History

Alliance Academy of Dance was established in 2016 and is the result of the merging of two successful Pocatello dance institutions, Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy and DSDS (Dana Smith Dance Studio). Together they have created the broadest and most in-depth dance program in Southeast Idaho. With decades of expertise in teaching and performing across a wide spectrum of styles and interests such as, classical ballet, competitive jazz/contemporary, and recreational dance, Director Sergiu Brindusa and Associate Directors Beth Moore and Whitney Morden, are excited to share their love of dance through teaching the youth of Pocatello and the surrounding areas.

Directors

Sergiu Brindusa

– Artistic Director

Mr. Brindusa received his earliest training in his native Romania at the Institute of Music and Choreography in Bucharest. Entering the United States at age 14 to attend the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., on full artistic and academic scholarship, he graduated with the highest artistic achievement diploma. Sergiu danced on numerous occasions alongside stars of the Kirov Ballet, and in 1998 joined Orlando Ballet where he danced for eight seasons. His versatility was evident in his leading roles in many classical and contemporary ballets: Prince Siegfried in Swan Lake, Prince Florimund in The Sleeping Beauty, Prince/Cavalier in The Nutcracker, Count Albrecht in Giselle, Solor in La Bayadere, Franz in Coppelia and many others.

Mr. Brindusa was twice a finalist at the world-renowned International Ballet Competition — in 2000 in New York City and in 2002 in Jackson, Mississippi. He is privileged to have trained and worked with many famous artists of the dance world including Fernando Bujones, Peter Stark, Alla Sizova, Oleg Vinogradov, Anatoli Kucheruk, Melissa Hayden, Robert North, Peter Anastos, Deborah Wingert, Karena Brock, Yan Chen, Winthrop Corey, Rasta Thomas, Sascha Radetzky and many more.

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In the summer of 2005, Mr. Brindusa opened Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy in Pocatello with his wife, Beth Moore. Together, they have produced and performed leading roles in nine full-length ballets, including 11 seasons of The Nutcracker under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Pocatello. They performed alongside their students in The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Giselle, and Coppelia, and took their bows from the stage in leading roles during The Nutcracker performances in 2015. During summer intensives they have also presented full-length productions of La Fille Mal Gardee, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Edward Scissorhands – The Ballet.

In January 2015, Sergiu and Beth joined the faculty of Idaho State University as Ballet Master and Ballet Mistress in the School of Performing Arts. They have performed in numerous community events in Pocatello and guest appearances elsewhere, including as Guest Artists with the Idaho State-Civic Symphony at its 2014 Valentine’s “Ballet at the Symphony Gala.” .

Brindusa and Moore and Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy have been the recipients of numerous community awards since arriving in Pocatello. In May 2007, they received the Pocatello Arts Council Community Partnership Award “in appreciation of the exceptional contribution to promoting the arts in our community.” They also were honored as recipients of an Idaho State Journal Business Award for 2007 as “Overachiever(s) Under 40.” In June 2009, they and the Academy were privileged to be recognized by the Rotary Club of Pocatello with its President’s Award acknowledging their “significant contributions to the community” through the Rotary/Brindusa-Moore Nutcrackers over the (then) past four years, and were named Honorary Members of the club in 2010. The Directors and the Academy were named in September 2009 as recipients of the Mayor’s 2009 Corporate Award for the Arts. The Academy was voted the #1 Ballet Academy by Idaho State Journal’s Reader’s Choice Awards in each year 2014-2016. Mr. Brindusa proudly earned an award of a different nature in September 2013, his U.S. citizenship.

Sergiu is eagerly committed to this next chapter of his professional life with the launching of Alliance Academy of Dance and is excited to be working in partnership, as always, with his wife Beth, and now with Whitney, in their great collaboration.[/read]

Beth Moore

– Associate Director

Ms. Moore received her earliest dance training in her native Atlanta, Georgia, with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, and studied on full scholarship with Pacific Northwest Ballet, The School of American Ballet, and The Joffrey Ballet during summer intensives.  At age 14, she was a semi-finalist in the 1994 Jackson, Mississippi, International Ballet Competition. She attended the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C., on full artistic and academic scholarship, where she first met her husband-to-be, Sergiu Brindusa.

In 1998, Ms. Moore joined Orlando Ballet in Florida, the same year Sergiu joined the company, and danced for six seasons. Ms. Moore was featured in many principal and soloist roles including Paquita, The Dying Swan, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, and Spartacus, and in many contemporary works including Jazz Swing, Let’s Dance Salsa, West Side Story, Passion y Fuego, Claire De Lune, Forever 40s and Bolero. Beth has had the privilege of training with Fernando Bujones, Nicholai Morozov, Tatiana Legat, Magda Aunon, Rochelle Zide-Boothe, Winthrop Corey, Cristina Saru, and Florin Brindusa.

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Beth, with husband Sergiu, opened Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy as Co-Artistic Directors in 2005. Together, Moore and Brindusa have produced nine full-length ballets, performing alongside their students in Swan Lake, Giselle, Cinderella, Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, and notably, twelve consecutive seasons of The Nutcracker, proudly under the sponsorship of Rotary Club of Pocatello for eleven of those. Additionally, Beth and Sergiu have produced three all-student ballets for summer intensives: La Fille Mal Gardee, A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream, and Edward Scissorhands – The Ballet.

They have performed as guest artists elsewhere, including eight seasons as the Nutcracker Prince and Sugar Plum Fairy for Ballet Apetrei’s Nutcracker in Louisiana from 2004-2011, and as international guest artists at the Sibiu International Ballet Competition in Sibui, Romania, in July 2011. In February 2015, they and an ensemble of elite Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy dancers were Guest Artists with the Idaho State Civic Symphony at its Valentine’s “Ballet at the Symphony Gala.” Most recently, she and her husband took their final bow from performing the lead roles in The Nutcracker ballet after 11 seasons in Pocatello, to a sold out house and standing ovations.

Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy and Beth and Sergiu as Co-Directors, have been recognized with numerous awards and accolades since their arrival in Pocatello (see Sergiu’s profile). They joined the faculty of Idaho State University School of Performing Arts (Dance Department) as Ballet Mistress and Ballet Master in January 2015.

As this next chapter in their professional lives unfolds, Beth and Sergiu are immensely grateful for the support of the Pocatello community and its embrace of classical ballet. They are eager to join with Whitney in the great collaboration Alliance Academy of Dance represents, continuing to share their love of dance through teaching and passing along the gifts they were given.[/read]

Whitney Morden

– Associate Director

Whitney, a native of Pocatello, is a fourth generation dance studio owner and teacher. Growing up as a student of her mother, the legendary Dana Tueller Smith, Whitney excelled as a protégé for Dance Caravan in 2002 and 2004.  As captain of the Idaho State University Bengal Dancers in 2008, she led her team to the university’s first UDA National Championship. In 2010, Whitney took over as owner and director of DSDS, Pocatello’s longest running dance school, and over saw its award winning dance teams, namely the Tuellerettes. DSDS was voted #1 Favorite Dance Studio by the Idaho State Journal’s Reader’s Choice Awards several times throughout its 28-year history.  Whitney’s extensive network and relationships with cutting edge choreographers and instructors brings some of the most innovative talent in the industry to Southeast Idaho; providing opportunities for her dancers to develop and excel in an evolving contemporary dance scene.

Teaching Faculty

Brittannia Smith

– Acrobatics

Brittannia was born in Kissimmee, Florida and has been dancing since she was 3 years old. After moving to Pocatello at age 8, she started training with Dana Smith at Dana Smith Dance Studio, where she also danced alongside Associate Director, Whitney Morden. While a student at DSDS, Brittannia traveled the country and attended dance conventions, learning from master choreographers. After graduating from Highland High School in 2004, she went on to earn her associates degree in cosmetology in 2006. Shortly thereafter, she started her family and has 4 beautiful children. Three of whom are following in her footsteps and have fallen in love with the art of dance. Brittannia began teaching for DSDS in 2012. Teaching children is her passion and she feels most at home in the studio.

Nikki Garmendia

– Acrobatics & Combo

Nikki Garmendia was born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho where she started dancing at the age of 5. She began assisting her dance teacher, Dana Smith, in the studio by the time she was in 7th grade. Nikki continued to dance and teach at Dana Smith Dance Studio until graduating from Pocatello High School in 1995. She then moved to Seattle, Washington for the next year and a half but moved back to Pocatello to attend Idaho State University where she earned her associates degree in Cosmetology and became a member of the ISU Bengal Dancers. In 2006 Nikki married her husband Chris and now has two beautiful children. Nikki returned to teaching at DSDS five years ago under the instruction of Whitney Jo Morden. She loves children, the art of dance and believes that music does good for the soul.

Julia Alpert – Adult Ballet

Julia Alpert has been a part of our Adult program for the past 10 years! Julia began her serious ballet training at Portland Dance Academy and Oregon Ballet Theatre. She was also a member of two semi-professional companies in the Portland metro area, Vancouver Dance Theatre and Oregon Festival Ballet. She continued her studies in the prestigious ballet program at the University of Utah, and while there was the teaching assistant for the ballet injuries class. Most of her teaching experience has been with adults; she taught ballet for the PE department at Washington State University and a widely attended class in Central Arizona. Her classes are designed to be medium paced, movement and music oriented and fun!

Sierra Cheney

– Jazz & Contemporary

Sierra Lynn Cheney started dancing at age 3 at Dana Smith Dance Studio with her mother, Dana Smith. When she was 12, she attended the Ballet West Academy Summer Intensive and was invited back for an additional two years. While there she studied under Peter Christie and Charee Lane. During her teenage years, she toured with Hoctor’s Dance Caravan as a Dance Caravan Kid, visiting a total of 12 cities around the United States assisting faculty in tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop classes. She went on to attend Idaho State University and was a member of the National Champion Bengal Dancers. Sierra taught ballet, jazz and contemporary for several years at DSDS and is known for her innovative and beautiful choreography.

Joni Tuttle – Contemporary

Joni McDonald began her ballet training under the direction of Jacqueline Colledge, and later received her B.F.A. from Utah Valley University. During that time, Joni joined Utah Regional Ballet and danced professionally for five seasons performing principal roles such as Sugar Plum, Swanhilda, and Ucanogos. She then joined Northwest Dance Project and performed original works by Sarah Slipper, Ihsan Rustem, Patrick Delcroix,Wen Wei Wang, Loni Landon, and Lucas Crandall. Following NWDP, she had the experience to work with Michael Nunn and Billy Trevit from the Ballet Boyz on Ovation’s “A Chance to Dance”. From that experience, she won the opportunity to tour with “So You Think You Can Dance”. Joni has participated in many workshops such as Nederlands Dans Theater, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, and spent many summers at San Francisco Conservatory of Dance. She has studied Jirí Kylián works with Fionna Lumis, William Forsythe Improvisation Technologies with Alessio Sylvestri and Ohad Naharin “gaga” technique and repertoire with Bobby Smith. Joni is the co-founder and dancer of SALT Contemporary Dance where she has worked with artists such as Alex Ketley, Brendan Duggan, and Gabrielle Lamb.

Paetan Schiess

– Hip Hop

Born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, Paetan started dancing at Dana Smith Dance Studio at a young age. As a student, she developed a passion for all styles of dance – ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, and hip-hop. She traveled around the U.S. attending dance conventions and competitions while taking class along side the most prominent and inspiring choreographers in the industry. She was fortunate enough to spend a summer at Ballet West Conservatory where her love for ballet took on a whole new meaning. In 2010, Paetan attended Idaho State University where she was a part of the award winning Bengal Dancers for two years. As her dancing career came to a close, she knew she wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue teaching. Paetan’s love for the art of dance has taken her down many roads, teaching at two well-known studios in Eastern Idaho, but she found her home at DSDS and is now looking forward to the future at Alliance Academy of Dance.

Chyna Lee Wesley

– Jazz & Contemporary

Chyna Lee Wesley, a daughter of a professional dancer and studio owner, was groomed for dance since the age of 3. She has 20 plus years of training in ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, modern, tap and contemporary dance. Chyna traveled around the country with DSDS as a competitive dancer for 13 years and studied at the Ballet West Conservatory for three years, with further studies at professional dance studios such as Edge, Millennium and Debbie Reynolds.

Her honors include Tremaine Dance scholarship winner, Hollywood Vibe scholarship winner, Nuvo scholarship winner, Dance for Life Odyssey scholarship winner, Best Choreography winner at The Pulse Convention where she was also chosen to be a highly coveted Pulse protégé, and appeared on So You Think You Can Dance.

After graduating high school in 2010, Chyna signed with Bloc Talent Agency in LA and studied and worked as a commercial dancer for a summer. She then became a proud member of Odyssey Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City, UT. During her three years with the company, she danced numerous lead roles in the productions Thriller, Romeo & Juliet and Shut Up and Dance. She toured internationally with the company for their European Tour in 2011 and 2012.  Since marrying her husband in 2012, an international professional basketball player, Chyna has taught internationally in France, Holland and New Zealand as well as all over the US. Most recently she was a member of the Skycity Breakers professional dance team and danced as a commercial dancer with Momentum Dance Productions of New Zealand.

Daysha Rupp

– Jazz & Tap

Daysha has had a passion for dance since she was six years old. She has fifteen years of training in the various areas of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop, contemporary, lyrical, tap, ballroom, military, kick, prop, pom, and tumbling. She has competed with some of the best teams/studios in Pocatello including Dana Smith Dance Studio, Pocatello Indianettes and ISU Bengal Dancers.

Dari Willey

– Ballet

Dari began her dance training in Pocatello, Idaho.  She received a degree in Performing Arts from Ricks College where she was a member of Contemporary Dance Theater for three years.  Upon graduation, Dari moved to Kansas City and trained at Westport Ballet Theater. For over 15 years, Dari has enjoyed teaching dance to all ages with a focus on jazz and contemporary styles. In 2005, she began teaching with Brindusa Moore Ballet Academy, while taking classes as a student from Sergiu and Beth.  Since that time she has appeared in many BMBA productions.  After a brief hiatus from teaching, Dari is eager to return for the Alliance Academy of Dance’s inaugural year.

Sara Coray

– Ballet

Sara received her training from the Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy, competing two years in the Youth American Grand Prix, and performing many roles including Little Clara, Arabian, Pas de Quatre from Don Quixote, an original pas de deux by Richard D’Alton, variations from Paquita, Grand pas Classique, Sleeping Beauty, and La Esmeralda. She performed one season with Rexburg’s Upper Valley Civic Ballet (2009-2010) in the lead role of Carmen. She went on to dance with Brigham Young University’s Ballet Showcase for one season (2011-2012) and the Theatre Ballet Company for three (2012-2014); touring and competing as finalists at the American Collegiate Dance Association gala. She was able to perform lead roles in Staircase to Heaven and The Letter, and was also cast in Les Cygnes in Swan Lake, Little Red Riding Hood and The White Cat in The Sleeping Beauty, the Autumn Variation in Cinderella, and The Snow Queen, among other roles. Sara has also studied with the San Francisco Conservatory of Dance and the University of Utah Dance Dept. She served a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Chile, Viña del Mar mission, and has completed her BFA in Ballet Performance from BYU. She has directed several dance films, including two that have been accepted as finalists into the Utah Dance Film Festival (Feb 2017). She has been involved extensively in choreographic showcases including the Red Rock Dance Festival, Dance in Design, and BYU’s student showcases. This year she was commissioned to choreograph an original ballet, Kamilla, in conjunction with students and faculty at BYU. Sara has recently returned from tour to China with Provo’s Contemporary Ballet Theatre. She is thrilled to return back to her roots to work with her original mentors and continue to enrich the community’s art and culture.

Jennifer Dykman – Ballet

Jennifer Dykman is an experienced dancer who strives to make the most out of every dance experience for herself and for others. For the last 14 years, she has studied various styles of dance such as Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Hip Hop and Ballet. Throughout the last three years, she has also had the incredible opportunity to teach and choreograph for the Pocatello community.

Jennifer began dancing classical Vaganova style ballet under the instruction of Marius Zirra, then with Sergiu Brindusa and Beth Moore. Throughout high school and college, she had the opportunity to be a member of the Pocatello High School Indianettes Dance Team as well as the Idaho State University Bengal Dancers. While attending ISU, she has worked with the faculty and students of The College of Arts and Letters Dance Department to perform beautify pieces of varying styles.

Jennifer has teaching experience in classical ballet, jazz and lyrical; she has co-choreographed a competition Hip Hop dance for the Highland High School Lassies Dance Team. She is excited to teach alongside her mentors Sergiu and Beth.

Administrative Staff