Faculty - Casali School of Dance

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Anna Marie Casali  began dancing at the age of 4; she received her basic training from Rita Willoughby, a former New York City ballerina.  Anna knew early on that she wanted to dedicate her life to dance education; in 1979, with the help of her family, especially her mom (Angela Casali), she opened Casali School of Dance.  Anna caught the competition bug in 1991 when her dance “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” won the studio’s first national title at a DanceAmerica national competition.  The studio’s winning ways continued, and over the years her dances received many more national titles and special awards, including the Teacher’s Choice Award for “Tango Seduction” in 2011.  In addition to teaching at her studio, Anna has taught master classes and helped other studios develop their tap, musical theater and competition programs. She has choreographed many local musicals, worked with marching bands and choirs. Anna developed and taught for the Grosse Pointe continuing education program, she taught hip hop during the lunchtime enrichment program for the Grosse Pointe PTA, and for 9 years she taught modern movement to the 8th grade girls at the University Liggett Middle School. Anna’s students are teaching all over the country, many have studied with Alvin Ailey, American Ballet Theater, Gus Giordano, and The Rockettes, some have even worked for Disney, Kings Dominion, and Busch Gardens.  Anna believes that in order to give her students the best dance experience she must continue her own education. Her studio has always been a place that welcomes all types of dancers, from recreational to pre-professional.  She wants everyone to feel like they are a special part of the Casali Dance Family. As she has said so many times, “Once a Casali Dancer, Always a Casali Dancer”.
Patrice Iannace has been a member of the Casali teaching staff for over 30 years. Before coming to Casali, she performed in many community and dinner-theatre musical productions, where she received training from the amazing Dennis East and David Allen.  After joining the Casali dance family, Patrice became a competitor and for many years was part of an award winning national competition team. Her choreography has awarded her many Dance America regional and national titles.  During the 2015 Dance America National Finals, her senior production musical theatre dance, “Godspell” received the award for Best Presentation. She was also the recipient of the Richard DiSarno Directors Award for her large group jazz dance, “Trommeltanz”. For the past 18 years, Patrice has choreographed for and is a proud supporter of the Casali Holiday Dancers.  For the past 5 years she has been the artistic director and teacher of the 8-week summer dance program at Grosse Pointe Farms’ Pier Park.  Alongside Anna Marie Casali, Patrice co-choreographed a dance to "America" from West Side Story for the 50th anniversary celebration at the Redford Theatre; Miss Rita Moreno herself attended the event. Patrice's goals for her students are to help them grow as dancers while creating a fun and enjoyable learning experience.
Melissa Maisano became part of the Casali Dance family in 1985; she was 5 years old.  In 1998 she began assistant teaching and in 2002 she became a full-fledged teacher at Casali School of Dance, where she teaches ballet, tap, jazz, pointe and lyrical. Growing up, Melissa was a proud member of The Casali Holiday Dancers, performing at The Redford Theater, Toys for Tots, and multiple nursing homes throughout the Metro Detroit Area.  Over the years, she competed in numerous regional and national dance competitions and attended various dance workshops.  In July of 2000 Melissa performed the tap dance “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup” at the Galaxy Theater in Disney World.  While in New York in 2001 she took classes at Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey.  During the intermission of The Redford Theater’s “West Side Story” showing in September of 2014 Melissa met and participated in a performance of “America” for Rita Moreno.  Throughout the past few years, Melissa has taken guest classes from several Broadway Connection teachers who performed in “Billy Elliott”, “Rock of Ages”, “American Idiot”, “Motown” and many more. In 2013 her choreography and dancers won a 2nd place national title in the senior small group innovative contemporary pointe category, and in 2015 won a 1st place national title in the senior small group classical pointe category.  The 2015 recital was Melissa’s 30th consecutive recital at Casali School of Dance; she intends to be around for many more.
Carrie Anne Kowalski has been with Casali School of Dance since 1985. Growing up, she was a member of the Kaleidoscope Dance Company and the Casali Holiday Dancers. She was also on the competition team where she won numerous regional and national titles. Over the years, Carrie took classes and participated in conventions at Alvin Ailey, Broadway Dance Center, Dance Olympus, L.A. Dance Force and Western Michigan University. In 2000, one of her competition dances, “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup”, was selected to perform at Disney World’s Galaxy Theater. In addition to her career at Casali, Carrie has consulted on and choreographed several high school musicals. In 2002 she was named Miss St. Clair Shores and went on to compete at the 2003 Miss Michigan (America) pageant. To this day Carrie continues to be actively involved with The Miss SCS Scholarship Program as a board member and producer. In 2003 she left “home” and traveled the country dancing professionally with Busch Gardens (Tampa Bay), Universal Studios (Orlando), Asher Dance Eclectic and VEE Corporation/Sesame Street Live! She did this for three years before returning to St. Clair Shores where she now resides with her husband, Mark, and their three beautiful children, Thomas, Amelia and Estele. Carrie is a stay at home mom, an independent consultant for Rodan + Fields and is thrilled to be teaching at Casali School of Dance.
Amanda Budowick has been a Casali dancer for over twenty years.  During her time at Casali she has participated in all forms of dance from pointe to modern.  She was part of the Casali Competition Team as well as the Casali Holiday Dancers.  Throughout all four years of high school, Amanda was a member of the Sterling Heights High School Dance Team, The Stallionettes.  After graduation, she coached the dance team for three more years.  At the same time she was given the opportunity to become the new hip hop teacher at Casali, a roll she has maintained for the past nine years.  Amanda's goal is to give children the opportunity to express themselves so they can become well-rounded dancers.
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