Teachers

Miss Susan Byrne

Co-Owner/Director
Miss Susan, co-owner/Artistic Director of A Performing Arts Academy in Salem and co-director of The Greater Salem Ballet Company, founded Dance Exclusive in Swampscott in 1990 and has been teaching dance for 29 years. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree from Salem State College with a concentration in Physical Fitness and is also a graduate of the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston’s Teacher Training School. Miss Susan began her dance training at the age of four and has been dancing ever since! She has trained under the direction of Miss Helen Deane and numerous instructors at the Deane School of Dance for 25 years and was a member of the Salem Ballet company with several performances throughout the North Shore and surrounding area. She is also the former Assistant Director of the N. E. Ballet Ensemble.

Miss Seanna Chmura

Co-Owner/Director
Miss Seanna, co-owner/Artistic Director of A Performing Arts Academy in Salem and co-director of The Greater Salem Ballet Company, a 3rd generation owner of The Deane School of Dance in Salem has been teaching dance for 23 years. Miss Seanna received a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Salem State College and is a graduate of Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston ‘s Teacher Training School. She was a soloist for the Salem ballet Company and new England Ballet Ensemble. She has 18 years of classical dance training from her grandmother, Miss Helen and all of her family members at The Deane School, and is the former co-director of the New England Ballet Ensemble. She is also a member of Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston and Dance Masters of America New England Chapter #5.

Miss Katie Machado

Miss Katie, senior teaching staff of A Performing Arts Academy in Salem and former instructor at The Deane School of Dance in Salem and Dance Exclusive in Swampscott has 18 years of classical dance training with The Deane School and has been instructing for 21 years. She received a B.A. degree in English and Elementary Education from Merrimack College and M. A. in Elementary Education from Salem State and is a former 3rd grade teacher for the Marblehead Public School Department. She is a graduate of the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Teacher Training Course, was an instructor and former soloist for the N.E. Ballet Ensemble, The Salem Ballet Company and was the Assistant director of the N. E. Broadway Connection and performed twice with the company at the Magic Kingdom.  She currently is the Assistant Director of The Greater Salem Ballet Company and the Director of APAA’s competitive Dance Team.

Miss Amy Muzarol

Miss Amy  – senior teaching staff of A Performing Arts Academy in Salem and former instructor at The Deane School of Dance in Salem, has 15 years of classical dance training at The Deane School of Dance and has been an instructor for 14 years. Miss Amy received a B.S. degree in Child Development from Colby Sawyer College in New Hampshire and is a graduate of the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Teacher Training Course. She is currently employed by the North Shore Infant and Toddler Program as an Early Intervention Developmental Specialist. She was an instructor for the N. E. Broadway Connection, performed twice with the company at the Magic Kingdom and was a soloist and instructor for The New England Ballet Ensemble and a member of The Salem Ballet Company.

Miss Cynthia Buonfiglio

Miss Cynthia, senior teaching staff of A Performing Arts Academy, is a graduate of North Shore Community College and the Dance Educators of America. She has studied intensely under one of Boston Ballet’s past principle ballerinas, Laura Young. During her 40+ years of dancing, Miss Cynthia studied with the Deane School of Dance, North Shore Community College Dance Troupe, and was the principle dancer of the Salem Ballet Company under the direction of Ms. Helen Deane. She has also studied and participated with the Dance Masters of America Company. Miss Cynthia has taught professionally at the Deane School of Dance, the Deveraux School of Marblehead, The Salem Charter School, St. John’s of Peobody, Salem High School, A Performing Arts Academy and, recently, for the For Kids only Company of Salem. Miss Cynthia competed in regional and national levels and has been successful in winning awards at the regional and national levels. Miss Cynthia founded her school, Dance etc of Salem in January of 1983 with her long time friend Miss Jody. Her love of dance and the students has continued throughout the years. Dance etc was a successful school for thirty three years. She then continued teaching at APAA and is thankful to Miss Seanna and Miss Susan. Miss Cynthia is married with three children and her dog Lucy

Lia Buonfiglio

Miss Lia – teaching staff at A Performing Arts Academy, started dancing when she was 2 years old and began teaching hip hop at age 14 at her mother’s studio, Dance Etc of Salem. She began the competition team at her studio & won a Young Choreographer Award for her self-choreographed duet “Beggin’,” which also came in first place in the Dance Olympus Dance Championship. In 2014, Lia began dancing and teaching at APAA. She now teaches hiphop, tap, jazz and tumbling. This is Lia’s third season as a dancer for DanceWorks Boston, having started in season 11.

Miss Mackenzie Murphy

Miss Mackenzie- teaching staff member of A Performing ArtsAcademy in Salem. A former dance student of Dance Exclusive and A PerformingArts Academy. Currently, attending Salem State University double majoring inBusiness and Dance. Graduate of Dance Teachers Club of Boston teacher’straining course. A member of Dance Teachers Club of Boston. Former performer and soloist for New England Ballet Ensemble. Former performer for Greater Salem Ballet Company. Performed four times in Disney with the New England Broadway Connection and A Performing Arts Academy. Former member of A Performing ArtsAcademy’s competitive dance team.

Miss Diana Mason

Miss Diana – teaching staff of A Performing Arts Academy, is a magna cum laude graduate of Salem State University where she majored in Sport & Movement Science with a Dance Concentration and a minor in Philosophy. She trained with Sallee Slagle at Dance Dimensions throughout her childhood and was Captain of the St. Michael’s College Dance Team as a sophomore where she choreographed their first dance concert, now an annual event. After transferring to SSU, she studied primarily under Caitlin Corbett and Meghan McLyman, while taking courses and master classes with Sara Slifer, Gina Koehler, Deborah Dobrydney of Static Noyze, among many others. Diana was a member of SSU’s Repertory Dance Theatre throughout her three years there, and was a member of the Executive Board for two, finishing her college career as Vice President of RDT. Diana performed in six SSU dance department concerts in pieces choreographed both by her professors and her peers. She attended the American College Dance Festival with members of the SSU dance department at UMaine Orono, BU, and Keene State College, and performed in informal and adjudicated concerts at all three festivals. She was the assistant choreographer of SSU’s production of Rent in 2011 and presented her senior thesis on choreographer Bill T. Jones at SSU’s Undergraduate Research Symposium. She was presented with a Silver Key award for her work and good academic standing at SSU, and with a Creativity Award for her devotion to the arts. After graduation, Diana taught for Cynthia Buonfiglio at Dance, Etc. of Salem for three years before joining the APAA family in 2014. She has been a dancer for DanceWorks Boston since the company’s fifth season in 2012.

Jeana Geary

Jeana Geary – Office Manager, attended UMASS Amherst where she studied Commercial Recreation. She After working in various food and beverage positions and as a travel agent, she owned and operated a night club for 20 years handling all of the day to day finances and business transactions as well as interacting with the customers in the evenings.  She currently is a Sales Director with Mary Kay Cosmetics and has been an independent contractor with the company for 18 years. Jeana completes our staff by handling our day to day operations and finances.


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In 2006, A Performing Arts Academy became the realized dream of Susan Byrne, former Owner/Director of Dance Exclusive in Swampscott and Seanna Chmura, 3rd generation Owner/Director of The Deane School Of Dance in Salem. They created the academy with a singular goal: To teach dance...to children and young adults...in a warm, friendly and encouraging environment.