Karen Menter - Ballet, Pointe, Creative Movement, Tap, Pilates

Karen was born to dance and has reinvented herself many times in her long dance career. Her father wanted her to be an educated dancer, so she received her BA and MA in dance from Butler University in Indianapolis, IN. She has performed with dance companies in Indiana (most notably Dance Kaleidoscope), Virginia, and New Jersey and has had the privilege to work with brilliant teachers, such as at the Joffrey School and Marjorie Mussman and innovative and world renowned choreographers. She has taught at A&M University in Alabama, Butler University and Northern Virginia Community College.

When her sons started school, Karen created and implemented creative movement curriculums in pre-schools and movement curriculum syllabi in elementary schools in Virginia and New Jersey. She has been active in many organizations such as the Indiana Arts Commission and has been a board member of many arts and business organizations. Karen is teacher trained in Stott Pilates on mat and reformer and is certified in active isolated stretch. She continues her teacher training at the National Ballet School in Toronto, Canada.

She now devotes herself to The Ballet & Dance Center teaching ballet, pointe and creative movement. She is also adjunct professor of dance at Syracuse University in the Musical Theater department and teaches Pilates at Mary Lou Corcoran’s and the JCC.


Ruth Arena - Ballet, Pointe, Modern

Ruth K. Arena began her dance training in Santa Fe, NM, continued her studies at Barat College in Lake Forest, IL and went on to earn a BFA in Dance from the University of Arizona. While in college Ruth performed in numerous ballet and modern works, including Paquita and The Nutcracker as well as originating roles in works by Sam Watson and Dr. John M. Wilson. Upon graduating Ruth moved to New York City where she studied on scholarship at the Paul Taylor Dance Company School, and performed with Dzul Dance. While in New York she attained a Pilates Mat certification and worked as a NASM Certified Personal Trainer. Ruth is an Adjunct Instructor of Dance at Le Moyne College and has worked with Syracuse City Ballet as a teacher and performer. Her choreography has been presented at the Syracuse Fringe Festival, in Le Moyne Theatre Department productions, and with The Ballet & Dance Center. Ruth loves teaching, learning, and dancing at the BDC.

Laurie Deyo - Modern

Laurie has taught, choreographed, and performed in the Syracuse area since 1984. She has her master’s in Dance and Dance Education from NYU where she studied with members of the Limon, Graham, and Cunningham Modern Dance Companies; continued her ballet training at the Joffrey School and with David Howard; and studied jazz at S.T. E P.’s and other NYC studios. She spent 15 years as Dance faculty at Syracuse University and has taught ballet, jazz, creative movement for the classroom, tap, and aerobic dance. Laurie will be teaching the advanced modern class this year.

Cristina Battle - Modern

Cristina Battle is a graduate of Le Moyne College where she served as Head Choreographer of the Le Moyne Student Dance Company. She continues to teach and choreograph for the Le Moyne Student Dance Company as well as other local schools and studios. Cristina has been classically trained in ballet, jazz, and modern. Much of her modern study and training in Syracuse has been under the guidance of Laurie Deyo. Cristina is also a certified Zumba instructor and continues to teach locally, as well as travel for workshops and master classes.


Lisa Stuart - Tap, Jazz

Lisa began dancing at a young age in New Jersey learning technique through the Royal Academy of Dance Ballet Program, a Modern dance scholarship at the Princeton Ballet, and studying with Joe Villane, a former Martha Graham dancer. Living close to Manhattan, her parents exposed her to the magic of Broadway, and gave her the opportunity to take dance classes in the “Big Apple.” Lisa holds a B.A. from the University of New Hampshire - Anthropology Major, Minor in Dance; Teaching Assistant in Dance, Jean Mattox Dance Scholarship Award. After college, Lisa performed in Latin Fever Revue at the Condado Plaza Hotel in San Juan, PR, with Holland America Cruise Lines & Royal Caribbean Cruises (formerly Admiral Cruises), where she also held the title of Production Manager. Lisa has also danced in and held the position of dance captain in various musicals. Favorite performances include 42nd Street at the Jupiter Theater (Fla), Chicago at the Miami Shores Theater (Fla), Oklahoma at Buck County Playhouse.

Lisa has over 20 years of teaching experience in New Jersey and Upstate New York. She is the currently the choreographer at CNS High School.

Hanni Schwarzlander - Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Zena Rommett Floor-Barre®

Raised in Syracuse, Hanni began her early training at the Lorraine Havercroft School of Dance. She danced her way through a BA at Oberlin College and Syracuse University, after which she spent time performing extensively in Europe for revues and national television. Back in the U.S., she continued performing primarily in musical theatre, touring nationally and working at regional theatres. Between shows, she returned to NYC to take classes with many notable teachers at Steps, Broadway Dance Center, Djoniba’s, and the David Howard Studio.
Returning to Syracuse, Hanni taught ballet, jazz, musical theatre, tap, and modern at the Onondaga Dance Institute, the Dance Arts Studio, and the Dance Theater of Syracuse. She has worked in the Utica public schools with their Arts in Education program as a teaching artist, and facilitated teacher workshops for both the Utica and Syracuse Arts in Education institutes during the summers. In addition, Hanni has taught ballet at the Syracuse University Drama Department as an adjunct professor.
Most recently, Hanni was instrumental in helping build and expand the Dance program for the Performing Arts Department at Manlius Pebble Hill School, where she devoted her time to teaching dance classes, and directing and choreographing the Upper and Middle School musical productions.

Hanni is happy to be joining the Ballet and Dance Center family this year! In addition to her regular classes, Hanni is also very excited about bringing Zena Rommett Floor-Barre® technique to the Syracuse area!

Kate Lemos Brown - Jazz, Musical Theater Dance

Katie Lemos Brown is overjoyed to bring what she’s learned from the magical world of musical theatre to the students of The Ballet & Dance Center! Kate is a graduate of Shenandoah University Conservatory, earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, with an emphasis in dance. Her training is inclusive of ballet, jazz, modern, tap, hiphop, flamenco, ballroom, choreography and musical theater styles. Her performance resume is extensive, as she enjoyed her first career as a professional actress, traveling throughout the states from one regional theater to the next. Some of her favorite professional dance-centric roles (shows) include: Tantomille/ Dream Griz/Griz US (Cats); Maggie (Brigadoon); Manson Trio (Pippin/Fosse’s Choreography); Andrea/Choreographer (Once on This Island); Entrantress/Ensemble/Napkin (Beauty & the Beast); Marty/Dance Captain (Grease); Ulla Inga Hansen, etc. (The Producers).  She has continued to pursue her theater interests locally, most recently seen in The District’s Civil War. This will be Kate’s third year as the director of Marcellus High School musical. Kate believes that the musical theater dancer needs to be the most versatile and expressive dancer, and that’s what she hopes to instill in the hearts of her students!

Kerry Gilberti - Tap

Biography Coming Soon

Barb Laneve - Ballet, Tap

Biography Coming Soon

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