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.
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!
Pompon has been my passion for many years. I started pom in middle school at St.Fabian Catholic School and pommed there from 6th-8th grade. I then continued pom at North Farmington High School from 9th-12th grade, being appointed captain my senior year. In college I pommed for Grand Valley State University and was on Mid American Pompon Staff for 3 years. After college I coached Northville Middle School Pompon for two years and earned two state titles. I am very excited to be back in the pom world and to have the opportunity to spread my love for pom with young athletes.