The Dance Connection

1672 Lilley Road * Canton, MI 48188 * (734) 397-9755

Carol Jackson - Founder

Carol Jackson was the co-owner of The Dance Connection in Canton, Michigan, which she owned and operated with her daughter Melissa, since 1995.  Ms. Carol started her studio with 52 children in whom she instilled much more than her love for dance.  She had a "hands-on" approach, as as is often the case with dance teachers, she became a mentor and even a second mom to many of the over 500 students that now call The Dance Connection their home for dance.  Ms. Carol was a woman full of compassion for each and every child and family who walk through her doors, and firmly believed that dance was for everyone regardless of their circumstance.  In June of 2012 surrounded by her family (which included many of her dancers and their families), she ended her nearly 2-year battle with lung and endocrine cancer.  Her legacy is carried on at The Dance Connection by Melissa, her staff, and the many dancers that call The Dance Connection home.

Melissa McParlane - Owner

Melissa started her dance training at the age of 2 under the direction of her Mom, Carol Jackson.  She started her professional career at the age of 16 as a performer at Bush Garden’s in Williamsburg, VA in the Das Festhaus show.  During her junior and senior year of high school she was accepted into the Broadway Dance Center training program in New York City.  After graduation she started her first of many contracts with the Peter Grey Terhune productions working on numerous cruise ships sailing the Caribbean, Mediterranean, and Europe.  Upon completing her final cruise contract in 2001 Melissa came back home to The Dance Connection where she became the Artistic Director of the competition team.  In 2005 Melissa was named co-owner of The Dance Connection with her mom Carol.  Melissa assumed full ownership of The Dance Connection in 2012.  Her additional performance credits include the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and Walt Disney World’s Kid’s of the Kingdom show. Melissa is certified through the Cecchetti Council of America as a Grade I and II Cecchetti instructor. 

Aileen Balatico

Aileen has been dancing since she was 3 years old and has training in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical and hip hop.  As a soloist and company dancer, she has competed and placed at several regional and national competitions.  She was a member of her high school pom team for 2 years and was a member of the Mid-American and Universal Dance Association All Star Teams.  Aileen was a member of the dance ensemble for the traveling production of Disney's Pocahontas at the Fox Theater.  At the age of seventeen, Aileen began sharing her passion for dance with others by teaching at various studios around the area.  She was also a member of the MAPP staff for 2 years.  Aileen coached the Salem High School Rockettes for 14 years and led them to many regional and state championships.  Her team was nationally ranked each year, with a 3rd place finish in the high kick category.  After 21 years in the elementary classroom Aileen made the switch to becoming an Instructional Coach in Wayne-Westland and continues to teach dance at The Dance Connection in Canton.

Sharon Joseph

Sharon has been dancing since the age of five. She has had training in Jazz, Tap, Ballet, and modern. She began teaching at the age of eighteen while taking dance classes at Henry Ford Community College where she was in the Dance Company for two years. She then attended Bruno's Academy of Beauty and received her license in Cosmetology in 1997. Sharon us currently a student at Madonna University pursuing her Nursing degree.  She continued teaching dance for several years before coming to the Dance Connection in 2006. She teaches both competitive and recreational classes. Dancing is her passion and has become such a big part of her life. She hopes to continue for many years to come.

Emily Zazula- Studio Manager

Emily started taking class at The Dance Connection at the age of six in 1997 and continued through high school graduation in 2008.  She has trained in Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip-Hop, Pointe, and Ballet.  Emily was a member of the competition team for seven years and loved every minute of it.  She has gained experience in the dance room by assistant teaching and substituting.  Emily graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a degree in elementary and early childhood education. Emily has spent the past five years traveling the country helping to produce dance competitions for children. She currently works for as a Regional Director for EnerGy National Dance Competitions.

Aby Cryderman

Aby started dancing at the age of four at The Dance Connection where she danced for 14 years, 10 of which were spent on the competition team. She is trained in ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and lyrical. She has assisted and substituted for the faculty at The Dance Connection for many years to gain experience in the dance room. Aby graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2016 with a Bachelors of Science in Communication and Dance Performance-Choreography.  She is currently pursuing her masters degree at Wayne State University.  Aby is certified through the Cecchetti Council of America as a Grade I, II, III, and IV Cecchetti instructor.  Aby recently completed her certification for Acrobatic Arts module 1 with special training in back handsprings and aerials.  She continues to take open technique classes, and participates in conventions.

Lauren Fahlman

Lauren started her dance training at The Dance Connection and for fifteen years trained under the founder Carol Jackson and her daughter, Melissa McParlane. While with The Dance Connection, she studied jazz, tap, ballet, Cecchetti, pointe, and lyrical. Lauren furthered her dance education on scholarship at Western Michigan University. While there, she studied jazz, ballet, pointe, and modern under accredited faculty members. At Western Michigan University, Lauren participated in Orchesis concerts, Graduating Presentations, and Great Work Concerts with her pinnacle performance being, “Minus 16” choreographed by Ohad Naharin. Lauren graduated from WMU with a Bachelors of Arts in Dance. Lauren is certified in Progressing Ballet Technique. She is currently employed with Wild Dance Intensive and NexStar National Talent Competition.

Camyle Cryderman

Camyle has been dancing since the age of two. At 15 she began assisting and substitute teaching and has continued teaching since then. Camyle is trained in the disciplines of tap, jazz, Cecchetti ballet, pointe, hip hop, and lyrical. Near the end of her studio career, Camyle began training in the art of toe-tap, which involves tap dancing while up on the box of pointe shoes.

Camyle specializes in tap dancing and tap technique and shares her talent with dancers within many studios in the area. She is also certified by the Cecchetti Council of America as a Grade I, II, III, and IV Cecchetti instructor.  Camyle has her certification for Acrobatic Arts module 1 with special training in back handsprings and aerials.  She has an Associate's degree in business administration and is always looking for new ways to grow her dancing and teaching skills.

Katie Molloy

Katie started dancing at the age of 5, right here in Canton, MI. Upon graduating high school, Katie was picked up by the Jean Ann Ryan company, and performed as a dancer/aerialist all over South America, and Alaska. She furthered her education at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City, where she was able to turn around, guest teach and further shape the dancer program at the Manhattan location. She then was employed by Stiletto Entertainment (Barry Manilow’s company) and RWS Productions as a dancer/aerialist/dance captain/company manager, which allowed her to perform in the Baltic and Europe. She stayed in America for a while with shows such as Grease, before going out to Japan with Dublin World Wide Productions to do Broadway Christmas Wonderland for a few seasons. Katie is excited to be back teaching after having her first son with her husband last year.

Mia Hagemann

Mia has been dancing since the age of 4. In 2008, she became a member of the TDC Competition Team and has trained in many styles of dance, including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Hip-Hop. Over her ten years of competitive dancing, Mia has earned many overall high score awards, special judge's awards, and scholarships for several prestigious dance conventions. Mia was also a varsity member on her high school dance team. Assisting and substituting for staff members at The Dance Connection in the past has given her valuable teaching experience. Currently, Mia is a student at Wayne State University and will be graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Exercise and Sports Science. She is also employed at EnerGy National Dance Competitions as a tabulator