Cleveland Dance Academy
Julie Russel (ballet, lyrical)
Julie Russel, raised in Cedar, Michigan, trained at Dance Arts Academy under the direction of Betsy Carr. To further her training, Julie studied at Washington School of Ballet (Washington, DC), BalletMet (Columbus, OH), and Cecchetti Council of America (Holland, MI). Julie participated in the Michigan Youth Arts Festival and Young Tanzsommer festival in Austria.
Julie graduated from the University of Oklahoma in May of 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance and Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Sustainability. While at the University of Oklahoma, Julie performed with Contemporary Dance Oklahoma and Oklahoma Festival Ballet in works by renowned choreographers, including, Merce Cunningham, Ilya Kozadayev, Sonia Dawkins, David Hochoy, Trey McIntyre, Jean Guillaume Weis, Kevin Iega Jeff, Nilas Martins, Amy Hall Garner, and Raimondo Rebeck. She has also performed with Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre. In the summer of 2018 Julie traveled to Barcelona, Spain to train and perform under Roser Muñoz and Joan Boix at Centre de Dansa de Catalunya.
Currently, Julie is in her first season with Verb Ballets.
Mackenzie Cunningham (ballet, pointe)
Mackenzie Cunningham is a current professional ballerina dancing as a guest artist with the North Pointe Ballet company as well as a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist working for Strongsville City Schools. She is also currently the Dance Team coach and a Cheerleading coach at Strongsville High School. Mackenzie was a professional NBA dancer as a Cavalier Girl and a professional AHL dancer as a Monster Hockey Girl. Mackenzie’s extensive dance training includes Joffrey Ballet School NYC, The Kirov Academy of Ballet, The Ohio Conservatory of Ballet, The School of Cleveland San Jose Ballet, The University of Akron, and CDA. She was chosen and invited to study in the year-round program at The Kirov Academy of Ballet. She also interned with Verb Ballets in Hernando Cortez's Yellow River. In college, Mackenzie received the University of Akron Dance Scholarship and was featured in a principal role in the UA Dance Company dancing a pas de deux in Erich Yetter's Piano Pieces. She has taught advanced ballet technique, pointe, acro, jazz, lyrical, stretch strength & conditioning, ballet history, variations, contemporary ballet, jumps leaps & turns, and hip hop, and choreographed and coached competition routines. She earned her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from Kent State University and graduated summa cum laude from the University of Akron with a B.A. in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology and a minor in Dance.
Mariana Perez (ballet, pointe)
Mariana Pérez started dancing at the age of four following the Royal Academy of Dance Curriculum, which she concluded including the Solo Seal Award. In 2013 she moved to New York City to continue her training at the Joffrey Ballet School. After two years as a trainee, she was invited to join the school’s performance group, where she was given the opportunity to perform nationally and internationally. In 2017, she joined Verb Ballets in Cleveland, Ohio and danced with them in the 2017-2018 season. She has danced as a freelancer with some schools nationally and internationally. Mariana has performed soloist and principal roles in ballets such as Swan Lake, Spring Waters, Suite Saint-Saens, The Nutcracker, Balanchine’s’ Walpurgisnacht and Valse Fantaise amongst others. She has worked directly with choreographers such as Gabrielle Lamb, Desmond Richardson, Tyler Gilstrap, Tommie Waheed, and others.
Myisha Conley (tap)
Myisha's dance career truly started when she attended The University of Akron as a dance major. While at the university, Mrs. Conley studied under the acclaimed Martha Graham dancer, Tom Smith and Paul Taylor dancer, Nick Carlise. In addition to her modern training, Mrs. Conley also studied Tap and Jazz under well known dancer, actress and choreographer, Mary Ann Black. Mrs. Conley performance accolades include working with, Tom Evert, Doug Varone of Doug Varone and Dancers, Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Amy Miller of Groundworks Dance Theater. When Mrs. Conley was not performing she was shaping the lives of future artist at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Twin Lakes, Michigan, as a Unit Director and Dance Assistant. In the most recent years, Mrs. Conley has put her performing on hold so she can share her passion of dance with aspiring youth. For the past 5 years Mrs. Conley has had the privilege of educating today's youth in many different studios as well as DANCECleveland's outreach program to Cleveland inner city schools. Mrs. Conley is very excited to be a part of the Cleveland Dance Academy family!
Devan Hayes (jazz)
DEVAN HAYES obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Dance Performance from Kent State University. During her tenure at Kent State, she studied with various faculty members with diverse techniques and styles including modern, jazz, ballet, West African, Tap, Hip Hop, and Kathak. She had the privilege of performing original works by faculty members and students every semester throughout her university term. She was a member of the Kent Dance Ensemble,the Pre-Professional University Dance Company that presents mainstage concerts, lecture demonstrations, and community outreach. As an ensemble member, she had the opportunity to work with MamLuft&Co. Dance. She was the recipient of a scholarship to attend Garth Fagan’s Summer Movement Institute in 2015 and returned to continue her studies in 2016. Devan also attended the 2016 José Limón Summer Workshop. She is an active member of the Student Dance Education Organization-Kent State Chapter and Alpha Psi Omega-Beta Psi Cast. Along with dancing on stage, Devan has had numerous opportunities to work backstage and be a part of production teams. She worked at the School of Theatre & Dance Performing Arts Box Office for
two years as a staff member and house manager. She has worked closely with the non-profit organization, Ballet in the City, assisting with master classes, recruitment, and Gala events. Devan has taught classes at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland and plans to pursue a professional dance career in performance, community outreach, and dance education.
Emily Scali (ballet, pointe, CDE)
Emily Scali is the owner and Artistic Director of Cleveland Dance Academy. She started her education in New York and then continued here at CDA. She studied ballet, pointe, jazz and tap, with a heavy emphasis on ballet and pointe. After high school she continued her education as a dance major at The University of Akron. Mrs. Scali started at CDA as a ballet and pointe instructor in 2004. She took over the studio in 2013. She continues her dance education by attending classes and local workshops.
Jovana Perisic (ballet, pointe)
I started dancing when I was 7 years old. Growing up, I was exposed to all styles of dance, but my favorite was ballet. I competed in middle and high school and was on my high school dance team. I decided to major in dance at the University of Akron upon graduation and got to be a part of the UA Dance company. During my time at UA, I was exposed to even more styles of dance, gifted professors, and world-renowned companies. This is where I really started to love and appreciate dance as much more than just movement. I got to choreograph my own pieces and work with guest choreographers, which was amazing. I went on to become a professional NBA dancer for the Cleveland Cavaliers and was with the team for two seasons. During this time, I also started substituting dance classes and found a love for teaching. I am currently a group fitness instructor at two studios downtown, as well as working towards getting certified as a personal trainer. I am so incredibly excited to start my dance teaching career and cannot wait to see the magic that we will all make together.
Lauryn Lloyd (lyrical, jazz)
Lauryn Lloyd began her dance training at the age of 3 and has been dancing professionally for over the past 12 years. After graduating from high school she moved to New York City to further her dance career. While in New York City, Lauryn was chosen to perform for the Broadway Dance Center internship showcase, and a music video for Greg Lato. Lauryn has danced with Busch Gardens Williamsburg, in the show Celtic Fyre, followed by a move to Las Vegas performing at the Tropicana Las Vegas. In 2010 Lauryn started dancing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. In 2013 she was promoted to dance captain for Royal Caribbean, being responsible for the entire cast, teaching and keeping choreography at the highest of standards, and evaluating performances. After many years dancing at sea, Lauryn is excited to be residing in Cleveland where she gets to share her passion of dance with her students at Cleveland Dance Academy.
Paula Devereaux (ballet, pre-pointe and CDE)
Paula Devereaux has been with CDA since 1990. She has compiled her extensive background in ballet both locally and on the west coast. Ms. Devereaux earned her teaching certification from the Dance Masters of America and continues updating her training by attending classes regularly, advanced dance education and dance related research. She is currently attending school for physical therapy. Through her physical therapy education, she has found a new passion for her art and enjoys passing her knowledge down to her students.