Mid American Studio takes pride in providing our students with a group of teachers that are motivational, talented and dedicated. Our instructors come from various backgrounds, and each brings an exciting element to their classes due to their unique personal experiences in the dance field.
Miss Abbie – Director of Dance
Abbie Richardson is a graduate of Alma College, finishing top of her class with a Bachelor of Arts in Dance. As a member of the Alma College Dance Company, she danced under Rosely Conz, Ben Munisteri, and Kristen Bennett, and performed in two American College Dance Association concerts. Abbie was a two-year member of the Alma College Competitive Dance Team and won the NDA DIII Team Division Championship title in 2019 along with her teammates. Abbie is currently dancing for Third Coast Dance Company under the direction of Kristen Bennett and Lynn Bowman.
She began her dance career at three years old, and has studied Scottish Highland dance, Cecchetti ballet and pointe, contemporary, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, Afro-Brazilian, and Pompon. As a member of the DuHadway Dance Dimensions Elite Competitive Team, she was highly successful in the Michigan dance competition scene for eleven years. Over the years, she received multiple regional and national titles. In 2015, Abbie spent a semester traveling Europe while living in Macedonia and teaching Pre-Ballet Classes at the Bullfrogs Ballet School of Skopje.
Abbie has been teaching ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary/lyrical, hip hop, strength & technique, and rhythm & gymnastics, as well as choreographing competitive dance routines for the past four years. She is also a certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor and loves taking Hot Yoga classes when she is not in the studio dancing!
Since 1991 Miss Sam has been training in ballet, pointe, partnering, jazz, tap, hip hop, musical theater, lyrical, voice, contemporary, choreography & pedagogy. She competed locally, performed at various local community events and trained and performed in the Disney Magic Music Days program in 2002 and 2004. Miss Sam went on to earn her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance on scholarship with departmental honors from Oakland University. She was honored to represent Oakland University by performing at the American College Dance Festival in 2008 and 2009. Miss Sam decided to further her education by earning her Masters in Performing Arts Administration from the University of Michigan-Flint where she was commissioned to choreograph their 2013 fall musical.
Since 2006 Miss Sam has been teaching, choreographing and directing various styles and levels. She enjoys working with students ages two to adult in conservatory studios, competition programs, high schools and even at the collegiate level. Miss Sam continues to assist Absolute Dance of Midland, TX remotely and is excited to further her career by teaching, choreographing and working with Mid American Studio.
Miss Jessica joins the Mid-American Staff with over 25 years of Dance and Theatre expertise. She began her training at the age of 2, studying Cecchetti Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Lyrical, Hawaiian, Tap and Musical Theatre. Jessica competed in both Regional and National Dance Competitions, as well as performed as a member of the Plymouth Canton Ballet Company. Throughout her high school career, Jessica found her love for Musical Theatre as a three-strand performer in The Creative and Performing Arts Program at Churchill High School, where she focused on Dance, Theatre and Voice. Jessica then went on to achieve her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Western Michigan University. At Western, Jessica was a valued member of the Western Dance Project Dance Company. Upon Graduation, Jessica moved to Las Vegas where she joined the Cast of Donn Arden’s Jubilee. While in Las Vegas, Jessica also worked as a Model, Actress, Dancer and National Spokesperson. In 2018, she founded her own company: Brazenly Beautiful LLC, where she works as an advocate to change the way women feel about themselves, through dance, workshops, and coaching. She also choreographs and teaches classes for adults including her very own Burlesque Dance Class. Jessica recently finished her Pre and Post-Natal Yoga Certification, as well as her RYT 200 Yoga Teaching Certification.
Miss Christina Letizio has been dancing for 18 years, competitively for 9 years and teaching now for 4 years. She has gone to a few tap conventions such as Wing It Tap Fest and D.C. Online Tap Fest. She is continuing to improve her skills with classes at Tap Dance Detroit as well as taking drop in classes for jazz, contemporary, and musical theater. Christina has a certification in Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. She is currently going to Maryville University online to get a bachelor’s degree in Forensic Psychology/ Criminal Justice. She is super excited to continue growing and helping her students grow here at Mid American!
Valerie Simcheck has been dancing for 20 years. She danced competitively for eleven years and has been teaching for the past nine years. Miss Valerie has choreographed many award winning pieces, including a national 1st place winner! When Valerie was a young dancer, she loved any dance studio in her path. She trained at multiple schools in her home town of South Lyon, including dancing with the Cecchetti Council of America, American Dance Academy, Detroit Opera House, Luna Dance Company and eventually trained as a performer at Walt Disney World.
Miss Valerie enjoys all types of dance, but specializes in contemporary, ballet, jazz funk and improvisation. She has trained with some elite choreographers and performance companies over the years including Will Thomas and George Lawrence from the TV show “So You Think You Can Dance,” the Alvin Ailey Company and many other spectacular mentors. She has also been cast in special performances, such as The Academy of Russian Classical Ballet’s The Nutcracker, Spring Showcase and Ballet La Bayadere, and more. Miss Valerie is very proud to share her passion and love for dance to all her students and watch them grow into wonderful dancers.
Rachel Hibbard began dancing in Traverse City, MI when she was four years old, and has been trained in ballet, pointe, contemporary, jazz, hip hop, tap, and musical theatre. Rachel performed, traveled, and competed with Company Dance Traverse until she graduated high school. She attended Hope College where she was very active in the dance department and a member of the school’s dance company, H2. She performed and choreographed in several dance productions each year, was a member of the school’s hip hop performance group and choreographed for the Department of Theatre. Rachel was also a member of the Traverse City pre-professional musical theatre company, Miracle Productions, where she performed and assisted in choreography for several musical theatre productions. Rachel is passionate about emphasizing each dancer’s individual strengths and is excited to share her love for dance with her students!