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

Sergiu 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 on full artistic and academic scholarship, he went on to graduate with the highest artistic achievement diploma. He danced on numerous occasions alongside stars of the Kirov Ballet, and was a finalist at the world-renowned International Ballet Competition in 2000 in New York City and in 2002 in Jackson, Mississippi. Sergiu joined the Orlando Ballet in 1998 where he was featured in many leading, soloist and principal roles in classical and contemporary ballets.

In 2005, he and his wife, Associate Director, Beth Moore, opened Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy in Pocatello. Throughout the Academy’s eleven-year history, they were the recipients of numerous community awards. Together, Beth and Sergiu have produced and performed in nine full-length ballets, most notably, 11 seasons of The Nutcracker under the sponsorship of the Rotary Club of Pocatello. In the spring of 2015, they were hired as Ballet Master and Ballet Mistress in Idaho State University’s dance department.

Beth Moore

– Associate Director

Beth began dance training in her native Atlanta, Georgia, with the Ruth Mitchell Dance Theater, and studied on full scholarship with the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the School of American Ballet, and the Joffrey Ballet.  She attended and graduated from the Kirov Academy on full artistic and academic scholarship. At age 14, she was a semi-finalist in the 1994 Jackson, Mississippi International Ballet Competition. Beth joined the Orlando Ballet in 1998 where she was featured in many leading, soloist and principal roles in classical and contemporary ballets. In the summer of 2005, she opened Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy in Pocatello, with her husband, Sergiu Brindusa.

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

Emily Boyd

– Ballet

Born and raised in Pocatello, Idaho, Emily has always had a passion for dance. She has been dancing since a very young age and was with the Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy since their start in 2005. Emily received her training under Sergiu Brindusa, Beth Moore, Sir Florin Brindusa, Constantin Apetrei, among many others. After graduating from Highland High School in 2011, she enrolled at Idaho State University studying Health Science with an emphasis in physical and occupational therapy. Emily is also studying to be a certified personal trainer and will continue her ballet studies through the ISU Department of Dance. Emily has trained dancers from age 3 to age 16 and has choreographed for the Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy’s productions of The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Coppélia, and The Sleeping Beauty. Emily is excited to be joining the Alliance Academy of Dance and continuing to work alongside her very first teachers!

Sierra Cheney

– Contemporary & Jazz

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. In 2013, Sierra married her husband and is currently expecting her first child. Sierra taught ballet, jazz and contemporary for several years at DSDS and is known for her innovative and beautiful choreography.

Kristi Gaona

– Ballet & Zumba

Kristi found a lifetime love of ballet after her first class at the Marius Zirra School of Ballet at the age of 14.  While attending Idaho State University, she expanded her training to ballroom dance, and soon after met her husband and forever dance partner, Richy. Having taught for the past eight years at Brindusa Moore Ballet Academy, Kristi is excited more than ever to share her passion for ballet with the familiar and new faces of the children at Alliance Academy of Dance. In addition to ballet, she specializes in Latin ballroom and freestyle. Kristi is now a licensed Zumba instructor, and will be instructing classes starting this fall.

Nikki Garmendia

– Preschool, K-1st, Acro

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.

Emma Kearns

– Tap

Emma began dancing at Dana Smith Dance Studio at the age of 5. As a student, she excelled in ballet and contemporary, but flourished in tap. Emma trained under Dana Smith, Whitney Morden and most recently Sergiu Brindusa and Beth Moore. In 2015, Emma graduated from Century High School and is currently majoring in nursing at Idaho State University. She began teaching for DSDS for the 2015-2016 dance year and hopes to continue teaching and choreographing for many years to come!

Brittannia Mechling

– Acro

Bio Coming Soon!

Tiffany Price

– Ballet

Tiffany Price started ballet lessons when she was 2-years-old and has continued her passion ever since.  When Beth and Sergiu arrived in Pocatello Fall 2005, they gave Tiffany an opportunity to have the highest quality of ballet instruction that would not have been available otherwise. Ballet is her passion and she is grateful to Beth and Sergiu for their encouragement and love. Throughout the years, Tiffany has had the opportunity to study under the direction of distinguished guest artists including Constantine Apetrei, Sir Florin Brindusa, Ethan Kirschbaum, Heather Fryxell, and Vladimir Bykov. Tiffany has danced various roles in the Nutcracker, including Little Clara, Dream Clara, Sugarplum Fairy and Dew Drop, as well as Kimmy in Edward Scissorhands, and Aurora in Sleeping Beauty. She has taught ballet for ages 2-12 for the past three years. Tiffany loves children and is very excited to share her passion of ballet with the students at Alliance Academy of Dance.

Paetan Schiess

– Jazz

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.

Amanda Stubblefield

– Ballet

Amanda Stubblefield began dancing at the age of three at the Brindusa Moore Ballet Academy in 2005. During her time as a student, she had the amazing opportunity to train under Sergiu Brindusa and Beth Moore as well as many other incredible guest instructors, such as Sir Florin Brindusa, Vladimir Bykov, and Constantin Apetre. Amanda is currently studying Dance and Exercise Science at Idaho State University, and is continuing her ballet training under Sergiu and Beth at ISU Department of Dance. Amanda is extremely delighted to teach and share her knowledge with the students at Alliance Academy of Dance this fall.

Chyna Lee Wesley

– Contemporary/Jazz

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 was a finalist on So You Think You Can Dance.

In 2010, Chyna became a proud member of Odyssey Dance Theatre in Salt Lake City, UT. During her three years with the company she danced lead roles in Thriller and went on two European tours. Since marrying her husband in 2012, an international professional basketball player, Chyna has taught in Paris, Holland and New Zealan,d was a member of the professional Sky City Breakers dance team and danced in numerous commercials and music videos as a client of Momentum Dance Productions.

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.

Administrative Staff

Stephanie Taylor

Stephanie grew up in the Boston, Massachusetts area and was an avid dancer in her younger years. She earned a B.A. in Art History from Brigham Young University, Provo in 2002 and her masters in 2005 from the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York City. After graduation, Stephanie remained in New York and worked for Sotheby’s auction house in their Impressionist & Modern Art department. Her days were spent developing client relationships and coordinating exhibitions, as well as researching and writing about works of art by artists such as Picasso, Monet and Van Gogh that were to be sold to art collectors and museums around the world. After a brief stint on Wall Street, she craved a different pace and to be closer to family so she moved to Idaho in 2011. Stephanie comes to Alliance Academy by way of DSDS and is excited to be part of this amazing venture!

Carol Burnett

Carol is a transplant to Idaho by way of Texas. She received her B.A. in Political Science from Saint Mary’s College in South Bend, IN, and her M.B.A. in Finance from The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) in Philadelphia, PA.  Before starting a her family, her professional career was spent in banking and financial research, working last as a corporate banker for The Morgan Bank in New York City. Carol and her husband, Howard, have three grown daughters. She is excited to be combing two of her passions — the performing arts, particularly dance, and working with young people. Carol comes to Alliance Academy by way of the Brindusa-Moore Ballet Academy.