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 jazz and tap during the 2021-2022 academic year.

Sarah Danylo, faculty

TRAINING: Sarah began dancing at 5 years old with a formal focus on ballet and a love for hip hop. She joined Addis Studios 2005-2009, with experience in Jazz, Contemporary, and Ballet where she had featured roles in The Nutcracker. She also completed 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 here at Ideal Dance.

TEACHING: Sarah has been teaching and demonstrating at Ideal Dance for the past 6 years.

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: She is the owner of a magical arts and craft shop, The Chosen Wand. #thechosenwand

She are so excited to have Miss Sarah teaching ballet and hip hop for the 2021-2022 season!

Elizabeth Henning, faculty

TRAINING: Elizabeth began dancing at 4 years old at Benvin Dance and Performing Arts Center and stayed with Ideal Dance through 2018. She then danced with Duquesne University Dance Theater for a year, before returning to Ideal for an additional two years. Throughout high school, Elizabeth had featured roles as a solo dancer in many of her high school musicals. She trained in ballet, pointe, jazz, contemporary, tap, and hip hop.

TEACHING: Elizabeth demonstrated at Ideal Dance for three years while in high school. During this time, she also choreographed multiple routines for her high school musicals. In her first years of college, Elizabeth was the advanced dance choreographer for Encore Show Choir which provided her the opportunity to teach complicated choreography to multiple levels.

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: Elizabeth wishes to help each dancer grow to their own personal best. Everyone starts out at a different level, but it doesn't matter how you compare to others. All that matters is that you grow as a dancer and come out of the year just a little bit more confident and with a little bit more skill than where you started. Dance should be a place to take a deep breath and have a break from the outside world, not an added stress.

OTHER CAREER: Elizabeth is a current pre veterinary student at Duquesne University majoring in biology with a minor in biochemistry. She hopes to attend veterinary school in 2024 and to eventually become a small animal surgeon. When not at school, Elizabeth works as a veterinary assistant at the PVSEC surgery department.

We are thrilled to have Elizabeth join us on faculty this year! She is teaching jazz for the 2021-2022 academic year.

Kaitlin Muczyk, 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 Kait has trained with masters of dance and theatre in Pittsburgh, New York City, New Hampshire, and London.


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

2017-current Ideal Dance

2019 Attack Theater

TEACHING PHILOSOPHY: Kait 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: Kait is a Full Time Mom to her beautiful daughter Sidney; and Full Time Wife to her brilliant wife Stephanie. In her free time Ms Kait can be found playing music with her Harry Potter themed band #MuggleSnuggle.

We are thrilled to have Ms Kait who will be teaching ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary in the 2021-2022 academic year.

Julia Wallace, assistant artistic director & faculty

TRAINING: Julia began dancing at 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 2006-2010 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 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, jazz, contemporary, and tap during the 2021-2022 academic year.