alicia is very excited for the upcoming dance year. Her love of dance is contagious, and can be seen in her classroom most days of the week!
- Angela Fica
Angela Fica has been a valued KSD staff member for over 5 years now, and is looking forward to another memorable year! Angela is a dedicated teacher who works persistently with her students to help them achieve their goals. She loves to choreograph unique routines and help dancers progress.
Angela trained at Karen’s School of Dance for 15 years under Karen Kern. At KSD she trained in competitive levels of ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip-hop, and gymnastics. Angela was part of the Dance’Sations Dance Company, competing groups as well as solos regionally and nationally. Her performances brought her to cities such as Las Vegas, Panama City, Chicago, and Biloxi where she won top overall scores in numerous competitions. Angela has been competing since the age of 6, placing consistently, leading her to win a National Championship title in 2007.
Other accomplishments of Angela’s include performing in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky as well as in the Detroit Lions and Detroit Rockers halftime shows. In high school she was recognized by several talent scouts at Impact Dance Convention and received callbacks from casting directors as well as choreographers in both jazz and hip-hop. Angela was scouted by and has signed with Traque Model Management Detroit. As a teacher, Angela’s recent accomplishments include having students place consistently in the overalls, as well as in the regional title division.
Angela enjoys teaching dancers of all ages and levels. She looks forward to teaching jazz, lyrical, ballet, hip-hop, and tap, and can’t wait to lend her talents to aspiring dancers for many years to come.
- Tracy Feeman
Tracy Feeman will be both teaching and assisting this year at KSD, and will be a true asset to all classes with her positive attitude and enthusiasm for teaching. Tracy will also be coordinating our Star Babies program for young dancers!
Tracy began dancing at Karen’s School of Dance at the age of four and joined the Dance’sations company, beginning her competition career by age ten. At KSD she was trained in many different styles of dance including jazz, lyrical, tap, hip-hop and the classical Vaganova Russian style ballet and Pointe. Her passion for performing has helped her gain multiple national titles and awards, including the coveted Miss Dance 2009, and multiple special judges awards such as, “The Effortless Award,” as well as dancing in a group which was awarded National Champions 2005 and National Grand Champions 2007.
As a strong dancer in both jazz and lyrical, Tracy received multiple dance scholarships including a full scholarship to attend WILD Dance convention in 2007 and was also recognized in the top overalls at numerous competitions for both solos and group performances. Tracy’s performances allowed her to travel across the country for both regional and national competitions. Tracy has worked with many well known instructors and choreographers including Karen Kern, Patrice Barakat-Coral, Carlee Puffer, Meredith Berry-Pennington, Jon Bond, Debbie Kohler, Billy Larson, Kacy Combs, Deanna Brush, Tina D’Amato-Sidoni, Gina Woodruff, and Liz Vega.
Tracy is so excited and proud to once again be a part of the KSD family, which is where she has always felt at home. She is looking forward to her growth with KSD, and can’t wait to inspire all of our dancers to believe they can achieve their highest goals!
- LaDia Dodd
LaDia Dodd has joined our staff, and can’t wait to share more of her unique choreography and style with KSD. LaDia joined us last spring and is excited to start the new year of dance!
LaDia Dodd has been dancing since the age of three, and choreographing/teaching since 16. Her choreography has won many high awards as well as performance awards. Her work has been used and recognized at showcases with Macomb Community College and Marygrove College, and has also been chosen to be showcased at the American College Dance Festival. She has studied under Sue Panek, Jordeen Ivanov-Ericsson, Barbara Selinger, Judith Molina, Deborah Cherveny, Jonathan Atwood, Teresa Muller and taken master classes from Dante Henderson, Richard Monyano Virginia Johnson, Kiki Lucas, and Nikolai Morschakov.
LaDia’s dance technical training includes ballet, pointe, jazz, hip hop, b-girling, modern, contemporary, improv, and character. Along with teaching she has performed in numerous recitals and competitions as well as 12 college showcases, and an international dance concert.
LaDia’s choreography is loved by both students and esteemed judges alike. She looks forward to getting to know more KSD students and having an awesome year!
- Breanne Kohler
We are happy to announce our newest team member to the KSD family, Miss Breanne Kohler! Breanne originally comes from Michigan, and has recently moved back after having lived in North Carolina for several years. She brings with her the knowledge of teaching ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and gymnastics. We are also pleased to announce she will be starting KSD’s new gymnastics program! Breanne has vast experience in the field of dance, having attended Columbia College of Chicago for performing arts, the School of Ballet in Chicago, and the University of Iowa. She has performed in ballets such as the Nutcracker, Hansel and Gretel, and Don Quixote. After moving to North Carolina, Breanne became a certified USA Gymnastics Head Coach of Compulsory Levels 3 and 4, as well as head ballet instructor for several years. Throughout her years, Breanne has gained much experience both as a competitive dancer herself, and as a teacher of competitive dance. As she joins the team of KSD, Breanne hopes to inspire passion, discipline, hard work, and dedication to all of her dance and acro students.
Alison has been a friendly face and a phenomenal assistant for the past several years here at KSD! Ali is the epitome of a hard working and motivated dancer, and her enthusiasm is contagious! Assisting a variety of levels and styles has made Ali an even stronger dancer, as she has learned so much about the intricacies of proper technique and what is needed to really become a sophisticated dancer. Ali began assisting in high school, and is now getting ready to further herself in her dance career! Our new Assistant Teacher Training Program (ATTP) will provide the tools to learn how to become a successful dance educator. Please inquire at the front desk if you’d like more information on a future in assisting!
- Kelley AlbrechtFitness Instructor
Kelley’s passion for leading fitness classes has spanned over 30 years and its many evolution’s arriving at the current state of mind/body connection. Kelley’s love of music and movement and how they interact with her students helps her to inspire and motivate them to have fun and reach their fitness and health goals.
Kelley’s classes are never dull and regardless of fitness level she guides her students on how to achieve their objectives for her class.
Kelley’s years of experience and investment in countless industry training and educational events across the country combined with her creative capabilities lends itself well to her free-style manner of teaching. Each class is different and adapted to those in attendance.
Kelley is well rounded having attended Eastern Michigan University and graduating from their Dietetics program. Kelley earned her Registered Dietitian designation upon passing the State Dietetic Exam. Kelley received her MA in Health Arts and Science. She is an ACE certified Group Exercise Instructor and an ACE certified Health Coach.
Formats: Interval, Circuit, HIIT, Hi/Lo, Strength Training, Step, Kickboxing (non-contact), Boot-camp, Dance, Pilates, Jump-rope, Bosu, Stability Ball, Glider, Foam Roller, Tubes, Equalizer, Bender Ball, Smart Bells, Training Ropes, Medicine Ball, Sandbags
- Lani CaryFitness Instructor
Lani Cary has been a licensed Zumba instructor at Karen’s School of Dance since 2008. Lani’s Zumba training has introduced her to international dance styles, like Salsa, Tango, Cumbia, Merengue and many more. She has also had the privilege of participating in master classes with Masala Bhangra creator Sarina Jain, and African Dance instructor Mo Diakite.
Lani is currently studying the international barre method and pilates.