DANIELLE MERRILL: Studio Owner / Ballroom Dance Instructor
Danielle began dancing at the age of three in her hometown, Norwich New York, under former Broadway Performer Bernie Windsor. She began Tap Dancing only a few years later and fell in love with rhythm. She tapped and competed over the course of the following ten years.
After attending Cazenovia College and receiving a degree in Communications, she began her professional Dance career with the Fred Astaire Franchise. Danielle now instructs Ballroom, which includes a large array of dances, rhythms, and stylings from all over the world including:
Foxtrot, Rumba, Waltz, Tango, Swing, Cha Cha Cha, Samba, Quickstep, Meringue, Viennese Waltz
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KASSANDRA BAGGS: Dance Instructor
Kassie, a native of Boston Massachusetts, is a dance teacher and performing artist, who holds a Bachelors of Science in Dance from SUNY College at Brockport. From a young age she took interest in the art of dance and began studying Ballet at a local Gymnastics Center. She continued to pursue her passion in dance and, while in high school, studied Jazz at the Rochester Academy of Performing Arts, and took several modern dance classes at the Park Avenue Repertoire Dance Company. As a senior in high school, she taught a semester-long Hip-Hop/Jazz class to fellow students in fulfillment of her senior project requirement.
While in undergraduate at SUNY College at Brockport, Kassie majored in dance studying a wide variety of dance genres and discovered a love and passion for Contemporary Dance and African Caribbean Movement. As a college student, she was an active member of the Menzeko Dance Company, directed by Patrice Ann Mead.
After graduating, she attended Garth Fagan Dance, for several years, as a scholarship student and received extensive training in Fagan Technique. Kassie also holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from the Greater Rochester Collaborative MSW Program. Having experience working with youth for over 12 years in conjunction with the Rochester City School District, she has a passion for young people and a strong desire to see them succeed. Kassie taught Dance Fusion for a local youth development organization in February of 2009 and, during the fall of 2012.
Kassie’s most recent accomplishment was the design and implementation of a dance curriculum for the Young Women’s College Prep School, where she taught Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary Dance, and African Caribbean Movement from August 2012-February 2013. Kassie also has a love for the dance ministry, where she ministers the gift of dance through praise and worship.
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VASILIKI BITSAS: Yoga Instructor
I have been practicing yoga for over six years now. Yoga was something solely physical for me at first, but then I started to fall in love with the way it made me feel in all aspects of my life, not just on the mat. Ever since I first noticed the effects of yoga off the mat, I have been wanting to help other people experience that within themselves.
MARISSA BLAND: Yoga Instructor
Marissa found yoga during college 4 years ago as a self-taught yogi. During this time she became involved with Yogis In Service, a non-profit organization that brings yoga to communities that have little or no access. She has taught ages 2 to 85 years on Buffalo's East Side every weekend for over a year and a half with Yogis In Service, and has watched yoga transform the lives of the individuals she gratefully serves. Marissa has taught children's yoga for at-risk populations, and is trained in trauma-sensitive yoga. She went on to graduate Grad school as a licensed and registered occupational therapist. She currently lives in Rochester, and works as an early intervention pediatric therapist for ages birth to 4 years on the west side. She specializes in sensory processing disorders, and incorporates sensory yoga into every therapy session. Marissa enjoys teaching whenever and wherever she can- from donation-based park yoga, to helping host hundreds at yoga special events. Marissa is beyond grateful to join the Nu Movement family and is so looking forward to meeting you and your little ones.
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NICOLE KLINGER-GILBERT: Yoga Instructor
Since the first day I took a yoga class, I became excited about the idea of teaching yoga. I love teaching and inspiring people to find their best and fullest potential. I believe in the power of teaching and learning. For over fifteen years I coached ski racing as a certified alpine race coach, I teach online classes as an adjunct teacher and train student employees working in university dining. I received a MS degree in Instructional Technology and MBA from Rochester Institute of Technology. As a recent graduate of Yoga Teacher Training with Breathe studio and a registered 200-hour yoga teacher with Yoga Alliance, I look forward to guiding you in your yoga practice.
I have practiced yoga for over ten years now, starting my practice to alleviate back issues. Through regular practice, I found that yoga not only helps my back feel better, but also creates space for me to consciously listen to what makes “me me” in a deeper way. I realize yoga is not just an activity, but also a way of life. As I continue to benefit from my yoga, I am increasingly passionate about sharing my experience and knowledge. What I love about yoga, it’s accessible to everyone looking for balance in their life and connection with their body, through intentional work one breath at a time.
LINDA BAYER-LAWRENCE: Yoga Instructor
Linda rediscovered yoga 5 years ago and has been a devoted yogi ever since. An artist and art educator, Linda chose yoga for its physical benefits but mostly as a way to bring peace, calm and mindfulness into her busy life. She also uses yoga in her artistic pursuits as a method of opening to creative possibilities. The mind, body and spiritual connection that yoga offers is similar to the art making experience.
Linda completed her 200hr certification in 2016 followed by a certification in teaching yoga to children. She also became certified in Hikyoga in July under Nicole Kasimer. This summer Linda has taught yoga classes outdoors at I-Square in Irondequoit and hosts Hikyoga events around Rochester. Linda is excited to be part of the Numovement community and looks forward to leading you in a sweet vinyasa flow class linking breath and movement.
In addition to teaching and practicing yoga, Linda is an art educator in the Greece Central School District to k-5th grade students. She sells her glass beads & jewelry at galleries, boutiques and festivals in New York and elsewhere.
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LESLIE MACDONALD - MSC., RAD-TC, Body Harmonics Comprehensively Certified Pilates Instructor
Leslie started her long life in dance and movement education in 1967 at the age of 5 at the National Ballet School in Toronto, then studied as a teenager at the Lois Smith School of Dance, and in the George Brown College dance program in Toronto. After extensive training as an adult under Patricia McLeod and Linda Godwin at the Royal City School of Dance in Guelph, Ontario, she successfully undertook the Teaching Certification examination of the Royal Academy of Dancing, passing with honours. More than 20 years of teaching students of every age followed. Her Pilates teacher training began soon after at Pilates in Guelph, with certification as a Mat Specialist completed at Body Harmonics in Toronto in 2007. Studies at Dance Theatre David Earle in Guelph sparked a strong interest in modern dance, and a deep respect for mature dancers in general, and for Martha Graham in particular. After moving to Rochester in 2009 she was privileged to have studied with and taught for Christine Fendley of the Park Avenue Dance company, and also for Elizabeth Clarke.
She has also worked with students of trumpet at the Eastman School of Music and at brass player’s symposia, applying the principals of Pilates for improved breathing, posture and increased confidence while performing. As of the fall of 2016, retiring after a 30 year career in biological sciences research, Leslie is now focused full time on exploring teaching opportunities working with dancers, musicians and athletes and playing a lot more trumpet in local orchestras and small ensembles. After completing the required 800 hours of Pilates training, teaching, and testing, Leslie is now a Balanced Body Comprehensively Certified Pilates instructor. Leslie is delighted to be a member of NU Movement and the possibilities it offers for teachers and students alike.
KEN PLOSSL: Yoga Instructor
Ken was introduced to yoga in 2010 during a visit to his sister in Denver and is excited to incorporate it into his life. Besides being a yogi, he is also an avid runner and Crossfitter. Yoga has been beneficial in helping Ken to breathe more effectively in his other athletic activities and he would like to share this and other benefits with those around him!
He is a highly energetic person and very excited about his new journey in teaching yoga! He just recently finished his 200 hour YTT and is looking forward to learning, growing and sharing his story with those around him.
In addition to yoga, Ken is a client support specialist for employee benefits and loves his dogs, coffee, and being with friends and family.
VESNA SANDERS: Yoga Instructor, Gong Practitioner & Om Chanting Coordinator
Vesna has been a devoted yoga student for over twelve years and part of Nu Movement since almost it’s very beginning! Her yoga practice began with faster (Ashtanga Vinyasa) yoga styles, but she later naturally transitioned into a slower and more alignment-based practice. She became a certified yoga teacher, (CYT) in 2012 through Shakti Yoga in Geneseo, NY. Vesna obtained her Prenatal yoga teacher certification, (CPYT), through Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, MA.
She offers Gong Sound Healing classes and is grateful to have had the legendary Gong master Don Conreaux as her teacher. She is also the only certified OM Chanting Coordinator in Rochester, NY and leads regular OM chanting circles.
Vesna’s teaching style is intuitive but precise, caring and non-judgmental, and her focus in always in creating more awareness – in our practice and in our lives. Her goal as a yoga teacher is to help students find their own inner truth, and to awaken to inherent possibilities they may not be aware of.
Vesna has taught yoga in both Europe and the US, and currently lives in Rochester, NY with her husband Paul and their six-year-old son Teo Levi. In addition to Hatha yoga, she is a devoted Atma Kriya Yoga practitioner and she enjoys photography (www.vesnasanders.com), walks in nature and, of course, a good book.
LIZA SAVAGE-KATZ: Yoga Instructor
Liza (pronounced Leeza) Savage-Katz has been teaching yoga and fitness at premiere health clubs, fitness studios, retreats, corporations and privately since 2002. She has taught yoga in Los Angles, London, Thailand, and New York, designing unique programs for each individual. Her students range in age from 2 to 92 (literally). She has worked with professional athletes as well as children and adults with special needs and those recovering from addiction. Liza transforms bodies and lifestyles using her dynamic expertise as well as her infectious, motivational personality. Ms. Savage-Katz’s intention is to support everyone that enters her life to realize their best selves. She has trained extensively receiving teaching certifications in Kathmandu, Nepal, New York City, Los Angeles, and Rochester.
Liza currently resides in Rochester, New York and is a yoga instructor at Nu Movemnt and the JCC of Greater Rochester. She is a Certified Movement & Mindfulness Curriculum Trainer for Move with Me Yoga Adventures and teaches yoga enrichment at Trinity Montessori as well as facilitating professional development workshops and retreats for teachers.
Ms. Savage-Katz is the founder of a small productions company that produces wellness and fitness content. In 2015, she launched an exhibit call Embrace Every Angle. Embrace Every Angle is a multifaceted project celebrating our origins while encouraging acceptance for ourselves and our ever expanding tribe. It is a community-based collective movement facilitating artistic expression, transforming it into financial support for both the artist and various charitable causes. In addition, its versatile platform promotes personal empowerment, planet sustainability, inclusion, community and collaboration. In addition tothe Embrace Every Angle Exhibit, Liza is also developing a children’s program called Kaleidoscope ME. Kaleidoscope ME is a social and emotional educational series with a fitness component, co-created with Leah Kalish, founder of Move with Me Yoga Adventures. Liza has served as faculty of the Center for Movement Education and Research since 2003 and was the talent and choreographer for their Kid’s Get Movin’ DVD. She is also a wellness coach and fitness expert and has written articles and been featured in Yoga Journal, SELF, Rochester Woman’s Magazine, and Healthy Edge Magazine. She works with DoTerra Essential Oils, and has started a signature essential oils line called LOVE… A Little Goes a Long Way.
Liza has been a competitive rower since 1998, rowing at Sons of the Thames and Tideway Scullers School. She is presently a masters rower and rowing coach. She started rowing while living in London where she was a Senior Art Director in advertising, working on accounts such as Disney, Coca-Cola, Vidal Sassoon and L’Oreal.