Academy of Performing Arts, Luanna Luxton Armstrong B.A.T.D., Director

About Us

The Academy of Performing Arts studios are located at Chi Mukwa Community Recreation Center in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

The Academy is directed by Luanna Luxton Armstrong, B.A.T.D.

Academy Brochure

Brochure: Academy Brochure (2020-2021)

Flyer: Introducing our Instructors (2020-2021)

About Our Director

Luanna Luxton Armstrong, B.A.T.D., Academy Director, Dance/Drama Instructor and ChoreographerLuanna Luxton Armstrong
B.A.T.D., Director, Choreographer

A lifetime member of the British Association of Teachers of Dance, and a seasoned dancer, actress, singer, choreographer, playwright and director in countless productions, Miss Luanna brings a wealth of experience to the arts and our community.

Miss Luanna was born and raised in Sault, Ontario. She is a graduate of Loretto in Sault, Michigan, alumni of Lake Superior State University, Ryerson University and York University, Ontario. She opened her first school of dancing in Dundas, Ontario in 1969. For 20 years she owned and operated the Luanna Luxton School of Dance and Performing Arts in Bolton, Ontario where she also founded and directed a professional summer theater company. Her school boasted a Barn Theater where countless one of a kind productions, both amateur and professional took place.

In September 2003, Miss Luanna founded the Academy of Performing Arts, on the campus of Lake Superior State University, after being the Director of Dance and Drama at Lake Superior State University for two years. In September 2008, the Academy moved to its beautiful new location, the Chi Mukwa Community Recreation Center (Big Bear Arena).

About Our Academy

For over 40 years, Miss Luanna has offered students of all ages a unique environment in which to develop and express their creative talents. Our students are encouraged to explore their boundaries and to take risks in a structured, nurturing environment. We then give them an opportunity to shine their light. Every year we come together in the most perfect way to create a masterpiece.

Our season is traditionally climaxed with a full-scale theatre production involving dancers and actors. This provides our students with the opportunity to participate in a live theatre production.

Our academy philosophy fosters the thrill and joy of performance without competition.

About The Studios

The two dance studios are located on the first floor of the Chi Mukwa Recreation Center. The studios are spacious with ballet bars and mirrors. Reception, waiting area, locker rooms, concession, and indoor walking track are available for students and their families.

Meet Our Instructors

Mrs. Erika Laitinen-Odbert, Instructor

Erika Laitinen-Odbert, Instructor & Choreographer

Erika Laitinen-Odbert has been sharing her commitment to excellence in the dance arts for 16 years with the Academy of Performing Arts, where she teaches Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, and Jazz. With over 25 years of experience, Erika danced competitively with Trixie Hardy Dance Studio and Studio Dance Arts, both of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

She has traveled internationally and within the United States competing, performing, and attending numerous workshops. Erika has undergone extensive B.A.T.D. training, focusing primarily in the study of ballet.

Erika loves to share her passion for dance with her students, her family, and her community. Among her dance experiences, Erika has been able to volunteer for many community events, including Hospice of the EUP Madrigal Dinner for over ten years and is incredibly honored and proud to now be a coach for the Dancing with the Hospice Stars!

She looks forward to continuing her adventure in sharing the art of dance with all for many years to come.

Ms. Kayla Price, Instructor

Kayla Price, Instructor & Choreographer

As a seventh year instructor, Kayla comes to the Academy from a long history with performing. Her love of figure skating and gymnastics at a very early age inspired her to study ballet, where she began dancing at the Sherry Walsh Academy of Dance Arts at the age of 8. Kayla also participated in the Sault Gym Club Gymnastics programs in Sault Sainte Marie, Ontario.

She has studied dance at our Academy for many years and has taken part in several of our annual Children’s Theatre Productions, both as a dancer and as an actress. Kayla has participated in several dance competitions during her time, performing with the Sault High Pom Pon squad.

She also brings skills learned from participating in those competitions, as well as, performing and dancing in New York City, Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and Puerto Rico. She performed with the LSSU Dance Company, and has taken summer residence near Traverse City, MI as an employee of Interlochen Center of the Arts. During the summer of 2018, Kayla enjoyed instructing dance to students coming to LSSU from various cities for the EDventures summer camps.

Kayla will be returning in the fall to begin instructing classes again this year. We look forward to having more years with her.

Ms. Kayla Price, Instructor

Tina Pountney, Instructor & Choreographer

Tina has over 14 years of dance experience and B.A.T.D. training in tap, jazz, and ballet. She has danced competitively in Canada and USA with Sherry Walsh Dance Academy and early on Trixie Hardy.

Recently, she has had wonderful experiences with the adult competitive dance program in Sault Sainte Marie, ONT. She competed in Tap, Jazz, & Hip-Hop where she received a platinum or diamond rating in all three dances.

Tina has also had experience as a performer with our local Dancing With The Stars fundraiser and she provided her services to create the choreography for the opening number for a local talent show fundraiser.

She is excited to inspire kids/adults to live their dreams and passions using the expression of dance. She has graduated from LSSU from the BScN Nursing Program and graduate school with GVSU with Masters Degree in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner Program.

Tina has had three years of experience teaching advanced and adult tap through the Academy where she was previously an instructor and is very excited to be back on board with us. She is hoping to expand in the years to come.

**The B.A.T.D. (British Association of Teachers of Dance) was founded in 1892 with just 24 members & has now grown to be recognized in the U.S. & Canada, Australia, South Africa, Spain, Germany, Korea, Italy & more. The first of its kind to encourage dancers to organize into a society with which to improve & develop the art of dance and its many forms.

Academy of Performing Arts - Chi Mukwa Community Recreation Center - - (906) 253-2180
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