Artistic Director, Instructor
Ashley Dowling started dancing at the age of 3 at the Dalton Ballet Studio in Dalton, MA. She went on to perform lead roles including: Ariel in “The Little Mermaid”, Captain Hook in “Peter Pan”, and the Wicked Witch of the West in “The Wizard of Oz”. Upon graduation she continued her dance studies at Dean College School of Dance in Franklin, MA where she received her A.A. Degree. She choreographed many student productions and performed in the community. Pursuing her career Miss Ashley went on to Mount Holyoke College and received her B.A. Degree in dance. There she taught dance in places such as Elementary schools, Nursing homes and Jails. She has taken master classes with performers such as Merrill Ashley, Marta Renzi, Charles and Rose Flachs, Lydia Clarkson, Ethan Steifel and Denise Jefferson. She has studied with Constance Valis- Hill, Rebecca Nordstrom, and Amie Dowling. Her teaching experience has included Pittsfield High School, Dalton Ballet Studio, Terpsichore Studio, Berkshire Pulse, and Flowering Child Performing Arts School and Bard College at Simon’s Rock. Miss Ashley also founded the Pittsfield High School dance team, has received numerous dance awards such as the Henry Houston Award, and has competed in the Massachusetts Junior Miss competition as Berkshire County’s Junior Miss, after winning the title Dalton Winter Carnival Queen. She has choreographed many full-scale productions and looks forward to creating many more. Her choreography has received many standing ovations for style, creativity and excitement. She is a member of the Artists for Action council. Miss Ashley and her husband Ryan have a daughter, Kytalin and son, Turner. As of 2008 Miss Ashley is a member of the National Dance Educators Organization. The Alton Dance Academy is proud to be the only studio in New Hampshire that affords students the opportunity to graduate with membership in the National Honor Society for Dancers. Miss Ashley firmly believes dance helps build a strong educational foundation and is excited to encourage her students to pursue NHSD membership.
Sarah Christie started dancing at age 3 with the Turning Pointe Center of Dance in Pembroke, NH. There she studied ballet, jazz, tap, lyrical and gymnastics for 16 years. In addition to annual recitals, Sarah has held the roles of Arabian Coffee and The Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker Ballet. While studying at TPCD she was given the opportunity to perform for Walt Disney World’s “Magical Music Days” in the Magic Kingdom. From there Sarah was able to study under numerous instructors in Boston, NYC and Maine. She also attended many workshops including dancing with the NYC Rockettes. During high school, Sarah was an active member of the community, after volunteer work and experience with young children she was given the position of head cheerleading coach at St. John Regional School in Concord NH. Her team placed within the top three at competition all three years she worked as their coach. After high school, Sarah attended Southern New Hampshire University and was a member of their dance team, focusing on hip hop and lyrical dance. She transferred to Franklin Pierce University and has earned a B.S. in Human Services. During college, Sarah returned to the Turning Pointe where she taught dance and acro/gym, a class geared towards gymnastics and creative movement. Leaving to start a family, Sarah is now a wife, a mother of two little girls and as always, eager to keep dancing.
Amanda Hook started dancing at the age of eight. She studied ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and contemporary at the Alton Dance Academy. She has had feature roles in many ADA productions, her favorite is Shenzi in The Lion King. As a student Amanda was a great role model and exemplified dedication. This culminated with her induction into the National Honor Society for Dancers under the chapter of the Alton Dance Academy.
Deb McGranaghan has been a lover of dance ever since she could walk. Though self-taught as a kid, she has studied swing, hip-hop, jazz, and lyrical/contemporary as an adult. Her passion is encouraging kids and adults alike to find joy and expression through dance. She is a firm believer that ANYONE can dance. She’s thrilled be a part of the ADA team and get to share her love of dance to all ages and prove that anybody can find joy through dance.
Kate Walker has been dancing for over 30 years. By age 5, she won numerous titles from dance competitions and pageants. At 10, she gave up pageants and modeling when she was invited to join a more rigorous competition team where she could focus her talents on tap, jazz and musical theater. She was involved in many stage productions with various theater camps and clubs. In 2005, Kate auditioned for the New England Patriots Cheerleaders. Kate went on to co-teach the dance teams at Pembroke Academy and Three Rivers School, which made her fall in love with teaching. She has taught both recreational and competitive dance ever since, with her most recent Intermediate and Advanced Tap Teams competing at the Step Up 2 Dance Nationals Dance Competition. Kate continues to be a student of dance and frequently attends classes, conventions, competitions, workshops and tap festivals throughout the year. Kate is excited to be a part of the Alton Dance Academy family!
Abigail Wenczkowski began her career in dance at the early age of two. She attended the Alton Dance Academy for sixteen years under the direction of Ashley Dowling. There she trained in many forms of dance including ballet, pointe, jazz, tap, hip-hop, modern, contemporary, character and dance history. Abigail’s true passion for teaching dance was uncovered when she assumed the role of a teacher’s assistant at the Alton Dance Academy. For six years, she was a positive role model for young dancers and learned to share her love of the art form. Throughout high school, Abigail taught after-school dance programs at Milton Elementary School, Alton Central School, and Spaulding High School. She was the Dance Captain for the schools color guard and a member of the National Honor Society of Dance Arts. Through this membership, she was recognized for her artistic merit, academic achievements, and leadership skills throughout her educational experiences. Abigail is entering her senior year as a dance major with a concentration in teaching at Dean College’s Joan Phelps Palladino School of Dance under the instruction of several world renowned dancers. She is currently the president of Dean College’s chapter of the National Honors Society of Dance Arts and works with the Elite Dance Challenge Company. Her mission as a dance instructor is to share her adoration and respect of the art form with future generations through professional and skilled instruction, positive experiences, and by inspiring self-confidence and a love for dance within the student.
Piano, Voice and Music
Siroun Roubian-Braun has studied music all her life. In college she majored in Pedagogy in piano and minored in voice. She enjoys teaching one-on-one piano, voice, solfege and music theory to youth. Sewing and knitting are some more of her passions, along with the study of ballet. She enjoys performing and the stage. Siroun is married to Bill Braun and they have one daughter Nora who attended ADA and SNHU. The Braun family is integral in helping the studio with props and scenery ideas! Ms Siroun speaks over 3 languages and has traveled to lots of places. She is the Alton Dance Academy prop and costume mistress.
Jennifer Bourassa is an AFAA (Aerobic and Fitness Association of America) certified fitness instructor. Jenn began instructing aerobic and senior fitness classes from 1995 – 2000 as a volunteer for the Rochester YMCA. Jenn then went to work at Planet Fitness as a fitness instructor for one year. After Planet Fitness, Jenn instructed fitness classes at the Alton Wellness Loft for 14 years. Jenn has been instructing at the Alton Dance Academy since 2015. She has specialized training in Adult and Aqua Fitness. Jenn’s enthusiasm and love for what she does make the class fun and challenging.
Ashley LeClerc has practiced and studied the methods of Joseph Pilates since 2003, found a passion for the life changing exercise and became certified to teach Pilates mat classes in 2011. Looking for more education and variety in the changing field, attended training in 2012 and 2014, with international fitness expert Tracey Mallet to become certified in her Booty Barre method, a fusion based on Pilates principles, yoga & dance. An Alton resident for 15 years, wife and mother of 3, Ashley is excited to share a love of Pilates and fitness for improved quality of life with all.
Sherry Lee Meyer began at Alton Dance Academy in 2004 by teaching Hip Hop to young students. Adult Hip Hop Fitness then Adult Cardio Dance was later offered as a fitness alternative to the adults. It was not until she became licensed to teach Zumba® Fitness in 2010 that the interest and class volume increased in popularity and success. Zumba® Fitness is an easy and effective Latin inspired dance fitness party, founded in 2001. The company is now the largest branded fitness program in the world. Alton Dance Academy is one of the 140,000 locations where Zumba® is taught to more than 14 million class participants in 150 countries around the world. Health and fitness integrity are the utmost importance to Sherry as she continues to broaden her knowledge to all age levels and abilities by acquiring (3) licenses: Zumba®, Zumba Gold® (baby boomer generation), and Zumbatomic® (children ages 4-12). Sherry has a reputation of encouraging beginners to feel welcome by simplifying and breaking down the steps; yet enthusiastically, proficient in keeping the party going. She continues to sharpen her teaching skills by traveling to various ZIN ™ Jam Sessions and Events. Sherry proudly took part of the Zumba® Instructor Conference in L.A. in 2013 & 2014 where she studied multiple dance rhythms, techniques & choreography; including but not limited to Salsa, Merengue, Mambo, Flamenco, Samba, Belly Dance, Soco, Tango, Quebradita, Reggaeton and Hip-Hop. So, what are YOU waiting for? Get MOVING “Ditch the Workout and Join the Dance Party!”