Meet the Instructors
A special thank you to the individuals listed below who have so graciously volunteered their time to the committee and the dancers through this adventure. Without your support and guidance, we would not be able to see our dream come to light!
My name is Ashley Carlson. I started dancing at age 3 with ballet and tap. I danced ballet until I was a teenager. A few years later after a long hiatus from dancing, I started taking to ballroom classes, and fell in love. I relocated to Sault Sainte Marie 6 years ago for my husbands job with the government. I have graduated from LSSU with my bachelors in marketing. Currently, I am a stay at home mom to two rambunctious toddlers, Bailey (5) and Erik (3).
Ashley is the founder & owner of Allure Dance Company, which is currently in its eighth season and is the largest dance studio in the area. She is a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing (BATD), having received her Associate certification in Ballet and Jazz. She is a graduate of the Sherry Walsh Academy of Dance Arts and is technically trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Lyrical, and Acro.
Ashley has been a part of Hospice’s local DWTS event since its creation, serving as a judge the first year, and an instructor the following years, mentoring 17 couples all together. She appreciates the friendships that are gained through working with her “stars”, and simply loves sharing her passion for dance. She applauds all of the dancers for their hard work, time commitment to such a worthy cause, and their bravery to perform in front of so many people with little to no experience. It’s a very rewarding and humbling event to be a part of.
Ashley Burger has been teaching dance in Michigan for over 10 years. She has 20 years of professional training, and has competed with awards in Gold and Platinum placement. She has attended various trainings and camps across the state and currently continues her dance education through certificate programs around the country. Ashley Burger owns All Styles, All Occasions with Darryl Bowerman, where they teach dance and offer DJ Services in Sault Ste. Marie and Pickford to all ages and abilities. Ashley & Darryl have coached Dancing with the Stars couples since 2015, and provide dynamic dance routines for a wide variety of other community events.
Erika Laitinen-Odbert has been sharing her commitment to excellence in the dance arts for 14 years with the Academy of Performing Arts, of Sault Ste Marie, MI. With over 25 years of experience, Erika danced competitively, traveled internationally and within the United States competing, performing, and attending numerous workshops. Erika has undergone extensive B.A.T.D. training, focusing primarily in the study of ballet.
Erika loves to share her passion for dance with her students, her family, and her community. And she looks forward to continuing her adventure in sharing the art of dance for many years to come.
Kayla comes from a long history and an extensive background with performing. Kayla has participated in several dance competitions during her time, performed with the Sault High Pom Squad, as well as, performing and dancing in locations such as New York City, Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Puerto Rico. She performed with the LSSU Dance Company for several years, and has also since resided near Traverse City, MI. as a seasonal employee of Interlochen Center of the Arts, in which she hopes to return sometime in the future. Kayla is a fifth year instructor at the Academy of Performing Arts where she teaches Ballet, Lyrical, Cabaret, Pom-Pons, Jazz, Hip-Hop, Acro, and has also taught Water Ballet.
Collen Lavey and Joe Sbar
Colleen Lavey is a lifelong resident of Sault, Michigan and has been active producing and directing numerous shows with the Chippewa Theater Guild for the past fifteen years. She is currently the President andArtistic Director of the Guild. Recently Colleen has enjoyed taking on a new perofrmance challenge in learning ballroomdane. She and her partner, Frank Breen won the judges award for DWTS in 2016, while being coached by Joe Sbar. This past year she worked as an assistnat to Joe in LSSUʻs Intro to Ballroom Dance class. This will be Colleens first year as an insturctor for Hospiceʻs DWTS and along with Joe Sbar.
Joe is a graduate of Michigan State University, where he competed in collegiate and open ballroom dance competitions as a member of the MSU Ballroom Dance Team prior to moving to Sault Ste. Maire in 2011. He performed in the 2012 Hospice fo the EUP Dancing with the Stars event and has remained involved as a coach since that time. Joe taught adult ballroom dance classes in Sault Ste. Marie and on Mackinac Island privately for several years and has been teaching ballroom dance as an adjuct professor at LSSU since 2018.