Meet the Director
When Liz was 3, she saw the New York City's Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular staring the Rockette dancers. After the show she whispered to her mom, "someday I am going to dance on that stage." That spring she was enrolled in her first ballet class.
For 16 years, she studied under Leslie Updyke at Leslie School of Dance in Elmira, New York. She trained under multiple instructors throughout her years as well as attending workshops and intensives. Those included the Radio City Rockette Summer Intensive, The World Jazz Dance Conference and Rhee Gold’s Teaching Conference.
She attended Mercyhurst University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance & Communication. She had the honor of performing professionally with SoMar Dance and Erie Bayhawks Dance Team. Taught at two studios in Erie including Erie Dance Theater where she founded and directed their Competition Team.
Liz moved to New York City to pursue her dream of teaching and performing. During her time there she made multiple connections and taught for the Kinderdance® Franchise, Broadway Preforming Art Center, and Fun First. Specifically, her work with Kinderdance Manhattan gave her the opportunity to teach about 400 students each week. Teaching became her priority and gave her the opportunity to inspire hundreds of students during her time in NYC.
In spring of 2020, Covid was in full swing. At this point, she had to adapt her expectations of what the future held. She decided not to put her life on hold for "what could be" and instead pursued a life she could control. Over the next 6 months she continued to teach on zoom while taking the necessary steps to relocate to Colorado to started a different life.
In September of 2020, she started working for Lululemon. Over the last 3 years she has moved up in the company to her current position of Assistant Manager of Operations. Throughout her time at Lululemon, she has been able to develop her skills of strategic planning, operations and management which has made her an exceptional leader. All these qualities are translated into how she runs LSoD's Summer Dance Camp and her Artists in Movement Intensives.
Fun Facts about Miss Liz ...
She attended the 1st dance camp in 2006, and has never missed one. In 2013, she co-directed the camp with Leslie Updyke and in 2014, took over the program. Her love of dance, music, broadway, Disney and movies all come together as she creates one-of-a-kind camp themes each summer.
Congratulations Miss Liz on celebration your 10th year as director!
Since the day I can remember, I have loved the arts and because of that I am a better person. All forms of art enrich and empower us to be and experience more. For 40 years, I have worked in the corporate and non-profit worlds and supporting the arts has been there every step of the way.
After graduating from Elmira College (Class of 84), Lee pursued a career in management, marketing and later added hospitality. In the beginning my co-workers were Big Bird, Real Estate Executives, and International Water Skiers. In 1993, Bill & I moved back to Elmira and our daughter was born the next year. My co-workers are now peers and children from our community and the dance world.
I volunteered on Arnot Art Museum committees, joined the League of Greater Elmira/Corning, where I help create Elmira’s Parent/Child Resources Center. I was a pre-k teacher at Happy House Nursery School, the Parent Representative at Hendy Elementary & Ernie Davis Middle Schools (8 years), Office Manager at Leslie School of Dance, EFA Parent Partner (4 years), Co-Founder/President/Ambassador of New Heights Dance Theater and Bar Manager at the Clemens Centers.
Now, I spend my time managing The Dance Shoppe (Elmira Heights, New York) , LSoD’s Summer Watson Homestead Dance Camp & Artists in Movement Workshops, running Oma's Treasurers (my craft business) and best of all writing/rewriting my children’s stories. My goal is to share my art of writing with all of you some day.
Assistant Camp Director
Miss Leanne has been dancing since age three, studying and dancing competitively at studios in Central New York. She is a graduate of Ithaca College where she received a B.S. in Exercise Science and a Minor in Dance.
During college, Miss Leanne was a member of the Ithaca College Dance Team which competed in the Universal Dance Association’s National Collegiate Dance Championships, televised on ESPN, and claimed a spot in the top 20 nationally ranked dance teams. Her main focus was to study the involvement and importance of nutritional counseling, cardiovascular exercise, and weight training in dancers which lead her to receive a certification as a Personal Trainer & Nutritional Specialist.
Miss Leanne holds a certification in Progressing Ballet Technique, allowing dancers a deeper knowledge in both ballet and contemporary technique and execution.
In the past, Miss Leanne taught and choreographed for the Princess Mhoon Dance Institute in Washington, DC and was the owner of LA Dance Academy in Edmeston, NY for 9 years before moving locally with her husband and daughters.
Miss Leanne is an instructor at the Leslie School of Dance studios and Artistic Director for New Heights Dance Theater's Spring Production, Legends.
Owner, Leslie School of Dance
Miss Leslie is the owner, director, and dance instructor of Leslie School of Dance and Artistic Director/Choreographer of the New Heights Dance Theater.
Leslie studied with Madame Halina in Elmira beginning at the age of three. Leslie opened Leslie School of Dance in Elmira in September of 1991, and the Watkins Glen Studio in September of 2004. She attended Mercyhurst College and the State University of New York – Purchase, majoring in ballet with a concentration in teaching and has a business administration degree from Corning Community College.
Leslie has performed with the Elmira Corning Ballet Company, the Twin Tiers Ballet Theater and with the Mercyhurst and Purchase Dance Corps. She was involved with many professional productions performing multiple lead roles. She has choreographed the Nutcracker in Motion and Walking on the Horizon. Leslie prides herself on offering a very artistic approach to teaching ballet.
Leslie, and her husband, Greg, have three children and reside in Watkins Glen.
Leslie can be reached at either of the Leslie School of Dance locations in Elmira Heights and Watkins Glen.
Shannon is from Watkins Glen, New York and has always had a very deep passion for dance. She started her training at the age of 3 at the Leslie School of Dance studios and is a ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, contemporary and pointe dancer. Shannon did not stop there, she joined the LSoD Studio & Summer Dance Camp helper/teacher apprentice programs and excelled in both.
Shannon was a competitive dancer and a member of New Heights Dance Theater (Elmira, NY). She achieve numerous awards for her grace and beauty. She loved preforming in the Nutcracker in Motion and Legend productions for 12 years.
Shannon is in her 3rd year at SUNY Geneseo. She is majoring in English Adolescence Education, minoring in Dance and part of the Edgar Fellows Honors program. This summer she will be teaching classes at the Leslie School of Dance studios and is thrilled to be back this summer.
2024 Camp Volunteers
Heather Blitz, Assistant Camp Manager
Karen Erickson, Full Time Chaperone
Heather Smith, Full Time Chaperone
Serafina Tague, Full Time Chaperone
If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us.
Camp Counselors & Instructors
We are seeking energetic, accountable individuals that wish to help with our campers.
You must be 14 years old & older and have attended LSoD Summer Dance Camp at least 3 years to apply to the counselor program. High school graduates can also apply to be a camp instructor.
2024 Counselor, Instructors & Staff Training Day - Tuesday, July 16, 2024.
Program & training day details, application and deadlines will be posted by March 1, 2024.