Sheila Dollas, RDE: Founder & Director
In 1998, Sheila Dollas founded Moving Miracles' therapeutic dance/movement program for individuals with developmental, physical, and intellectual disabilities.
The curriculum supports principles of authentic movement, synchronously preserving and studying traditional styles of dance. For almost two decades, accessibility and advocacy for dance and disabilities has been our mission.
Partnership with undergraduate and graduate interdisciplinary programs have enriched our collective dance/movement experience.
Sheila holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology/Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from the State University of New York at Buffalo with graduate studies in Dance Education.
She has been a Registered Dance Educator with the National Dance Educators Organization since 2009. For more than a decade, Sheila has served as an Artist in Residence, working at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Laura Pietak: Program Manager
Laura began volunteering with us in 2006 and was hired as a teacher in 2011. She began dancing at the age of three and has studied a variety of dance styles. She graduated from Canisius College with a degree in History and Social Studies Education in 2011. In 2013 she completed her graduate work at Canisius College and received her Master of Science in Special Education. While completing her graduate work she spent a year interning with the Institute of Autism Research teaching social skills to children ages 8-12. She has experience in schools throughout the Western New York area in grades 7-12. Throughout her time in these schools she has been exposed to both traditional and adaptive teaching approaches which she has used to blend with our curriculum, helping to develop creativity throughout the studio.
Elise Cruce: Dance Instructor
Elise began volunteering at Moving Miracles in 2008 and became a teacher in 2013. She began dancing at the age of 6 at Paulette’s School of Dance and later joined Barb Denny’s. She has taken jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, and modern throughout her dancing career. Elise was also a Girl Scout Leader from 2007-2012. She graduated in 2008 from Canisius College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Spanish. While at Canisius she performed with the school’s dance team, the Dance Griffs. She then received her Master’s Degree in Physician Assistant Studies from D’Youville College in 2012. She currently works as a Physician Assistant in Orthopedics.
Jennifer Yuen: Dance Instructor
Jennifer began her time at Moving Miracles in the fall of 2012 as an intern while attending D'Youville College. She joined the Moving Miracles teaching staff in the summer of 2013 after graduating from D'Youville with a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. She began dancing in 1994 at The Dancing Pointe. Through the many years she has been dancing she has taken tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical/modern, hip hop, and acrobatics. Jennifer has a passion for all forms of art (visual, performing, literary) and believes they are a powerful outlet for creativity and self-expression.
Lindsay Pajak: Dance Instructor
Lindsay began at Moving Miracles in January 2010 as a volunteer, and was added to the teaching staff in fall of that year. Lindsay began her dance instruction in 1990 with Ms. Pat LaBelle at the South Buffalo Dance Depot, where she studied tap and jazz. Lindsay graduated from the University at Buffalo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Health and Human Services, with a concentration in Community Mental Health. She then continued her studies at the University at Buffalo, earning her Master of Social Work degree. Lindsay is passionate about working with people with special needs, and is comfortable and has experience in a wide range of settings, including the OPWDD Care at Home Program, the West Seneca Central School District, the Epilepsy Association of Western New York, and the Early Intervention program. She is currently employed as a Social Worker (LMSW) on the Residential Supports Team with the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities.
Macey Doe: Dance Instructor
Macey began dancing at the age of 5 at Miss Debbie's Dance. She then studied until college at Sandy Stramonine School of Dance where she learned Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical and Pointe. Macey had always dreamed to become a dance teacher and choreographer. She has performed in musicals such as The Wiz, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Grease, Cats and Me and My Girl and participated in band, chorus and show choir throughout high school. In 2011, she received and Associates degree in Music through Finger Lakes Community College with a major in Voice. She graduated through the Occupational Therapy Assistant program at Erie Community College in 2014. Macey currently works as a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant in a school-based setting. Macey has taught at METTS Dance since 2015. She has volunteered with Moving Miracles since 2013 and is excited to now be part of the Moving Miracles' teaching staff.
Emelie Obrochta, ASCM-CPT: Personal Trainer
Emelie began working with the Adaptive Fitness Program at Moving Miracles in August 2016. She is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer, and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from SUNY Fredonia in 2013. In 2015, she graduated from Hilbert College with a Master's Degree in Public Administration: Health Administration. Emelie currently trains clients out of her private studio, and finds balance in life through strength training and yoga.
Courtney Bonvissuto: Fitness Instructor
Courtney began working with the Adaptive Fitness Program at Moving Miracles in June 2018. Courtney obtained her personal training certification through ISCA while completing her Bachelors of Science in Health and Wellness, with a minor in Exercise Science from Buffalo State College. She also holds an Associates of Applied Science in Dietetic Technology from which she obtained from E.C.C. in 2013. Courtney is currently certified through the American Red Cross as an instructor for CPR, AED, and First Aid for Adults and Pediatrics. Although she is the newest addition to the team, Courtney has a passion for fitness and inspiring others to live a healthy lifestyle.