Steppin' Out Dance Academy
MEET OUR TALENTED INSTRUCTORS
MEET OUR TALENTED INSTRUCTORS
Kimberly Mills - Owner/Artistic Director/Instructor
Tap - Aerial Sling - Jazz/Jazz Hop - Pre-School Ballet - Lyrical - Fly Gym - Fitness
Kim graduated from Northern Essex Community College, where she minored in dance, and was a member of the Still Pointe Dance Company. Shortly after graduation she opened Steppin’Out Dance Academy (SODA). Since opening the studio, Kim has attended many teacher trainings, certiﬁcations, and workshops. She is certiﬁed by Dance Masters Of America, Dance Educators Of America, New York City Dance, ACE ﬁtness, Fly Gym Aerial Fitness, Luna Aerial Hammock, Hoopnotica Fit, Hoopnotica Flow, Hoopnotica Kids, and Rhythm Works Integrated Dance. Kim has also completed the Born To Fly aerial sling level 1 instructor training. She has attended multiple aerial sling immersions at NECCA (New England Center For Circus Arts), as well as The Big Apple Tap Festival, Bean Town Tap Festival, Tap University; and will be attending the CirqFIT Lyra Instructor training this August.
Kim’s choreography has won numerous high score, choreography, and entertainment awards at regional and national competitions. She hopes to pass on her love of dance, ﬁtness, & aerial to all of her students. Kim is very honored that the studio has received the “Best Dance Studio” award from The Best Of The Seacoast Awards for the past 4 years; and is thrilled to be celebrating SODA’s 33rd season! When Kim isn’t at the studio she enjoys biking, hiking, axe throwing, and spending time with her family & friends.
Abby Sprackland Dane - Instructor
Ballet - Lyrical - Jazz - Contemporary
Abby began dancing at the age of 6 at Steppin' Out Dance Academy. As a member of the competitive team, Abby competed in regional and national dance competitions across New England for more than 12 years. In her Junior and Senior year, Abby was awarded the Danielle Janco Memorial Scholarship for her love and commitment to dance.
Following high school, Abby continued her dance education at Plymouth State University under the direction of Amanda Whitworth. She received a B.A. in Communication & Media Studies, double minor in Marketing and Dance, Certificate in Dance Pedagogy and was a dance talent grant recipient. As a member of the PSU’s Contemporary Dance Ensemble, Abby was selected to work with several guest artists including, Betsie Graves of Urbanity Dance, Helen Simoneau of Helen Simoneau Danse and Miziyanda Mancam of Cape Town Africa. Abby was also early accepted into Urbanity Dance’s 3-Week Summer Intensive in Boston, working with choreographers from Boston Ballet to So You Think You Can Dance.
Abby continues to attend classes and trainings offered across New England to further her dance education and has performed professionally in showcases like, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival. Outside of dance, Abby works full-time in Development and Marketing for a statewide non-profit organization. More than 20 years of dance experience later, Abby is grateful to still be a part of the SODA family as a Dance Instructor.
Crystal Skahan - Instructor
Crystal is a Recreation Therapist that discovered aerial sling, fabric and circus arts as an adult, and enjoys any opportunity to advance her training, teaching experience, and share her passion and enthusiasm with others. She has completed an Introduction to Teaching Aerials training in 2021 through the New England Center for Circus Arts. In addition she is a hula hoop enthusiast and has instructor certifications in HoolaFit and HoopYogini.
Diana Bernier - Instructor
Musical Theatre - Jazz - Lyrical
Diana graduated from the University of New Hampshire in 2006 with degrees in Theater Dance and Psychology. As a student she performed in numerous dance, musical theater, and aerial shows as well as earning scholarships for excellence in dance. Professional works include choreographing musicals at Prescott Park in Portsmouth, NH and performing at The Seacoast Repertory Theater in Portsmouth, NH as well as the Palace Theater in Manchester, NH. Diana has been teaching and choreographing many styles of dance for SODA since 2002 and her love for musical theater shines through her students. Several of her favorite dances that she has choreographed have won special awards at dance competitions throughout New England. Diana wishes to thank Kim, her family, and her students for their encouragement, support, and hard work and looks forward to another amazing season at SODA.
Hattie Norton-Ford - Instructor
Acrobatics - Contemporary - Lyrical - Hip Hop
Hattie has been dancing at SODA since she was 11 years old. She started as a gymnast and transitioned to dance throughout her teens. She spent her teen and young adult years dancing in Company and Recreational classes as well as taking Aerial classes. She started teaching dance in 2006 and graduated from Exeter High School in 2007. She attended the University of New Hampshire and received a bachelor’s degree in Theatre with a Dance Focus. While at UNH, she taught Aerial dance and some Lyrical and Hip-Hop classes at SODA and attended a Trapeze Teacher Training program at New England Center for Circus Arts. She was also the lead dancer in UNH’s performance of “RENT”. Hattie started teaching Acrobatics at the studio in 2015 and coached gymnastics at Granite State Gymnastics for 4 years. Recently she has received her Acrobatic Arts certification, which she applies to her acrobatic classes at the studio as well as teaching both recreational and company classes in various dance forms. Her favorite dance forms are Acrobatics, Contemporary and Hip Hop. Hattie loves teaching and loves being a part of the SODA family.
Jessica Clark - Instructor
Ballet - Tap - Jazz - Lyrical - Contemporary - Jazz Hop
Jessica began dancing at Steppin Out Dance Academy when she was 3 years old. She grew up dancing all styles including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and lyrical. At the age of 6 she joined company and competed until she graduated in 2016. Her junior year at Steppin’ Out she was awarded the Danielle Janco Memorial Scholarship for her senior year. Jessica attended the University of New Hampshire after graduating high school. At UNH, Jess was on the Jazz, Tap and Aerial company and was co-captain of the company her senior year. Jess started teaching at Steppin’ Out in 2018 with recreational classes while still in college. In 2020, Jessica graduated with a major in Human Development and Family Studies with minors in Psychology and Dance. She has continued teaching over the years including company classes. Jessica enjoys watching all of her students dance on stage as well as watching them make new memories.
Kayla Gallerani - Instructor
Ballet - Jazz - Lyrical - Contemporary - Tap
Kayla began dancing at the age of 5 at Steppin’ Out Dance Academy. When she was 7 years old, she auditioned and made it into company. She continued dancing and competing at Steppin’ Out until she graduated high school in 2011. Kayla attended the University of New Hampshire and obtained her degree in Dance. During her four years, she was a member of the Jazz, Tap & Aerial company as well as one of the company’s aerialists. The UNH dance company is also how Kayla met her husband as he was one of the spotters. She was very fortunate to be attending college nearby as it allowed her to begin teaching at Steppin’ Out in the fall of 2012 during her sophomore year. Her first year of teaching, she taught jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical and aerial. Her junior year, she was awarded UNH’s Jean Mattox Scholarship which is given to two Dance Majors for their excellence in dance. After graduating, Kayla continued working at Steppin’ Out as a dance and aerial instructor, UNH as an aerial instructor and was the assistant director during UNH’s summer dance and aerial intensives. Kayla continued teaching as an aerial instructor for Steppin’ Out and UNH until she had her daughter in fall of 2018. Currently she continues as a dance instructor at Steppin’ Out, focusing mainly on Ballet, Jazz and Lyrical as well as being the assistant director for the UNH summer intensives. Outside of dance, she enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and as of February 2022, her son. She enjoys traveling and has been to over 12 countries. Her favorite thing about teaching has been watching students grow their passion for dance and pushing to better themselves. She especially loves seeing students graduate and choose to continue their dancing career.
Kaylee Mensinger - Instructor
Ballet - Tap - Jazz
Kaylee Mensinger began dancing when she was only 5 years old, but started at Steppin Out Dance Academy around the age of 9. Her passion for dance grew each year as she gained more experience and became closer with all of her friends and peers here at the studio. Growing up, the studio was Kaylees favorite place to be, regardless of what life brought to her. One of her most memorable moments was self choreographing a duo with her close friend Brianna Burke during her senior year titled “The Wheel”. Kaylee is majoring in sociology at Southern New Hampshire University, and it is a goal of hers to incorporate this knowledge into her everyday life, including dance. Aside from this, she enjoys art in many forms, such as drawing, painting, jewelry making, and dancing (of course). She hopes to continue her passion for dance by helping other students to grow, learn, and express themselves confidently through movement.
Lisa Finocchiaro - Instructor
Ballet - Tap - Jazz
Lisa studied dance at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, and at Dean College, in Franklin, MA, and received a B.A. in Dance from Dean College in 2006, where she choreographed for and performed with the Dean Dance Company and the Dean College Dance Team. She studied with master teachers such as Jill Silverman, Jean Wenzel, Nailah Randall-Bellinger, Lisa Pari, Maryanne Kodzis, Jil Matrisciano, Wyatt Jackson, Jay T. Jenkins, Derick K. Grant, Troy Powell, Dudley Williams, Kristin Horrigan and Kelly Peters, and others. She performed in the “Video Game Awards Show” at the Grand Garden Arena, while in Las Vegas, NV. Lisa has also taught at the Haverhill YMCA and in Andover MA. This will be her 12th year teaching at Steppin' Out Dance Academy.
Megan Linehan - Instructor
Ballet - Tap - Jazz - Lyrical - Hip Hop - Contemporary - Pointe
Megan Linehan was born into a family of dance and put into dance classes from the moment she could walk. Dancing at SODA since 2002, her love of dance took off. Megan took classes for 16 years before graduating and moving on to continue her dance studies at the University of New Hampshire. Over her years at UNH, Megan developed a focus on aerial arts. In 2020 she became a certified aerial instructor through the Paper Doll Militia teacher training program. Recently graduated from UNH with a degree in Dance, Megan is excited to share her knowledge and experience with her students and hopes to further her studies and training in dance and aerial arts.
Sarah Whittier - Instructor
Ballet - Pointe - Contemporary
Sarah Louise has been dancing since she was a little girl. She is currently attending the University of New Hampshire working towards her bachelors degree in dance with minors in nutrition and entrepreneurship, and a master of arts in teaching. She is also a member of the UNH Ballet Company. Outside of the university, she is working towards getting her personal trainer certification with specializations in stretch and flexibility training, corrective exercise training and more. Sarah Louise enjoys spending her free time reading, designing, sewing and playing with her dog Ziggy.
Jacqui Young - Guest Instructor
Ballet - ABT
Jacqui Young is originally from Tewksbury, Massachusetts but has been living in New York City for the past seven years. She graduated from Hunter College with a Bachelor of Science in Choreography and Creative Theory. She also holds a Bachelor of Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Deviance and Victimization of Women, as well as an Associates Degree in Broadcast Journalism from Northern Essex Community College. She is the Artistic Director of the Push Factor Dance Company; an alternative jazz dance company based in New York City and is also a certified American Ballet Theatre Instructor. Jacqui received the prestigious 92nd Street Y Harkness Space Grant and also was a Silo Residency recipient through DanceNow/NYC two years in a row. Both of these awards allowed her to premiere works in the New York City area. Jacqui’s choreography has been features at the International Dance Festival, the Ailey Citigroup Theatre, the Dicapo Opera House, Dance Harlem, The Pearl Theatre and the Duke on 42nd Street. Jacqui began dancing at the age of five, choreographed her first professional show at age sixteen, and landed her first professional dancing job at age eighteen. Her professional credits include: The Van Burch and Wellford Show, (Illusion and Comedy Show) (Branson, MO) choreographer, dancer, and magic assistant; awarded best new show, best dancers, and best choreography. Choreographer, on TNN, The Crook and Chase Show; Melinda: First Lady of Magic, Dancer and magic assistant, (Las Vegas, NV); Sh-Boom National Tour; performed in production shows at: Lady Luck Hotel, The Desert Inn, Colorado Belle & the Red Lion Hotel and Casino; The Rainbow Tribe, Dancer, Hip Hop Dance Company (Boston, MA); West End Dance Company, Dancer, Jazz Dance Company (Boston, MA); Director and Choreographer for the North American Premiere of Uncle Ebenezer, A Christmas Carol; Director and choreographer for World Premiere workshop of a new music-theatre-dance production titled Tree Story; Choreographer for professional productions of: Annie, Die Fledermaus, Grease, Hello Dolly, Man of La Mancha, Music Man, Oklahoma, Sound of Music, The King & I, The Wiz, Two for the Seesaw, and West Side Story.
Jacqui has enjoyed an extensive career as a professional dancer, concert producer, stage director, artistic director, choreographer, studio owner and educator. She has devoted her entire life to the field of dance. She feels that dance is therapeutic and brings joy to all who experience it. Dance is life.