Michael Guzman, owner and teacher, a native of Puerto Rico, grew up in New York City. While attending Syracuse University, he began his ballroom dance instruction teaching for Walt Medicis. A former teacher at Fayetteville-Manlius High School, he gained further experiences as a choreographer for the school musicals as the instructor for the Ballroom Dance Club. His performance credits include Pepe in West Side Story and Pedro in Man of la Mancha. Mike is a regular guest instructor in many school districts throughout the area.
Marisa Guzman-Colegrove, our artistic director, is a lifetime member of the CNY dance community. As a teacher she specializes in Flamenco and is one of the only teachers of this dance style in Upstate New York. She also teaches jazz, creative movement, ballet, modern and is certified in Stott pilates. She is an award winning choreographer and her credits including Syracuse Contemporary Dance Company, Syracuse Opera and Syracuse Symphony as well as Fayetteville-Manlius High School Musical and Town of Manlius summer show. She is currently performing with Alegre Flamenco throughout the Upstate Region.
Ellen Ayer-Earley is our co-artistic director and has been dancing, teaching and choreographing throughout New York, Philadelphia and Texas for many years. She attended the High School of Performing and Visual Arts in Houston and went on to University of the Arts, Philadelphia majoring in ballet and jazz. Upon returning to CNY, she taught for Metropolitan School for the Arts where she developed after school dance programs for inner city schools. She also taught for Syracuse School of Dance, Camillus Dance Center and Syracuse University. She has many credits for choreography with local theater companies and regional dance companies. She is the founder of our in house, pre-professional dance company Roots Dance Company which performs at various locations in the community throughout the year.
Bethany Bourgault began dancing at age 3, studying many forms of dance at various studios around Fitchburg, MA. She has been a coach for the Syracuse University's Ballroom and Swing teams and is a co-organizer and instructor for the city's only Lindy Hop group, "Syracuse Swing Connection". In 2019, she was ranked among the highest level of competitive collegiate standard ballroom dancers. Bethany graduated from SU's magazine journalism program and works as the Publications and Communications Coordinator for OneGroup.
Julia Bulger began dancing in Indiana at age 3 studying tap, jazz and ballet at G. Scotten Talent Center. She continued her dance education in Pennsylvania, adding modern, lyrical, break dance and hip hop at Dance Fusion. She relocated to CNY and began at Guzman's as a student and has been a member of the faculty for the last 4 years.
Heather McNeil earned her BFA in Musical Theater from Ithaca College and an MFA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College. She has served as the Camps and Outreach Coordinator for Red House Arts Center and was the Theater Dept. Chair at the Connecticut Conservatory for the Performing Arts. She has choreographed for various theater and dance companies up and down the East Coast. Most recently she was in residence at Gundlach Theater where she choreographed their production of Cabaret.
Orresta Paddock has been studying ballet and performing in theater productions since the age of six. He began his training at Cazenovia School of Ballet and has performed as a guest artist with ballet companies including Moscow Ballet and Mobile Ballet Company (Alabama). An award winning actor, Orresta still enjoys performing in area theater companies. He has graced the stage at CNY Playhouse, Manlius summer show, and Rome Community Theater. He was also assistant choreographer for FM High School's Phantom of the Opera.
Lauren Puente is a dancer, singer and actress who graduated with a B.A. in Musical Theater from SUNY Cortland. She has performed for almost every theater company in Upstate NY and has added choreography credits to her list of accomplishments including CNY Playhouse, Fabius Pompey musicals,FM high school musical and Manlius summer shows. You can also find her as one of her many characters at the interactive Museum of Intrigue, Destiny USA.