Melanie Lecher Pagurko, DanceMaineia's founder, has been teaching dance in Midcoast Maine for over 30 years. She received her early training at the Casco Bay Movers Dance Studio and the Portland School of Ballet. Her traveling dance training includes a trip to Natal, Brazil, a stint of training and teaching at the Phoenix School of Ballet, and a venture to Chicago, Illinois, where she danced at the Lou Conte Studio. Melanie also took classes with many master teachers at the Bates Dance Festival and continues to train with various teachers at the Casco Bay Movers studio.
Melanie's passion is teaching dance to students of all ages and abilities. Her desire is to see students at all levels experience the joy of movement in a positive, fun setting.
Anna Stokes has been dancing and performing with her mom at DanceMaineia for her whole life. She also trained with Michele and Heather Cox for several years in ballet and pointe. In recent years she has focused her training primarily on hip hop and its encompassing styles. Her experience has included training at Casco Bay Movers and master classes with dancers including Devin Woolridge, Brian Green, Bruce Tracy, and Josh Beaver. Anna continues to have a love for dance as well as a passion for teaching others.
Calista was a DanceMaineia student as soon as she could walk, her passion for dance and movement beginning at a very young age. At nine years old she began additional ballet training with Michele and Heather Cox at Atlantic Ballet Company where she danced for four years. When Calista turned thirteen she started dancing at Elizabeth Drucker's Ballet School where she trained extensively in ballet and pointe technique, performed in annual ballet productions, participated in three Youth American Grande Prix competitions, and performed for the elderly in several nursing homes. Calista has also participated in a variety of classes at the Casco Bay Movers dance studio.
Calista attended the Joffrey Ballet School's Summer Intensive in 2017 and the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 5-week Intensive Summer Program in 2018. She has been training at Steps on Broadway in NYC since fall 2021.
Calista loves to instruct others to help them learn and grow as dancers while she herself continues training. She is inspired to teach dancers of all ages in a variety of styles to help them reach new goals and develop as artists. Calista is dedicated to pursuing a career in the arts, driven by passion and gratitude for the ability to continue learning and sharing her enthusiasm with others.
Shae-Lynn has been dancing her whole life with DanceMaineia and has received additional training with Atlantic Ballet Company and the Casco Bay Movers studio. She enjoys working with young children, evident to all who watch her teach the preschool-aged Creative Movement class.
Ashley Steeves has been dancing her entire life - but not in the way that you're "supposed to". At age 3 she was creating dances for her siblings to perform for parents and grandparents. At 5 she was in her first ballet, Snow White. After that life-changing production, Ashley wasn't able to regularly attend dance classes and worked with Youth Theaters in Southern Maine.
At 14 Ashley enrolled in The Ballet School with Elizabeth Treadwell-Drucker. She received her formal ballet and teacher training there. She went on to dance with Full Circle Dance Studio, Gemini Dance Company, Dirigo Dance Project, Tony Zumba, Living Room Dance Collective, and Vivid Motion.
Almost 10 years ago Ashley decided to create her own performing arts group, Resurgence Dance Company, which she continues to run to this day. She works with teens and adults and gives them a place to perform. While Ashley is very focused on RDC, she's thrilled to work with students in a structured studio this year. She hopes to bring artistry and technique to anyone who attends her classes. The community and non-competitive atmosphere at DanceMaineia is a perfect fit for Ashley, and she looks forward to meeting everyone and dancing together!
Erin Coughlin has taught ballet for the last 15 years. As a young dancer, she trained at the Granite State Ballet School in New Hampshire with Doreen Cafarella and Tony Williams. She was chosen for many leading and soloist roles in the Granite State Ballet Company’s annual Nutcracker performances as well as roles in classical ballets and original works in their spring seasons. Her summers were spent training on scholarship and performing weekly with the Burklyn Ballet Theatre in Vermont. She later trained on scholarship with the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. She was a company member at the Granite State Ballet Company and the Colorado Ballet. She enjoyed her many performing roles, including: the Sugar Plum Fairy, Snow Queen, and Clara in the Nutcracker, Paquita, Odile in Swan Lake, Effie in La Sylphide, Kitri in Don Quixote, and Bluebird in Peter and the Wolf. She also had the privilege of dancing the role of Cinderella in the three act ballet, choreographed on her.
Erin earned her B.A. in Psychology and her M.Ed. in Special Education, from the University of New Hampshire, Magna Cum Laude. She has educated public school students as a Kindergarten and First Grade classroom teacher.
Erin has trained ballet dancers of all ages in studios in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She has choreographed countless original works as well as restaged classical ballets, such as: Swan Lake, La Bayadere, and Paquita.
Erin is married with six children and homeschools, on a little homestead in central Maine. She is excited to join the Dancemaineia this year, and to help her dancers continue their solid foundation of good ballet technique, to learn new skills and feel successful as growing dancers in a positive and fun environment.