Long’s School of Dance presently hosts over 20 faculty members. Members of Long’s faculty belong to such organizations as: Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Tennessee Association of Dance Masters, Dance Educators of America, International Tap Dance Association, and Southern Association of Dance Masters. Along with their extensive training, faculty members continually further their knowledge by attending workshops, seminars and conventions.
– President/ Technical Director
President of Jam-Jer Inc. and Long’s School of Dance, Jay is the Director of the Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C., Master Aerial Arts Engineer and Choreographer, and Technical Director. He began dancing at age 3, fencing at age 5, and Martial arts and boxing at age 10. He studied Adagio under the direction of his mother Marge Long, Ben Hassen, Joseph Levinoff, and Henry Danton. Jay retired from competitive fencing with an undefeated record, having studied under Jim Long (his father) and world class fencer Giorgio Santelli.
Jay received his Martial Arts Sifu rating in 1975 and became Master Sifu in 1985. Jay is certified by the National Qi Gong Association. He holds a Bachelors in Bio-Medical Communications from Western Kentucky University, and has done graduate level work at University of Wisconsin-Madison, Texas Tech, and Northern Illinois University.
Lee Ann Long
– Dance Director
Dance Director of Long’s School of Dance, Lee Ann began dancing at the age of 3 in Nashville, Tennessee. During her professional career she traveled and performed throughout Europe and the South with the Nashville Contemporary Ballet Company. Lee Ann also attended Western Kentucky University where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts. Lee Ann is certified as a dance educator by DEA and CNADM. Summer Dance Intensive, Kid’s Creative Dance Camp, and bringing Master of the Arts to the summer program are all a result of her passion for dance.
While staying in Ireland during the summer of 2013, Lee Ann, continued her Master Instructor level training with classes in Irish Dance. Lee Ann studied with Master Instructors Mick O’Reilly and Mary Beth Taylor. Mick is the 10 time All Ireland World Champ. Long’s School of irish Dance was invited by World Irish Dance Association to become one of the mentored schools here in the US.
– Vice President
Vice President of Long’s School of Dance, Jamie began his training in Martial Arts at the age of 2 and Fencing at 6. Jamie has over 30 years of training in Martial Arts and Fencing. Jamie is Director of the External Martial Arts Division of Long’s Combative Arts School. He taught Acrobatics for nearly 20 years and Martial Arts for 14 years. He is currently instructing classes in Junior and Senior Kung Fu. Jamie is also a member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C.
– Assistant Dance Director/ Corporate Compliance Director
Tiffany has been dancing with the Long’s family for 25 years and continues to study Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, and now Irish. Having been a member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, LLC. for 16 years, she enjoys studying acrobatic adagio under the direction of Jay Long and was able to travel and perform at Walt Disney World multiple times. Tiffany also loves the opportunity to train in Aerial Acrobatics on Silk, Lyra, and Spanish Web and has done so for 10 years.
This is Tiffany’s twelfth year instructing and she is thankful to be able to share her love of dance with so many wonderful children. She looks forward to teaching at Long’s Summer Dance Intensive and Kid’s Creative Dance Camps in the summer. Tiffany loves performing in Long’s shows as a dancer and aerialist.
– Corporate Safety & Securities Director/ Press Liaison
With over 20 years of dance experience, Tad is in his 12th year on Long’s faculty serving as both an instructor and Long’s Corporate Safety Director. Tad has trained under the direction of Marge Long, Jay and Lee Ann Long, Ron and Beverly Veenker, Bobby Ziegler, Henry Danton, Marcus Alford, Karen Prunzik, and Solvieg Santillano . He is also a member of several performing arts organizations, such as ITA, ITS, and NTE. This is Tad’s 13th year as a member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C. and has traveled with the team twice to Walt Disney World. He is currently an artistic consultant for Fairview High School, his almamater, where he has student-directed and choreographed several plays and musicals.
While not at the studio, you will find Tad around Erie as a REALTOR® for Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services helping families buy and sell Real Estate.
– Irish Dance Captain
Jamie has been dancing for the past twenty four years and is thrilled to be back in Erie with her husband and her Long’s family. She continues to take classes in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, and Irish. She has been teaching for the past ten years and currently teaches at the East Erie/ Harborcreek location. Jamie is also a fifteen year member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C. and has enjoyed performing with the team in Disney World. Jamie is currently Captain of the Aerial Arts Team and has been training on Aerial Silks, Lyra, and Spanish Web for the past nine years. Jamie has been taking classes in Irish Dance since the inception of Long’s School of Irish Dance and was honored to be named Irish Dance Captain. Long’s has also offered Jamie the opportunity to train with numerous master instructors including, Beverly and Ron Veenker, Marcus Alford, Annie Day, Bobby Ziegler, Henry Danton, Laura Witwer, Angela Jones, and Mick O’Reilly.
A 2014 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, Jamie obtained her Juris Doctorate and is currently a Litigation Associate at the MacDonald, Illig, Jones & Britton law firm here in Erie. Jamie is also an alum of Gannon University, graduating in 2011 with her Bachelors in Political Science and a Legal Studies Certificate.
Katie has been dancing at Long’s for the past eighteen years and continues to take classes. She is a member of the Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C. and had the privilege of performing in Disney World. She has also trained with master instructors such as Marcus Alford, Annie Day, Bobby Ziegler, Henry Danton, Beverly and Ron Veenker and Mick O’Reilly. In addition to teaching, Katie is a graduate of Penn State Behrend with a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing, as well as a minor in Management.
Karen has been dancing at Long’s since 1998. She currently takes classes in Tap, Acrobatics, Ballet, Pointe, and Jazz. Karen has been a member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C. since 2005 and is very excited to have joined the Aerial Arts team in 2011. In addition to performing Karen has enjoyed teaching for the past four years. For the past four summers she has attended master classes with Bobby Zeigler, Henry Danton, Annie Day, Marcus Alford, Beverly and Ron Veenker and Laura Witwer.
A 2011 graduate of Collegiate Academy, Karen is currently attending Gannon University. She is studying to become a middle school math and science teacher. Karen is excited to continue her passion of teaching into her future.
Ellie has been dancing at Long’s for sixteen years, continuing to study Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Acrobatics, Modern and Hip Hop. This is also her ninth year as a member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C.. Ellie has participated in the summer classes with Master instructors Henry Danton and Ron and Beverly Veenker for 7 years. Ellie is excited to have completed her fourth year of instructing at Long’s.
In addition to training and teaching at Long’s, Ellie is also a senior at Gannon University where she majors in Middle Level Reading/Language Arts and Special Education. She also volunteers with the Erie County Special Olympics program, Down Syndrome Support Group of Erie, and Barber National Institute. Ellie hopes to move on and receive a Master’s Degree in Special Education from Gannon University at Berkeley and become Special Education teacher. Ellie also has plans to begin a dance program for children with special needs here at Long’s in the near future.
Sarah has been dancing for 13 years and continues to study Ballet and Pointe with previous experience in Tap, Jazz, and Hip-Hop. She has trained under the direction of Beverly and Ronald Veenker and still is studying under the direction of Ms. Lee Ann Long. This is Sarah’s first year teaching and she is grateful for this opportunity. “I enjoy sharing my love for dance with my students and cannot wait to teach more kids in the years to come.”
With 50 years of dance education, Lana started dance classes at the age of three at Erie Dance Academy. She began training at Long’s in high school where she studied Jazz, Ballet, and Tap. Lana is certified by Dance Educators of America, having studied from Charles Kelley, Gus Giordano, Beverly Veenker, and Skip Randall, and has been fortunate to take master classes from Beverly Veenker. She has choreographed for local high schools and theatre companies with shows including “Music Man” and “Sugar”. She has also performed in local theatre productions including, “Hair”, “Chicago”, “Cabaret”, “Sugar”, “Of Thee I Sing”, “Prisoner of Second Avenue”, and “Bad Girls 1 & 2”.
Lana has also had the opportunity to study Ballroom and perform in local Ballroom Showcases. Along with performing in the showcases, she also had the opportunity to choreograph a Broadway routine for the Showcase. Lana has performed and choreographed in 2014, 2015 and 2016 for the North East Community Players.
Lana retired in 2011 and has pursued other areas of interest as a Silpada Designs Jewelry Representative. Lana has developed and teaches a Latin Fusion & Body Barre Dance Fitness class for teens and adults at Long’s School of Dance, in addition to teaching her favorite Adult Jazz Class.
Rick has been in Combative Arts for over 30 years having studied Qi-gong, Kung-fu and Fencing. Rick has been the Chief Fencing Instructor for over 20 years. In addition, Rick has been a member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C. for over 30 years.
Joe has been studying Combative Arts for 39 years, and has been instructing for more than 20 years. In addition, Joe has been a member of Long’s Performing Arts Team, L.L.C. for over 30 years.
Mick has been dancing for the past 18 years, and now wants to be able to pass down what he has learned to the children of this generation. Mick finished up competing in July 2013 after winning his 10th All Ireland Championship. Mick recently completed his TCRG with World Irish Dance Association. He is looking forward to teaching Master classes here at Long’s during the summer. Mick is thrilled to be the Irish Dance director here at Long’s.
Tap great Bobby Ziegler holds a Masters degree from The Chicago National Association of Dance, and has studied in Canada and the United States. His training includes; character and modern dance, acrobatics, voice, pantomime, ballet, jazz and tap. Before opening his own school Mr. Ziegler trained dance teachers for 10 years through Dance Educators of America in New York City.
He went on to open his own dance school in 1968 after performing on stages in Korea, Canada and the United States. He has taught notables in the dance world that read like a who’s who list on the red carpet. Two of his former students Leroy Reams and Ula are currently performing on “The Producers” and Leroy has performed for many seasons in 42nd Street on Broadway.
Marucs R. Alford attended the University of Alabama where he earned a B.A. Degree in Dance and Business. He choreographed, taught, danced and toured with the legendary Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago for a decade. Mr. Alford has been on the faculty of every major dance organization including D.M.A., D.E.A., Internationale Tanz Wekstatt, Southeastern Regional Ballet Association, Boston Dance Teachers Club, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, and many others. Marcus’ high energy jazz classes have also inspired students at the Festival of the World in Hungary, The American College Dance Festival, The International Ballet Competition, Jackson, MS, Hubbard Street Dance Studio, Chicago and the North Carolina School of the Arts.
Marcus is the founder and artistic director of “JAZZ ON TAP” (the Metro Atlanta Jazz and Tap Dance Festival) and “BalletFest Atlanta.” In 1991, he authored Jazz Danceology, now a standard in the libraries of jazz dancers, teachers and universities everywhere. Marcus Alford has performed in and/or choreographed many award winning industrials and TV/video projects for clients including Kohler Corporation, Sprint, I.B.M., Milliken Carpets and N.F.L. Commissioners. His concert choreography can be seen on companies throughout the dance world.
Mr. Alford currently serves on the faculty of the Kennesaw State University Department of Dance. Along with his wife, Annie Day, Mr Alford serves as Owner/Artistic Director of Dancentre South, Inc. in metro Atlanta. They were the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters.
Professional aerialist Laura Witwer began her dangling career in New York City, training with nationally acclaimed trapeze artist Tanya Gagne. After many flips, twirls, and bruises on the static trapeze, Laura high-tailed it to Circus Arts and Acrobatics in California to study with instructors Vladimir Chvalbo (Cirque du Soleil), Tony Steele (circus veteran), and Karlene Griggs (Ringling). A little flying trapeze, a little trampoline, and a lot of hoop and rope later, she was strong enough to pursue her dream. In search of the ultimate in aerial silk training, Laura dug out her French dictionary and packed her bags for Montreal, home of the famous Cirque du Soleil. A full year of daily private coaching and grueling rehearsals yielded her dynamic solo on the aerial fabric, which has astounded audiences from Vegas to Buffalo with its phenomenal blend of beauty and acrobatics.
Having performed with Cirque le Masque, Sea World, Bindlestiff Family Circus, Circus Nexus, and countless others, she wondered if perhaps there was room for a partner. Angela Jones became Ms. Witwer’s partners and together the two joined forces and became Luminosity, performing everywhere from the Olympic Stadium in Greece, to Bangkok, to the Krystal Palace in Germany. They have also been interviewed on CNN radio and seen on the WB Morning News, as well as in Talent in Motion Magazine. But soon they realized that they had an eye for talent and began working with other amazing and versatile artists and formed ImaginAerial.
Annie Day holds a B.A. degree in Dance from Butler University, Indianapolis, Indiana. Among her teaching credits are private and public schools, universities, dance camps and arts schools across the US and Germany. Annie teaches for major dance organizations each year during D.M.A, D.E.A., Dance Olympus, Boston Dance Teachers Club, Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Southern Association of Dance Masters and others.
Her innovative and demanding classes have also challenged students at the North Carolina School of the Arts, Lexington School for the Deaf and Alabama School of Fine Arts. Along with her husband Marcus Alford, Day was awarded the Chicago National Association of Dance Masters “Lifetime Achievement Award” in 2003. Together, they produce “Jazz on Tap,” “BalletFest Atlanta,” “The Nutcraker of Cherokee County” and “Jazz on Tap on Tour” summer dance camps. As construction manager for JazzHand, LLC, Annie supervises dance studio design and construction projects in the Atlanta area and throughout the southeast.
Angela Jones was born in Germany and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. After gradu¬ating from Stanford University, she headed straight for New York to pursue a career in Dance. She has performed at such places as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, the Joyce Soho, Theater Artaud in San Francisco, and the Skirball Center of NYU.
After an ankle injury, Angela went to Berlin to train in aerial work. After she returned, she met her trapeze partner, Laura Witwer, and they started the company ImaginAerial. Soon the two were performing all over the world, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Bangkok, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Romania. They also toured the US everywhere from Hawaii to Washington DC. The two will be fea¬tured in the fall on NOVA, and Jones has been featured as a soloist on the Sundance channel as part of the Next Garde series.
A native of England, Mr. Danton is an internationally known dancer, choreographer, artistic director and teacher. He began his performing career with the International Ballet of London and then transferred to Sadler Wells Ballet, where he danced for three and a half years as First Soloist. During his more than twenty years association with Ballet Theatre, he has choreographed numerous ballets including GISELLE, SWAN LAKE. DON QUIXOTE, COPPELIA, LA BAYADERE, LA FILLE MAL GARDEE, CARMEN, LA ESMERALDA and FIREBIRD.
Mr. Danton served as Director of the Dance Educators of America Training Course for teachers for over 10 years, and freelances as a guest teacher and choreographer. Mr. Danton directed the annual Russian Ballet Seminar from 1991 to 1996. In 1998, Mr. Henry Danton was honored for his outstanding artistic contributions to Ballet Theatre of Scranton.
Ronald A. Veenker
Ron grew up in Sioux Falls, SD where he studied oboe, English horn and percussion. As a member of the American Federation of Musicians, he played in the pit orchestra for travel¬ing Broadway shows and with the Sioux Falls Municipal Band. At Bethel University, St. Paul, MN, he received a BA in music theory and composition. He has worked in choral music, solo voice instruction and solo bistro piano performance. Currently, he sings at St. wilson the Fisherman Episcopal Church in Shallotte, NC and performs regularly with the Brunswick Jazz Band on keyboard.
Bev has 35 years experience as director of the Western Kentucky University dance program. While there, she developed a four-year syllabus for preparing dancers for professional careers. Most of the dance majors from this program have been successful on Broadway, off- Broadway, in movies and on television.
Past students have been in (on Broadway) “Chorus Line”, “Merrily We Roll Along”, “Dream Girls”, “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas”, “Les Mis”, (in films) “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil”, “Two Weeks Notice”, and many others. Currently, her students are appearing on Broadway in “42nd Street”, “Cats”, “ Chicago”, “Wicked”, and in the film “Ghost Riders” and on the popular television series “ Smallville” (Lex Luther). Bev’s formative training was entirely through her mother, Margie Long.
Laurie Hitt began piano study at the age of five and was playing professionally by age ten. Laurie’s most influential teachers were Nancy Fischer in Erie, and Mayola Martin and Eve-Anne Wilkes at West Virginia University.
Laurie is the theatre and choral director at Fairview High School. Recent productions include Les Miserables, Into the Woods, Romeo and Juliet and The Odd Couple. She also instructs film studies and analysis of literature that has been adapted for the screen.
Laurie began playing for Long’s in 2002. Her responsibilities include both rehearsal and Dance Concert pianist as well as arranging the music for the orchestra.