Faculty

Karen Nycz-Assenmacher

Karen Nycz-Assenmacher, creative director of Karen’s Dance Academy, has been performing, choreographing, instructing and directing for over 30 years. Her early career began with Downriver Civic Ballet Company, directed by Enid Ricardeau. At age fourteen she performed Clara for the first time as a member of Iacob Lascu’s “Dance Detroit” with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. As a soloist Karen has performed in such works as: Nutcracker, Peter and the Wolf, Sleeping Beauty and Coppelia. Marygrove College exposed her to many great teachers including: Alfredo Corvino, Jon Rodriquez, Jurgen Schneider, Jordeeen Ivanov-Ericson, David Howard and Gabriella Darvosh. Her greatest reward comes from teaching and passing on the knowledge many greats have shared with her. KDA has had students as young as nine accepted into such prestigious programs as American Ballet Theatre, Blue Lake, Chicago Ballet, South Carolina School of the Arts, and Interlochen. KDA alums have been offered many scholarships to dance in college programs.

Alyson Assenmacher-Fikany

Alyson Assenmacher-Fikany began training with her mother at the age of four. She then went on to study with the Boston Ballet, Milwaukee Ballet, and Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Alyson is a graduate of Western Michigan University, where she received her Bachelor of the Fine Arts degree in dance. While at Western she has performed in such works as Giselle, Who Cares?, Three Threads In Time, The Nutcracker, and the role of the ‘Waltz Girl’ in Balanchine’s Serenade. Through out her career she has also had the opportunity to train with Victoria Simon, Frank Chavez, Mia Michaels, Derek Evans, David Howard, as well as many other very talented artists. Alyson has been teaching ballet, tap, and jazz at Karen’s Dance Academy since the studio first opened and has also taught master classes for other various local studios.

Anna Christensen

Anna Christensen has been dancing since she was 2 years old. She has danced and competed in ballet, jazz, tap and lyrical, as well as performed in numerous productions of The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Carnival of Animals, and Sleeping Beauty.  Anna joined the KDA family 10 years ago and began teaching in 2012.  Since then she has had the opportunity to take classes from choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Mandy Moore and Twitch!  When Anna is not at the studio she is finishing up her degree at Michigan State University and spending time with her little boy.

Angela Stumpo – Miller

Miss Angela is an Associate Artist at The Purple Rose Theatre Company and is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. She has traveled and performed all over the world as a member of the internationally known organization, Up With People. Before that, she studied ballet, jazz, tap, hip hop and competed in dance for years in her hometown of Dearborn. Miss Angela continued her education professionally and is grateful to be able to coach other young artists. She is experienced in all types of choreography including musical theatre and enjoys teaching workshops. Miss Angela is the Director of Worship and also leads the biblical drama group at Chilson Hills Church in Brighton. We are so glad that Angela has made time to share her unique set of talents with us here at KDA!

Alison Wiercioch

Alison Wiercioch began dancing at the age of two. Through time she has been involved with many different competitive dance teams, including Karen’s Dance Academy competition team for four years. Her extensive amount of training has given her the opportunity to receive numerous dance related scholarships. She has performed in national competitions in places such as, Las Vegas, Chicago, Sandusky and New York City. Alison has trained with artists such as Travis Wall, Jeff “Phi” Nguyen and Robert Schultz just to name a few. Alison also studied at the American Musical and Dramatics Academy, a performing arts college in New York City. She has since moved back to Michigan to continue her schooling at the Detroit Institute of Music Education and because she just could not stay away from Karen’s Dance Academy. She hopes to always teach her wonderful students how important and brilliant the world of dance is.

Brianna Bennett

Brianna began dancing at the age of 5.  She quickly developed a love for dance and continued her training in Ballet: both Cechetti and Vaganova methods, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Modern and Belly Dancing.  She began performing her own choreography at age 10, then started teaching beginner level Tap, Jazz and Ballet at age 13.  As a teenager, Brianna attended the highly esteemed dance program for multiple years at Blue Lakes Fine Arts Camp.  She also studied under the direction of Jefferson Baum and Moscow-based Ballet dancer Dmitri Roudnev.  From 1992-1998, Brianna attended and competed in the dance competition circuit, both as a performer and choreographer, with 5-6-7-8! Dance! Company.  Later, while training with the Elizabeth Williams School of Dance, she also gained many years of performing experience, including lead roles, in shows like the Nutcracker, Pas De Quartre and Hansel and Gretel to name a few.  Other stage and performing experiences include stage management, costume design and specialty prop and stage fighting training.  Brianna has worked with stage fight choreographer Brett Eckhart to learn stage combat, and then she and Brett went on to co-choreograph battle scenes for the Nutcracker.  Other credits include performing as a back up dancer for Lansing-based singer Twyla Birdsong, and auditioning dancers/performers and planning a celebrity birthday party.  We are so happy to have Brianna join Karen’s Dance Academy and she is thrilled to be able to share her passion for dance with her students!
Makena

Makena Yule

Makena Yule is currently a senior at Howell High School and is the head captain of the varsity dance team at school. Some classes that have interested her over her high school career are psychology, drama and criminalistics. After high school, she plans to attend The University of Michigan Ann Arbor to study behavioral psychology and of course, continue pursuing her passion for dance! Makena has been dancing at KDA for 9 years. Through her time here, she has been involved with Karen’s Dance Academy competition team for two years and has studied multiple styles of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical, tap and hip-hop. She has also performed in numerous productions such as The Nutcracker, Coppelia,  Don Quixote, Who Cares and Swan Lake. Makena is very sad that this is her last season at KDA but she is looking forward to see where her love and dedication for dance takes her next!