Ideal Dance

403 Butler Street

Pgh PA 15223

412-782-DNCE (3623)

Helping dancers grow in abilities, personal development, and well-being.

About the Faculty

Gretchen Shelesky, owner & artistic director

TRAINING: Gretchen began dancing at age 5. She studied with Kelly Patrick Swingle in Archbald, PA in tap, lyrical, ballet, and jazz from 1991-2001. She has taken with Pearlann Porter, Caitlin Gudat, Jeremy Czarniak, Debby Benvin, Angela Wheland, GIno Vaccaro, Kiki Lucas, Kim Clay, and others since moving to Pittsburgh in 2001.  Her promise is to continue to learn from others.

TEACHING: Since 1993, Gretchen had taught with the Kelly Patrick Studio of Dance, Benvin Dance and Performing Arts Center, and Point Park Community Classes before opening Ideal Dance in 2010.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: Her promise is to provide an open and supportive environment to help dancers grow in abilities, personal development, and well-being.

OTHER CAREER: Gretchen is a family doctor with the UPMC St Margaret Family Medicine Residency Program, though her most important job is as a mom of 2 beautiful girls.

She will be teaching ballet, pointe/prepointe, jazz, tap, contemporary, and special needs during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Sarah Danylo, faculty

TRAINING: Sarah began dancing at 5 years old, with a focus in her early years on ballet and pointe. She joined Addis Studios 2005-2009, with experience in Jazz, Contemporary, and Ballet and where she had featured roles in The Nutcracker. She also did a summer program at the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. In 2010, she joined the Ideal Dance family where she has been dancing ever since. She continues to build her skills at Millennium Dance Complex and with weekly East Coast and Lindy Hop Swing dance.

TEACHING: Sarah has been a demonstrator with Ideal Dance for the past three years, in hip hop and contemporary. She also enjoys teaching children's ballet workshops at various public libraries.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: Her Teaching Philosophy is laughter. She will help you get out of your comfort zone and push yourself to be your best by remembering to laugh, smile, and enjoy the experience along the way.

OTHER CAREER: When she's not dancing you can find Sarah at Citizens Bank where she is a Senior Banker. She's also a small business owner to a magical arts and craft shop, The Chosen Wand.

She are so excited to welcome Miss Sarah who will be teaching hip hop for the 2017-2018 season!

Kaitlin Mausser, faculty

TRAINING: Kaitlin Mausser began dancing at the age of 3 at Ballet Baroque in West View where her father was a dancer and teacher. She went to college at Penn State University where she studied Modern, Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Musical Theater Styles. In 2007 she graduated with concurrent B.A. degrees in Theatre and Integrative Arts/Dance. Since then Kaitlin has trained with masters of dance and theatre in Pittsburgh, New York City, New Hampshire, and London. This past summer she had the honor to attend a Broadway workshop led by: Thayne Jasperson (Hamilton, Matilda, Newsies, So You Think You Can Dance),Van Hughs (American Idiot, Spring Awakening, 9- 5), Jeanna De Waal (Kinky Boots, Wicked, Carrie, American Idiot, Finding Neverland, Waitress), Jeremy Benton (42nd Street), and Isaac Alter (Frozen, The Great Comet of 1812, Waitress).

TEACHING: 2007 Penn State University:  Beg. Jazz & Beg. Modern
2008-2009 Ballet Baroque:  Acting for Dancers & Musical Theater Styles
2008-2010 Boyd Community Center:  Dance Camp (Multiple Style Sampler), Acting Camp
2008-2013 Hill Dance Academy Theater: Dance Composition, Ballet, Modern, Anatomy for Dancers, Choreography, Tap, Crafts, Yoga
2009-2011 Accent Music & School for Theater: Musical Theater Styles, Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Acting, Musical Theater.

Directed (Once On This Island Jr, and Seussical Jr.)

2012-2013 Saltworks Theater Company – Acting
2012-2017 Northgate High School: Musical Choreographer
(Guys & Dolls, Beauty & The Beast, Oklahoma, Mary Poppins, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and James and the Giant Peach)

2015-2017 #NextLevel Studios: Ballet, Tap, Modern, Musical Theater

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: Kaitlin firmly believes that everyone can dance. She aims to inspire her students by igniting their passion for movement, nurturing their abilities, and promoting a strong sense self confidence.

OTHER CAREER: Kaitlin can be found working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh, Performing/ Choreographing with the Renaissance City Choir, and playing music with her Harry Potter themed band #MuggleSnuggle.

We are thrilled to welcome Miss Kaitlin who will be teaching ballet, jazz, and tap in the 2017-18 academic year.

Caitlin Schaefer, faculty

TRAINING: Caitlin Schaefer started dancing in 1991 at the age of three with the Benvin Dance and Performing Arts Center and with the Pittsburgh Community Ballet Company from 1998-2005. She explored ballet, pointe, tap, and jazz. While there, she performed numerous solos during the annual Christmas Nutcracker performances and spring recitals. She also trained under Jen Vrabel at the North Pittsburgh Dance Academy in Valencia, PA for one year. In high school, Caitlin competed with the Shaler Area Dance Team, which went undefeated in competition during the years she was on the team. In 2006, she joined the Washington and Jefferson College Dance Team which also went undefeated in regional competitions, and she was co-captain during her senior year. Also in college, Caitlin performed at halftime games with the Pittsburgh Riverettes professional dance team, who supported the Pittsburgh River Rats, in Rostraver, PA.

TEACHING: Caitlin has been teaching ballet, pointe and jazz at Ideal Dance since it opened in Sept 2010.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: Her promise is to foster an environment where creativity flourishes and passion thrives.

OTHER CAREER: Caitlin graduated from Washington and Jefferson College in May 2010 with a degree in Biology and a concentration in Philosophy. She received her masters of pulbic health from the University of Pittsburgh in 2016. She is currently conducting research with pediatric nephrology.

We are so lucky to have Miss Caitlin on our faculty! She will be teaching ballet, jazz, and pointe in the 2017-18 academic year.

Julia Wallace, faculty

TRAINING: Julia began dancing with various local studios at the age of three. She trained with the Benvin Dance and Performing Arts Center from 2002-2010. She danced as a member of the Pittsburgh Community Ballet Company from 2007-2010 and continued her training as a company dancer with Ideal Dance when it opened in September 2010 until June 2012. In college, she attended tap classes led by Barry Blumenfeld and continued to perform with Ideal Dance.

TEACHING: Julia demonstrated at Ideal Dance from Sept 2010 to June 2012, and has been teaching all genres at Ideal Dance since 2016.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: Her promise is to promote a love, appreciation, and passion for dance in each of her students by enhancing individual knowledge of dance, technical skills, and creativity of movement.

OTHER CAREER: Julia graduated from New York University in May 2016 with degrees in Psychology and Architecture/Urban Design Studies. She is currently works for the University of Pittsburgh as a research specialist at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and hopes to return to school for a Masters in Neuropsychology.

We're so happy to have Miss Julia on faculty! She will be teaching ballet, pointe/prepointe, jazz, contemporary, hip hop and tap during the 2017-18 academic year.

Matthew Zagorski, faculty

TRAINING: Matthew began dancing in middle school after he was encouraged by his sister to try it out. His first experience with dance was in an all-boys tap class. He performed “Putting on the Ritz” in his debut recital. Soon after, he expanded his repertoire and enrolled in jazz, ballet, and contemporary classes. In high school, he began dancing competitively and traveled around the country taking classes and performing.

TEACHING: Matthew has been teaching jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and ballet at Ideal Dance since 2011.

TEACHING PHOLOSOPHY: Matthew would like to help each dancer reach their potential by focusing on both technique and overall confidence. His goal is to ensure that all individuals continue to experience growth with every class they take.

OTHER CAREER: Matthew attended Duquesne University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 2013. He then went on to graduate school, earning his JD from Duquesne University’s School of Law in 2016. 

We're excited to welcome back Mr Matthew who will be teaching jazz in the 2017-18 season.