In 2008 Megan graduated summa cum laude with her BFA in Dance from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with over 20 years of experience in her field. She has immersed herself in dance pedagogy since the age of 12, continually sharing her artistry and love of movement with children and adults. It has been her dream, from the first dance class she ever had the privilege of teaching, to open her own dance studio. She felt a calling to give others the same opportunity to grow, mature and express themselves with confidence and strength, just as she had been given as a young girl. Bella Via was not a spur of the moment idea… Megan diligently worked to obtain every tool possible that would ensure her dream not only come to fruition, but would be a powerful force in the dance community.
While receiving her undergrad, she had the privilege of working with and performing for André Tyson, Darci Brown Wutz, Li-Chao Ping, and Simone Ferro. She also had the opportunity to dance in works created by guest artists Daniel Gwirtzman, Laura Dean, and Uri Sands. She studied under the tutelage of Ed Burgess, Janet Lilly, Luc Vanier and Fern Caulker-Bronson. Beyond her studies, she has danced with Wildspace Dance Company, as well as the Catey Ott Dance Collective. During the summer of 2008, she traveled to Brazil to study Capoeira and dance with the company, Bale Folclorico. Megan was chosen to choreograph works for Here Comes Trouble and Art to Art in Milwaukee, and had the privilege of being cast in the film Missed Connections, which premiered in the 2011 Milwaukee Film Festival. She has been a company member of Elizabeth Johnson’s Your Mother Dances since 2008, keeping her connected and inspired within the dance community of Milwaukee. In 2012 she was interviewed and featured on Fox6 WakeUp promoting the launch of her fitness program, BellaBarre.
This year, she is thrilled to be returning to UW-Milwaukee as a member of the faculty, teaching Jazz at the very university that inspired and her growth as a teacher and artist.
Bella Via was named by Megan’s mother, whom she lost in the summer of 2009. Her mother had been her #1 fan and biggest supporter in attaining her dreams. She instilled in Megan the belief that she could do anything she set her mind to, inspiring Megan to encourage that personal belief in others. In the memory of Susan Zintek, Megan opened the doors of Bella Via in October of 2011. Bella Via, aptly named by her Mother, means “the beautiful way” in Italian. Megan’s hope is that it certainly will be for anyone who walks through the studio door.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” – Anonymous
Deanna Lewis is pursuing a degree to obtain her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance and Choreography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
She has trained in Milwaukee and New York taking various master and technique classes in styles such as ballet, modern, tap, hip-hop, jazz, improvisation, and contemporary from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Peridance, and Broadway Dance Center. She has attended intensives with the Milwaukee Ballet, the Ballet Center, and LeeSaar’s Gaga intensive. She has performed for choreographers such as Emily Ladd, Bonnie Watson, Petr Zahradnicek, Stephen Kopowitz, and Elizabeth Johnson during her time at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Teaching at Bella Via is the highlight of her day and she couldn’t be more excited to be teaching here! The dancers at Bella Via inspire her everyday and it has been such an honor to see them grow as dancers and as people.
Joshua Yang is one of the many bright, young minds in the professional dance world today. Partaking in multiple choreography opportunities, Joshua seeks to expand his reach. As a teacher, Joshua works hard to spark confidence, passion, and ambition for his students by creating opportunities in which their light may be liberated. His classes have a reputation for combinations that are intricate, challenging, and physically demanding. Joshua has become a leader in the community of young dancers and recently established an open dance company called “Origins”. He has also been invited to choreograph multiple shows across the Midwest, establishing the first hip-hop program at the Milwaukee Ballet Academy, and became a reoccurring faculty member for the Milwaukee Ballet Summer Intensives. Bella Via has a very special place for Joshua, as it’s the first studio he has ever taught at and finds a sense of community and family here. As much as the students enjoy learning from him, Joshua is privileged to teach them!
Kendra Kramas started her dance training at Main Street Conservatory of Dance in Marshfield, Wisconsin. When in high school, she competed on both her high school’s dance team and show choir, all while continuing to keep up with her techinical dance training. In 2008, the Wisconsin Dance Camps Association named her “Miss Wisconsin Dance 2008,” where she won a scholorship to compete in California.
Her love and drive for dance, music, and theatre led her to try out for the Kids from Wisconsin, and in 2011, she was hired as a singer/dancer in the professional touring cast. Kendra continued her education at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee where she received her BFA degree in Contemporary Dance and Choreography in 2014.
Today, Kendra is a company member with the newly formed contemporary dance company SueMo, and is loving every second. Over the years, Kendra has taught students through various recreation programs, choreographs for show choirs, and continues to teach master classes in her hometown, but NOTHING quite compares to the warm and postitive environment at Bella Via.
The dancers are one of a kind, and she is so excited for another great and inspiring year!!!
Alyssa Albers began her dance training at a very young age and continues to pursue and develop her craft to this day. Throughout the years, she was heavily involved in the competitive world, gaining knowledge she now passes on to her students. She graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point in 2015, where she earned both BA Dance and BS Business Administration degrees. During her time at UWSP, she was fortunate enough to work with several world renowned choreographers, such as Keigwin + Company and Autumn Eckman, as well as build lasting relationships with her professors, Joan Karlen, Michael Estanich and Jeannie Hill, that still hold strong today. Alyssa credits so much of her teaching style and who she is as a performer to her UWSP professors.
As a member of Warped Dance Company, Alyssa was able to experience the professional world of dance and aerial work, collaborating with, and setting work on, Maria Caruso’s Bodiography Contemporary Ballet and Lesole’s Dance Project. She was also highly involved in the rebirth of WDC and was a key performer in the company’s first full length production, combining stage and sky, along with the talents of Ms. Andrea Burkholder. Recently, Alyssa’s latest adventure has been tackling the world of ballroom dance! She was warmly welcomed at the Fred Astaire studios and is working very hard on her Latin flair to get back on the competitive stage.
Alyssa has been leading a classroom for 14+ years, beginning as a teacher’s assistant and working her way to lead instructor. Throughout these years, she has gained a wealth of knowledge that equips her to handle a classroom of any size, any ability and any personality. She believes that as each dancer is uniquely special, so should their experience in the classroom. Don’t let Alyssa’s ‘tough love’ approach fool you! She always has her student’s best interests at heart and “wouldn’t push them if she didn’t think they could do it.”
Alyssa has been on faculty at Bella Via since 2012 and plans to stick around for many more seasons! She loves the atmosphere the studio families create and believes wholeheartedly in what the studio stands for: “Building self-confidence through technique and artistry.” You will often hear Alyssa say how much she deeply loves all of her students, and thinks of them as her ‘kids.’ She truly believes that teachers who take the time to build relationships with their students, don’t have students for just one year; they gain students, that turn to friendships, for life.
We want to thank everyone who FINISHED STRONG with us for the 2019/2020 Season!!!
While it was far from a normal season, we continued to find ways to connect, support, and show our dance family how strong we are together!!! We didn’t just make lemonade out of lemons, we had a lemonade PARTY!!!! We wrapped up our season with Bella Via’s first Virtual Recital (one for the history books) where every dancer was able to perform with their class, in their costumes, for family and friends from all around the world.
The icing on the cake was the Red Carpet Recital Experience at the studio, where each dancer was made to feel like a STAR!!! We transformed Studio A into a stage, with the help of Double Platinum DJ, and each child walked the red carpet, had a photo session on the Step & Repeat, grabbed a swag bag, and performed for their VIP audience before their big send off full of confetti and flowers!
We hope our families know that we will never give up… we will always show up and show out for our students. You can view a recap of the entire 9 days of dancing HERE
This year’s 2021 performance date is TBD
*Location: University School of Milwaukee*
It’s Recital Time! Bella Via’s Spring Recital is a rite of passage for hundreds of youngsters, a chance to shine in front of family and friends that is anticipated with nervous excitement. Bella Via’s spring recital offers our students a professionally directed performance that allows them to present to their families and friends the results of a year of hard work, dedication and progress.
A big part of the dance training process includes learning through performance. The experience helps build self-esteem and confidence. Onstage experience can also result in better school presentations, improved social skills, and strong interview skills for future college or job opportunities. Participating in rehearsals helps children develop retention skills, teamwork, and adaptability.
Due to the number of dancers we have at the studio, we schedule five recitals throughout one weekend at the end of May/beginning of June. The recitals are held at The University School of Milwaukee. We run dress rehearsals at the school during the week leading up to recital weekend.
All of our spring recitals are considered family entertainment and are approximately two hours in length with one intermission. Shows will run on Friday, Saturday, and on Sunday.
A Note About Evening Shows and Younger Children
As parents ourselves, we understand the importance of consistent bedtimes, so the evening shows represent a careful balancing act for us. In the past, we have tried to move the Friday night show up earlier, but it caused too many challenges for working families’ schedules who had too little time between finishing work and getting their dancers dressed and to the studio on time.
We do, however, try to put the littlest ones in the first half of the show. While most dancers and families stay for the grand finale, which we encourage, we also respect a parent’s perspective on what’s best for their little one.
As the season progresses, recital dates and other information will be published in monthly studio newsletters and additional email communications as needed. This is important information, so please be sure to review it. Producing recitals is a team effort: students, parents, teachers and the directors are key players in the show’s success.
Important dates to remember regarding recital:
October 1st – first half of costume payments are due
November 1st – second half of costume payments are due
Congratulations students on a beautiful performance of the 2019 recital “Dancing Through the Decades.” We want to especially thank our parents for their sacrifice and commitment to making their children’s dreams shine. Everyone’s hard work and dedication made this past year’s recital a huge success! We can hardly wait for next year’s!
The Bella Company
Our award winning Bella Company is an outlet for gifted young artists who demonstrate an accelerated level of skill and commitment in dance. This is an opportunity to take their passion above and beyond the recreational and Troupe programs offered at Bella Via. Talented and dedicated dancers will only be admitted onto this competitive team through a selective audition, as this is an elite team. Dancers will build character and gain life skills through teamwork, dedication, resilience, grace, and fun!
We offer a number of different groups and age levels for our Company Program. Each different group, from our Minis to our Seniors, has different class requirements. We want to create the building blocks and foundation for well rounded dancers and performers. Our Junior, Pre-Teen, Teen and Senior Company dancers are required to take at least 6 hours per week of technique classes. Beyond this, students and parents must be prepared for extra weekend rehearsals (if needed), and 3-4 weekends of competition in a given season. (Competitions and the dates they are held vary from year to year.)
The Audition 2020
Because of this year’s unique circumstances, our audition process has been reimagined! Auditions will be held Thursday July 16 through Sunday July 19. Dancers are not required to be present all four days, but instead will be assigned a 1 hour time slot on one of the four days to come into the studio in small groups. Pre-recorded audition material will be available to all dancers up to 2 weeks ahead of the audition dates. Links will be sent via email. Once registration for auditions has been closed, we will send out information regarding the specific days and time slots.
If you do not believe you will be physically around for the audition dates, please still register under your portal.You can then email me to let me know of your dancer’s absence. Because of this year’s altered format, dancers who are not able to attend can still audition and will need to submit video recordings of themselves performing the audition material to the faculty in order to be considered. While we are offering this alternative method, it is still greatly appreciated that your efforts are put into attending the in-person audition.
Auditions are open to the general public for anyone above the age of 10! If your dancer is under the age of 10, they will need to have received a faculty recommendation to audition… if you are new to the studio, and your dancer is younger than 10, please email us to inquire about auditioning.
Interested dancers should register online to reserve their audition slot. A registration form and application will be emailed out to everyone to be completed and brought in for the audition.
What Is Expected
If a dancer makes the team, they will kick off their season with our new, and very much anticipated, Summer Company Intensive! This 3 week intensive will run from August 2nd – August 22nd. We ask that Company hopefuls keep Monday thru Friday of these 3 weeks open and available for classes. A schedule with your child’s class times will be sent after they make the team.
The Bella Company members are expected to participate in a number of competitions throughout the spring (Jan.-May). Dancers must be enrolled in their required technique classes (although the faculty will decide what styles each dancer will perform). Dancers will have the option to audition to perform Hip Hop and Tap. Optional, but highly recommended, classes include Leaps & Turns, and Pre-Pointe or Pointe. Dancers above the age of 10 will also take Ellove, a cross-training conditioning and injury prevention class.
Rehearsals for large group dances will be held during the week. Optional small group dances will be rehearsed on the weekends. Company members are required to be at every rehearsal for their dance… no exceptions. This is only fair to the choreographer and their fellow teammates.
As members of the Company, dancers are held in the highest regard at the studio, and are expected to set an example of how to behave and dress as outlined in the Student/Parent Handbook. RESPECT for faculty, staff, parents, friends and the facility is not an option… it is mandatory and an important part of their training and education at Bella Via.
This is a full year commitment. Training begins in our Summer Session, and continues through the Recital Season.
As this is a team activity, dancers and parents will also be required to sign a Company contract at the beginning of the season. This contract lays out expectations of the faculty and Artistic Director with regards to behavior, attendance, and participation throughout the performance season.
Updated Info for the 2020/2021 Season Coming Soon!
Via Performance Troupe
Via Performance Troupe Team is a fun and exciting opportunity for our dancers. In Troupe, dancers will learn a number of challenging dances that are performed throughout the community. This is a team environment where dancers build confidence and technique while making lasting friendships and memories. Via Troupe gives dancers the encouragement needed to be fearless of public performance! If your dancer loves to dance, and wants the opportunity to perform more than once a year at recital, then this is the program!!!!
Troupe Team Requirements and Policies for the 2020/2021 Performance Season
Dancers will NOT need to audition to join our Performance Troupe Team this year. To join our Troupe team, dancers will simply need to register for Troupe online, and sign up for a ballet, jazz and tap class this summer (as well as for the fall session). Rehearsals throughout the season are complementary when taking all the required classes!
We will not hold in-person rehearsals during the summer session due to class size limitations, BUT we are very excited to let you know that once you register you will gain access in July to pre-recorded choreography that can be practiced and learned at your dancer’s own pace throughout the summer. Before these dances are performed, each group will have rehearsals to practice with the Troupe Director.
A Troupe commitment/team fee of $125 is due at the time of registration, and every team member will receive a Troupe Team Shirt to wear at their first performance together and throughout the season! (We will reach out to you for your dancer’s shirt size after registering)
Other Troupe policies remain in effect: a dancer must be enrolled in ballet, jazz and tap beginning in the summer session in order for rehearsals to be complimentary (please see our policies section below). If a dancer would like to join Troupe beginning in the fall, Troupe commitment/team fees still apply and rehearsals will not be complimentary (regular tuition rates will apply).
Troupe dancers begin their training in the summer (sign up for summer classes right away so they don’t fill up!)… Dancers will be required to take Ballet, Jazz and Tap in the summer and through the following performance season. They will also be required to attend rehearsal once a week… the rehearsal time will be 1 hour in the summer, and 45min. – 1hr. during the school year.
Regular class rates apply to the Ballet, Jazz and Tap classes. The rehearsals are complimentary. There is a $125 commitment fee due at the beginning of the summer session. Every dancer will also receive a team shirt after registering! (we will reach out to you for your dancer’s shirt size after you enroll) The dancers will also have one costume that they will perform in throughout the season.
Via Troupe Policies
- Dancers must be enrolled in Ballet, Jazz, and Tap throughout the Summer Session and the following Recital Season.
- Dancers must be 7 years of age or older.
- There is a $125 commitment fee due at the beginning of each performance season, that includes a team shirt for every dancer!
- Troupe uses one costume for the entire season, depending on the cost of the costume chosen. It is the dancer’s responsibility to care for their costume, as it needs to take them through to the end of June.
- Via Troupe rehearsals are complimentary! Even if extra rehearsals need to be added for a specific performance, this will come at no extra cost!
- As a team member of the Via Performance Troupe, the dancers will represent Bella Via in the public eye. They are expected and encouraged to look professional and put-together. This means showing up to performances with hair and make-up already in place.
- The purpose of Troupe is to further the dancer’s personal skill level with regards to technique, along with enhancing their performance abilities.
- Dancers must participate in all three styles of dance (ballet, jazz, and tap) at the end of year recital/showcase.
- Troupe dancers have the privilege of performing in an extra dance which opens or closes the show at the end of the year recital/showcase! (beyond their ballet, jazz and tap dances)
- Our Troupe Team will perform at 1 local dance competition during season!