Teachers

Sheila

Sheila Dollas, RDE: Founder & Director

In 1998, Sheila Dollas founded Moving Miracles' therapeutic dance/movement program for individuals with developmental, physical, and intellectual disabilities.
 
The curriculum supports principles of authentic movement, synchronously preserving and studying traditional styles of dance. For almost two decades, accessibility and advocacy for dance and disabilities has been our mission.
 
Partnership with undergraduate and graduate interdisciplinary programs have enriched our collective dance/movement experience.
 
Sheila holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology/Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo with graduate studies in Dance Education.
 
She has been a Registered Dance Educator with the National Dance Educators Organization since 2009. For more than a decade, Sheila has served as an Artist in Residence, working at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Laura

Laura Pietak: Program Manager

Laura began volunteering with us in 2006 and was hired as a teacher in 2011. She began dancing at the age of three and has studied a variety of dance styles. She graduated from Canisius College with a degree in History and Social Studies Education in 2011. In 2013 she completed her graduate work at Canisius College and received her Master of Science in Special Education. While completing her graduate work she spent a year interning with the Institute of Autism Research teaching social skills to children ages 8-12.  She has experience in schools throughout the Western New York area in grades 7-12. Throughout her time in these schools she has been exposed to both traditional and adaptive teaching approaches which she has used to blend with our curriculum, helping to develop creativity throughout the studio.

Elise Cruce: Dance Instructor

Elise began volunteering at Moving Miracles in 2008 and became a teacher in 2013. She began dancing at the age of 6 at Paulette’s School of Dance and later joined Barb Denny’s. She has taken jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, and modern throughout her dancing career. Elise was also a Girl Scout Leader from 2007-2012. She graduated in 2008 from Canisius College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Spanish. While at Canisius she performed with the school’s dance team, the Dance Griffs. She then received her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from D’Youville College in 2012. She currently works as a Physician Assistant in Orthopedics.

 

Jennifer Yuen: Dance Instructor

Jennifer began her time at Moving Miracles in the fall of 2012 as an intern while attending D'Youville College. She joined the Moving Miracles teaching staff in the summer of 2013 after graduating from D'Youville with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She began dancing in 1994 at The Dancing Pointe. Through the many years she has been dancing she has taken tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical/modern, hip hop, and acrobatics. Jennifer has a passion for all forms of art (visual, performing, literary) and believes they are a powerful outlet for creativity and self-expression.

 

 

Lindsay Pajak: Dance Instructor

Lindsay began at Moving Miracles in January 2010 as a volunteer, and was added to the teaching staff in fall of that year.  Lindsay began her dance instruction in 1990 with Ms. Pat LaBelle at the South Buffalo Dance Depot, where she studied tap and jazz.  Lindsay graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health and Human Services, with a concentration in Community Mental Health.  She then continued her studies at the University at Buffalo, earning her Master of Social Work degree.  Lindsay is passionate about working with people with special needs, and is comfortable and has experience in a wide range of settings, including the OPWDD Care at Home Program, the West Seneca Central School District, the Epilepsy Association of Western New York, and the Early Intervention program.  She is currently employed as a Social Worker (LMSW) on the Residential Supports Team with the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.

Macey Doe: Dance Instructor

Macey began dancing at the age of 5 at Miss Debbie's Dance. She then studied until college at Sandy Stramonine School of Dance where she learned Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical and Pointe. Macey had always dreamed to become a dance teacher and choreographer. She has performed in musicals such as The Wiz, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Grease, Cats and Me and My Girl and participated in band, chorus and show choir throughout high school. In 2011, she received and Associates degree in Music through Finger Lakes Community College with a major in Voice. She graduated through the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Erie Community College in 2014. Macey currently works as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant in a school-based setting. Macey has taught at METTS Dance since 2015. She has volunteered with Moving Miracles since 2013 and is excited to now be part of the Moving Miracles' teaching staff.

Liz Wegner: Dance Instructor

Originally from Orchard Park, Liz was privileged to be a dance student at The Hoffman School of Dance and then Dance Spectrum where she is currently part of their dance faculty.  She received her Bachelor's Degree from SUNY Potsdam in Employment Relations. Liz spent three years in Florida after graduating where she worked in the Broward County Courthouse in the Probate and Mental Health/Guardianship Division. Back in the Buffalo area for six years now, she has completed her Master's Degree in Mental Health Counseling at Canisius College.  Liz is excited to be the newest member of our Moving Miracles family.

 

Chuck Calvello: Dance Instructor

Chuck began studying dance at the age of 12 at The Dance Shop in Niagara Falls, NY. His high school and early college years were dedicated to perfecting a craft that encompassed acting, singing, and dancing. As a youth, Chuck was a member of Niagara Experience Players and had his first professional experience with American Entertainment Productions. He began majoring in Theatre from Niagara University before being accepted into Boston Conservatory for Musical Theatre & Dance. Regional credits include Stage Door Players (Pippin), Musicalfare (Pageant), & Artpark & Co (Fiddler on the Roof; West Side Story). Chuck is a former member of SIDEWAYS Contemporary Dance Company in Atlanta, GA. He holds a Business degree with a concentration in Marketing from Buffalo State College. He is thrilled to be joining Moving Miracles in his first year as a Dance Instructor!

 

Emelie Obrachta: Fitness Instructor

Emelie began working with the Adaptive Fitness Program at Moving Miracles in August 2016. She is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from SUNY Fredonia in 2013. In 2015, she graduated from Hilbert College with a Master's Degree in Public Administration: Health Administration. Emelie currently trains clients out of her private studio, and finds balance in life through strength training and yoga.

 

 

 

Diane DeJoseph: Administrative Assistant/Development 

Diane has been behind the scenes at Moving Miracles for years, with many of her children volunteering as Dance Partners for over 10 years.  Diane has been a childcare provider, for children of all ages and abilities for 20+ years.  Her love of dance began at an early age as she studied under Matthew Clark at the Clarke Academy of Performing Arts, performing many different styles of dance. She has also been involved in many roles of Arts in Education within our schools, covering all mediums of the Arts.  Most recently she was the Arts Specialist for Western Region PTA and New York State PTA, sat on the Education Committee for the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as ran an all inclusive arts competition for all of Western New York PTAs.  Diane is thrilled to be among the Moving Miracles family!

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