Meet the Faculty

Debbie Felton, M.D.E. Director

Debbie has been dancing and teaching for well over 30 years.  Debbie is a Master Dance Educator, President for Chicago National Association of Dance Masters and also certified member of Cecchetti Council of America.  She is continually receiving dance education as “there is always something new to learn.” Debbie loves teaching and seeing her students grow.  She is very proud of all her students and wants them to have fun while learning proper dance technique.

Nikki SHerman

Nikki Sherman joined the DFAD family in the fall of 2009, and has loved every minute of her teaching experience. She studied various types of dance for over 20 years at Robert Lee, Central City and Eastern Michigan University. “I am so proud to have the opportunity to share my talent in such a friendly environment with people I love more and more every day.” One of her proudest moments is dancing aboard the Enchantment of the Seas cruise ship. She is very excited to continue educating herself in dance, as well as others. She is always looking forward to what exciting challenges the next dance season will have in store for her. Thanks to Ms. Debbie, Nikki has finally found a place where she can feel comfortable creatively expressing herself, doing what she loves to do most.

Gayla Gregor, DFCCA

Gayla Gregor Norris began her training with her mother and mentor, Rose Marie Gregor, who was an Executive Board Member and examiner with Cecchetti Council of America, Inc.  She also trained with Rose Marie Floyd in her teen years.  Since her youth, Gayla has studied all over the US and Europe in master classes with legendary ballet and jazz teachers.  Gayla has over 35 years of teaching experience of ballet, jazz and tap and directed the Birmingham Ballet and Jazz School 10 years.  She has been guest ballet and jazz faculty for numerous Cecchetti seminars and summer workshops.

Currently, Gayla is certified to teach classical ballet by the Cecchetti council of America, Inc. of which she is a fellow member and former General Board Chair.  She is qualified to teach the Royal Academy of Dance method, and also has training in the Bournonville and Vaganova methods.  She also has a professional background in dance and vocal performance.

Jennifer Porter

Jennifer has danced with Debbie since 2000 and is overjoyed to be working with her at the studio this year!  “Being a part of a child’s growth, confidence, and teamwork is a treasured reward.  We are the D*FAD family and I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of it!!” Jennifer’s specialty is Tap, however, she loves working with the preschoolers and they love her. Jennifer continues her dance education through current classes and through Chicago National Association of Dance Masters (CNADM) as well as the Detroit Hoofers Club.

Being a member of the Detroit Hoofers Club which is directed by the legendary tap master Professor Robert Reed has been an experience of a lifetime.  Jennifer has performed with the club locally and at the St. Louis Tap Festival.

“To dance. To express the individual soul.  To silently witness a personal story of all emotions.  It’s not always about being the best.  Sometimes it’s more important to be connected and communicate with all cultures.”

Tiffani Stewart

Tiffani has been teaching for over 15 years first where she owned and directed her own studio in Canton, MI before joining the staff of other local studios.

Tiffani joined the D*FAD staff in 2013 and is one of the competitive team coaches.

She is a certified member of Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America, and Great Lakes Regional Dance Masters.  Her classes include lyrical/contemporary, jazz, tap, hip hop, and musical theatre.  Tiffani’s students have won local, regional, and national overall awards for their performances and she has won numerous choreography awards.  In addition to teaching for several organizations including DMA, she judges throughout the USA and Canada for American Dance Awards.

Heather Coppola

Heather Coppola is a DFAD alumni who grew up dancing with Miss Debbie since the age of six. She has danced competitively for over 10 years and has performed in many award winning routines.  She has continued her dance education through attending numerous workshops and conventions, including Chicago National Association of Dance Masters. She studied her way through the CNADM Student Honors program. Heather is also a teacher certified to instruct the Cecchetti ballet method and is one of the competitive team coaches.  She enjoys sharing her love and passion for dance in a positive environment. She wants all children to have the opportunity to find their love of dance. “I am excited and honored to be part of DFAD as an instructor teaching all styles of dance”.

Stephanie Penner

Stephanie began dancing at the age of four with a Russian ballet school where she studied ballet extensively for seven years.  Under the direction of her mother, Stephanie also started Polynesian dancing and performing with a group known as the Aloha Tropics.  Stephanie furthered her knowledge of dancing in 1997 by joining a small studio that offered all styles of dance.

Since the, Stephanie has gone on to compete in numerous dance competitions, winning many regional and national awards.  She is continuously studying dance by attending conventions around the metro Detroit areas well as traveling to California yearly for seminars with well-known choreographers.

Stephanie has been teaching since 2009, and continues to work/audition professionally all over the metro Detroit area.  Some of her professional work includes dancing for the Goo Goo Dolls in the Thanksgiving day Lions half time show, talent for KIA Motors in the Detroit auto show, model for Gardner White, and dancer for Elvis to the Max.  Currently, Stephanie dances and travels with the band Your Generation In Concert all over the country.

Megan Duby

Megan Duby has been dancing since the age of three and is a DFAD alumni who was part of the competition team for thirteen years.  Megan furthered her dance experience at Eastern Michigan University(EMU) where she participated in the EMU dance team while obtaining her Bachelor of Science degree in dance.  Megan is excited to teach and share her love and passion for dance with her students. “I am excited to help my students grow and fall in love with dance in the studio that I grew up in.”  DFAD has always been a second home and a family.

Janet Coppola

Janet Coppola your studio Office Manager started working with Debbie in the fall of 2002. Janet enjoys being part of Debbie’s faculty. “This position is perfect for me, as I have worked as an office manager for a CPA firm and steel company for many years prior to having children.” Organizing, planning and creative thinking are what makes this job so perfect for Janet. She loves being the first person you see when coming through the studio doors. Jan enjoys greeting everyone, keeping people informed and making families feel comfortable when leaving their dancers here at the studio.

Nance Porter

Office Assistant has been with the DFAD family for the past two years.  She works at the front desk and enjoys greeting the dancers and parents.  Nance is an essential part of keeping the office organized.  “I am enjoying being a part of what keeps DFAD a fun place to be at.”

Alexandra Cetin

Director of marketing and operations Alex has been with the academy for many years.  After a long hiatus from the academy due to teaching in a middle school and college courses Alex has returned to teaching and working in the place that she calls "home".  As a former D*FAD competition team dancer, daughter of Debbie Felton, Alex works at the front desk, teaches dance classes and works on the behind the scenes parts of the academy.  Focusing on technology, functionality and helping the academy continue to grow and adjust through the year.  Currently she is working on her CDA and always working on her technology skills.