Meet Our Staff
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 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!
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!
TAP 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 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.