director, Instructors & Staff

Maria Huber-Mitchelson


Mrs. Maria has danced since the age of two. She danced professionally nationwide, touring the Country with Sesame Street Live International Tour "Let's Be Friends". Maria enjoyed costume work so much she went on to portray Angelica from the Rugrats. Maria was invited to dance for Disney in Japan and has appeared on "Entertainment Tonight" dancing for well-known actors and actresses and their families. She's danced, modeled, and narrated for the North American International Auto Shows, danced and sung in Off-Broadway Musicals, danced for cable music videos, and has instructed Master dance classes at Oakland University, Wayne State, and Macomb Community College. Maria is a former member of the Macomb Ballet Company. She danced with MBC in such classic romantic works as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Les Sylphides. Maria has choreographed for award winning dance companies, dance teams, Flash Mobs, Wedding Party Dances, Bride & Groom dances, Hair Shows and more! She is sure to get any event jumping with her choreography! Ms. Huber has studied dance throughout the country, primarily in New York and L.A. In the 90's, Ms. Maria made the move to North Hollywood, CA to continue her studies in dance. She trained under the intense instruction of Joe Tremaine and associates at the studio, formerly named, Tremaine Dance Center. Maria danced with top dance teachers /choreographers in the field. Maria presently sits on the General Board of the Cecchetti Council of America. She has studied Cecchetti levels I-VII, and has passed student and teacher exams levels I-V. Maria has had numerous students pass cecchetti ballet exams with honors. Many of Maria's students have danced with professional ballet companies in performances such as the "Nutcracker" and" La Bayadere". You may have seen Maria in the commercial for World Gym & Fitness Center or Sesame Street Lives' commercial as Roxy Marie or Prairie Dawn. Maria has instructed dance for over 30 years and is great with children! As a former competitive bodybuilder, she is also very fitness orientated. Maria has choreographed and won multiple top overall and special dance awards, including "Most Entertaining" dance consecutively year after year! She has been awarded “Best Choreography” for many of her dance Pieces. Ms. Huber has also judged for many dance competitions regionally and nationally. In June 2007, Ms. Maria was awarded “Top Teacher” at Kids Artistic Revue National Dance Competition. Maria directed RPDA dancers and teachers in the televised “Feature Act” for the Detroit Thanksgiving Day Parade. RPDA has been awarded National Top Production, National Top Studio, and has had numerous 1st overall dances year after year. Maria's studio was awarded Grand National Champs in 2017, 2X Grand National Champions in 2019, and multiple First Overall National Champions in 2022! Her choreography has been displayed at multiple local Motor City Movement dance shows, MC3, Macys Thanksgiving Day Parades, Rochester Christmas Parades, local Fairs, Eastside Derby Events, Detroit Dance Festivals, Shores Mortgage Events, and AT&T Events. RPDA was voted Best Dance Studio on Detroit's WDIV channel 4 "Vote 4 The Best" in 2014 and again in 2020!  RPDA was the 2022 Best of the Best Utica Award recipient in the category of Dance Instruction.  Also, in 2022 Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy became the home to the "Magic of Christmas" Fox Theatre Nutcracker. Maria became the youth Director of the Nutcracker "Magic of Christmas" Detroit. This year RPDA was awarded 2023 National Elite Top Studio and 2023 Elite Grand National Champion Dance! RPDA's Elite level company had the honor of being awarded with a near perfect score receiving a beautiful glass trophy. Ms. Huber-Mitchelson continues her studies today to remain a creditable dance teacher and studio owner.

Shawn Mitchelson


Mr. Shawn is our friendly office manager. He is always willing to help out in any way that he can. Aside from working at, and managing RPDA, Mr. Shawn works a full-time job as a Product Specialist. He is also an amazing prop dad! For the answers to your many questions, you may see Mr. Shawn. If he doesn't have the answer, he will be sure to find it!

Dr. Jennifer Tillinger

Dr. Jennifer began dancing at the age of four and training with Ann Parsley at the age of eleven. Dr. Tillinger was one of the original members of the Macomb Ballet Company and has performed the role of Cinderella. Her passion to dance drove her to continue her dance education at the University of Michigan where she received a BFA in Dance. Dr. Tillinger has danced and choreographed professionally throughout the Metro-Detroit area and has toured with the International Auto Show. Dr. Tillinger has been teaching dance since 1988 and is a certified instructor of the Cecchetti Method of Ballet. She holds certificates for teachers grades I – VI and has been preparing and presenting students and teachers for ballet since 1993. Dr. Tillinger also has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from Oakland University, where she is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Chemistry.

Miss Gina Tillinger

Miss Gina has been dancing since the age of three and was a former Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy student and member of the award-winning company. Miss Gina has trained in styles including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. Because of the passion Miss Gina has for teaching, she decided to pursue a career in education. Miss Gina recently graduated from Oakland University with honors. She has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education and currently holds a K-8 Teaching Certification for the State of Michigan. She plans to work at a school district in the metro-Detroit area and will also continue her education to pursue a Master of Education Degree in Special Education with concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Miss Gina is looking forward to this upcoming year and teaching the next generation of dancers the same passion she has for the art.

Ryann Coakley

 Miss Ryann is a former Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy student. She danced at Rhythm Pointe since age 7.  She was a member of RPDA's Performing/Competitive Company.  Ryann competed for 10 years until she graduated from Eisenhower High School. Ryann is trained in ballet, lyrical, jazz, hip hop, and tap. Her favorite styles of dance are lyrical and hip hop.  Ryann was also a member of the Eisenhower dance team program throughout high school. She was on IKE's US National dance team in 2018. She also danced as a member of the United dance crew for the Jimmy Johns Field for 2 years and trained to perform at games.  Ryann currently attends college at Oakland University and is studying physical therapy. Ryann is so excited to be back at her second home (RPDA) doing what she loves to do most (dance)!  She's excited to see what the future holds! 

Cody Yerkovich

  Cody Yerkovich is a former Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy Company Member and Student. He began dancing at the age of 7 and became a member of the competition team at age 8. Cody competed for 10 years until he graduated from Chippewa Valley High School with Honors. Cody is trained in Hip Hop, Breakdance and Tap. Cody has won many achievements throughout his dance career including the title of Mr. Junior KAR Dance twice, Mr. Junior Showbiz and Mr. Platinum Dance. In addition to being on staff at RPDA, Cody is also a Certified Personal Trainer. You can sign up at RPDA for private strength training lessons with him. Cody enjoys being part of the RPDA staff which has been his second home growing up. He is always ready to inspire dancers and help them grow and love the art of dance as much as he does.   

Lauren Chopski 

Lauren began her training with Lorraine Peltonen and at Young People’s Ballet Theatre. After attending Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp twice dancing under the direction of Jefferson Baum with two invitations to dance with the International Ballet Ensemble in Europe, she studied dance at the collegiate level at Oakland University, Western Michigan University, and the University of Michigan. She is an active member with IADMS (International Association of Dance Medicine & Science) and NDEO (National Dance Education Organization). Lauren holds an Advanced level certification with the Nan Giordano Certification Program® for jazz technique and a Progressing Ballet Technique (L3) certification. She also holds her Cecchetti Council of America teacher certification in Grade I, preparing for the Grade II exam. Lauren is excited to share her expertise in dance with all students at RPDA!

Brianna Bedsole

Brianna Bedsole started dancing at a young age at a local Michigan studio. Growing up she participated in an award-winning dance company that traveled around the country for competitions and performances. Brianna continued her education at Hope College where she earned a BA in Dance Performance/Choreography and Communication. While at Hope she was exposed to many great teachers through classes, as a member of Hope's jazz and tap company iDt, and while working with her peers for student concerts. As a member of iDt, Brianna was lucky enough to perform with Chicago Tap Theatre in their annual Tidings of Tap Concert. Since graduating from Hope she has taught at several studios around the Metro Detroit area and served as a rehearsal teacher for the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. Brianna is excited to pass on her knowledge to the next generation of dancers. 

Alea Huber

Alea is no stranger to the dance world. She started lessons at RPDA at a very young age and has recently renewed her love for the art! Alea is trained in ballet, lyrical, jazz, tap, hip-hop, gymnastics, musical theatre, and more. She has passed Cecchetti Grade's I & II and has trained up to Gd V level. Alea danced on her high school dance team for two years and earned two National UDA Champion coats (one for Jazz and one for Hip-Hop). Last year she had the amazing opportunity to train under the direction of Emily Greenwell and associates in New York City. Alea walked away from the intensive with so much knowledge and a new, blossomed love for dance! Last year Alea had the honor of becoming the First Overall National Teen Soloist winner and this year she was awarded National Grand Champion with RPDA elite company team and Elite Third Overall National Senior Soloist winner. She is beyond grateful for her opportunities and is excited to continue to share her skills with all RPDA dancers! 

Mark McCleese

Mark spent several years training in dance through high school and college. He graduated from Oakland University with a Major in Musical Theatre Performance and a Minor in Dance. Mark moved to California and has appeared in several professional musicals including Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding, Fiddler on the Roof, and has appeared in several pilots, and movies. During his time in California, he choreographed musicals from coast to coast, and has been a guest teacher for several studios, workshops, and camps. He spent several years working at various competitive studios in San Diego, Laguna Beach, Simi Valley, Los Angeles, and Brentwood. Upon moving back to Michigan, he opened MDM Dance Project in Shelby Township and was the owner and artistic director for many years. While owning MDM Dance Project he became the youth director for Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker at the Fox Theatre. Mark has also been a guest faculty member and teacher for
Musical Theatre and Tap classes at Oakland University. Currently, Mark judges for numerous competitions and is working toward his master's in clinical mental health counseling at Oakland University. He is thrilled to be joining Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy and getting back to choreographing for the competitive stage.

Miss Claire

Miss Claire has been dancing since the age of four. She’s danced at RPDA for twelve years. She is trained in many styles of dance, including ballet, tap, Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Hip-Hop. She has passed, with honors, her Cecchetti Ballet Exams Grades I-IV. She is an advanced member of Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy’s Performing/Competitive Dance Company. Claire has had the honor of becoming Grand National Champion, several years, while dancing at Rhythm Pointe Dance Academy. This year was one of them! Claire is a very well-rounded dancer and is also a past member of her high school’s (Eisenhower) Dance Team. She also holds National Championship awards while dancing with her school. Claire taught class this past summer and loved every minute of it. She is so excited to be teaching this year to share her technique and passion with dancers younger than her.

Office Hours

Monday         5:30PM - 8:30PM

Tuesday        5:30PM - 8:00PM

     Wednesday   OFFICE CLOSED

Thursday     5:30PM-8:30PM 

      Friday            OFFICE CLOSED 

Saturday      10:00AM - 2:00PM   

Sunday          STUDIO CLOSED