MEET THE STAFF
Founder / Owner / Head Coach
Hello, My name is Ali Magers, the founder/owner of EPA AllStars! I am 23 years old and I love DANCE! I have an awesome and very supportive family and a dog who I absolutely adore and couldn’t imagine life without. It took me some time to find my passion, having a gymnast background and trying anything & everything in between until I found my heart, dance – I worked really hard and was always on the younger end of all of my teams growing up but it paid off when I graduated from BT School of Arts in 2014 with a dance degree and placed 2nd in the world in 2015 at The Dance Worlds in Orlando, FL.
I created this program in 2016 with the soul purpose of chasing dreams, helping others find their passion and creating a safe place where everyone loves everyone like FAMILY! Dance has been my PASSION and saving grace since I was 10 years old, I have attended The Dance Worlds 9 times and personally performed from 2007-2015. I have taken teams to The Dance Summit since 2013 with my previous gym that I worked with and now EPA for the past since 2016! There is nothing more important to me than all of my kids and watching them grow in more ways than one! My goal is to teach hard work, passion and how to discard emotions and feelings in a positive way by giving them a place to call their second home, EPA AllStars!
Owner / Communications / Finance
Not only am I a big part of Liberty Mutual during the day but also a full-time mama to 2 girls, who both share a passion for dance. Growing up around the All-Star dance world and attending many competitions to support, learn and enjoy, it just made sense to take things to another level and join forces as an Owner of Empire in 2019 alongside of Jenna Lowe and Ali Magers - in return being one of the best decisions I could ever make. Working with kids and making a difference is something I have always loved to do and to know I am helping them become and grow into great, successful adults means more to me than I even realized. Maintaining and creating more relationships along the way - leading with family first at Empire just happens so naturally. I oversee and am head of all accounts and communications, often putting me at the front desk to help, guide and work through any and all questions or concerns and excited to see familiar and new faces every evening. Building this Empire is something I take pride in - to encourage, mold and instill positivity and love into all that walk through our doors. Coming up with the best processes and more for our families to enjoy and feel secure all while doing so, I look forward to every day at EPA!
Owner / Merchandise / Designer
When the opportunity for me to become an owner of Empire Premier Academy, I immediately jumped right in. I have two amazing partners in this journey and wouldn't want to do this with anyone else. To say I just love this place is an understatement. This is my home away from home. I absolutely love all of the kids smiles when they walk through the doors here at Empire. My goal is to make sure that every kid has a great experience here.
By day I work as a Engineering Design Coordinator at a local engineering company. By night, I am here at the studio trying to find ways to make sure all of our athletes and coaches are happy and have what they need to succeed on their journey of dance. I do not teach any of the classes here, but my love for dance and music are above and beyond.
I took on the role as the designer of all things, I have a third love for digital & fashion design. I love coming up with ideas and images that will catch your eye and promote all things EPA!
Academy Director / Dance Instructor
Candice grew up in competitive dance and cheer, as well as participated in many musical theater productions. In adulthood Candice has had on set experience for an internet commercial and a dance extra in a Sony Productions movie. She was also a member of the dance team for the Florence Freedom professional baseball team. Additionally as an adult Candice has trained with GoingPro, professional NFL cheerleaders/dancers, and various master classes. Candice has been a member of the Greater Cincinnati Dance Alliance as well as participated in outreach programs such as Artswave to help keep the art of dance alive in the Cincinnati area. Candice has over 13 years of experience teaching dance in various studios, public schools, and nonprofit organizations. She has experience teaching many genres of dance including ballet, lyrical, modern, jazz, tap, hip hop, cheerleading, dance fitness and musical theater for ages 2 through adult. Candice has experience in organizing and running recreational dance programs, dance summer camps, and musical theater productions. Candice has been part of the EPA family for 4 years as a dance mom.
Coach / Fitness Trainer
Hi! My name is Laurie McLean and I’m one of the coaches here at EPA! I’m a current student at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in Communications. While I’ve only been a coach for two years, I have spent about seven years in the Allstar cheer and dance world. When I’m not in the studio, you can probably find me in the gym! I love taking my experience in fitness and using it to help my dancers become the best versions of themselves.
Coach / Choreographer
Dancer/Choreographer Derrek Burbridge hails from Cincinnati, Ohio. Derrek started out as a street dancer and participated in shows, battles and competitions. He has opened for Bootsy Collins, Lupe Fiasco, Omarion, Trey Songz and in recent years he performed alongside Madonna in the Super Bowl XLVI. He is also Co-founder of the 20/Twenty cru. His choreography has been seen on BET 106&park, Blaze the stage, The Universoul Circus, as well as the Cincinnati Ballet among other performances and plays. Current staff member of Hip Hop International.
Coach / Choreographer
I grew up as a competitive dancer starting at 4 years old and competed in studio competitions all the way through high school. I have training in jazz, lyrical/contemporary, musical theater, tap and ballet. My favorite style to teach and perform is jazz! I also have experience as a sideline cheerleader from 8th grade through senior year, graduating from Stephen T. Badin High School in 2018. I am now a full time student at the University of Cincinnati, majoring in liberal arts with a focus in communication, organizational leadership and psychology. I had a year off away from the dance world once I graduated, took a college modern dance class my first semester and realized I just can’t live without this sport in my life!
Coach / Tumbling Instructor
Melissa began her dance career as a Hamilton Little Blue Drill Team member in 1990. She received 2 years of tumbling at Don Perry and Marlynn Dennis Gymnastics. She received 6 years of competitive dance team experience competing in pom/Hip Hop and Jazz. She was a member of the George Washington Jr. High School Drillteam as a Captain her Freshman year. She was a 3 year member of the Hamilton High School Dance Team as a Co-Captain her Jr. year 1998-1999 and Captain her Senior year in 1999- 2000. She went on to teach Dance Team tryout choreography to upcoming HHS Danceteam members in 2000. She has served as a Dance Audition Judge for Lisa's Danceline Express 2001, Hamilton HS and Fairfield Middle School in 2001-2002. She has maintained active in the dance world by participating in her own HHS Alumni Dance Team performances and by creating choreography for 3 years to children ages 3-12yrs.during Summer Camps at The Goddard School of Mason where she gained over17 years experience working in the Early Childhood field. She is a mother to 2 beautiful children, one daughter who is a 6 year competitive dance/cheer member. She is proud to serve as a mentor and role model for future dancers!
Coach / Tumbling Instructor
Darrick Johnson, was born and raised in the Cincinnati area. Darrick has been breakdancing for over 20 years, and has been part of numerous dance crews. He was a member of 20/Twenty Cru alongside Derek Burbridge. Darrick has traveled all over the country to compete in dance and breakdancing competitions, and performed at the UniverSoul Circus. In addition to dance, Darrick has been doing tumbling for over 25 years. He was trained at Kids First, Flip’n Twist, and Dyamo Gymnastics.
D’Andre Harris began his technical dance training in contemporary, jazz, hip hop, musical theater, ballet, and tap when he was 11 years old. He started his training at JCA Dance Academy and continued on at Reflexions Dance Arts. Harris went on to diversify his pre professional dance career by training, teaching, and choreographing in the Cincinnati area. This includes studying dance at Butler Tech School of the Arts. In his career, Harris has received a Career Technical Certificate in dance, as well as several choreography awards and national titles from national dance competitions like Showstoppers, Platinum, NexStar, and Encore. In addition to his dance training and achievements, D’Andre also has over 15 years of gymnastics and Trampoline & Tumbling training. He has earned numerous Power Tumbling titles and attended the Junior Olympics Championship. While enrolled at Fairfield High School, he cheered for Varsity. This launched Harris into an impressive competitive cheerleading career. He has cheered at the most prestigious cheerleading programs in the country. These include Cheer Athletics Plano and Cheer Extreme Raleigh. While cheering,he has attended The Cheerleading Worlds multiple times. Most recently, Harris has been coaching All-star cheerleading and tumbling at cheerleading gyms all over the Cincinnati area. Overall, D’Andre has achieved his success and obtained his knowledge by traveling, learning, choreographing, and teaching all of the US. His favorite part about teaching dance is watching young dancers find their connection with their movement and bringing their own story to life. D’Andre is eager and excited to continue to learn and teach at EPA All-stars.
Coach / Tumbling Instructor
I grew up in the competitive cheerleading and dance industry starting at the age of 4 years old and haven’t looked back since. This industry is something I have fallen in love with from a young age and even in my 20’s I still continue to fall more in love with this ever changing industry. Dancing all through out grade school, high school and even college allowed me to pick up not only technical skills but also life skills that I apply to my every day.
Since graduating college it was time to retire the title of an athlete and step on the other side of the mat to take on a new title as Coach Darbi! It was time to take my skills learned throughout my years and raise up the next generation of athletes that would go out and change the world. In 2018 I began my all star coaching career. Since starting my coaching career I have had the opportunity to coach cheer and dance teams , dance solos and duets to successful seasons. While attending the most prestigious competitions this industry has to offer.
My specialties include technique execution, athlete tumbling progressions, tumbling technique, mental blocks, and creativity. My coaching style is unique and tailored to individuals and teams to help drive overall success where both individuals and teams win on an off the stage. I am passionate about instilling confidence in my athletes while always having a goal driven mentality. My goal is to challenge my athletes every step of the way. While also setting up my teams for success as I watch them rise to every occasion. I couldn’t be more excited be apart of this EPA family! Let’s go be amazing!
Allstar Tiny Director
Kelly is from West Chester, Ohio where she attended Lakota East High School and Butler Tech School of the Arts for Dance. She began her theatre career at age ten, and continued on to obtain her Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, with a Minor in Dance, from Northern Kentucky University. Kelly is currently a dancer with PONES Inc. She has eight years of experience working in Early Childhood Education and teaching beginner ballet, tumbling and tap. Kelly loves working with children and nurturing their individuality. She recently graduated with her Master’s of Social Work. Kelly is thrilled to be the AllStar Tiny Director where she can continue to combine her love of dance with her devotion to teaching children.
Makeda Bryce born and raised in the South and has traveled extensively. Started her journey in dance from the age of 4 at Pat Gray Dance and Gymnastics in Mississippi to earning her Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in Dance at Valdosta State University. Where she also choreographed a piece for the American College Dance Festival Association which was selected in the Gala at the conclusion of the Festival. She also traveled with Catherine Schaffer Co during and after college to other dance festivals in New York, Tempe AZ, Tampa FL, and more. The pedagogy of Makeda's dance techniques foundation is French and Russian Ballet, Limón/Humphrey Modern, Horton/Alley technique, Musical Theater, Chicago and New York style Jazz, teaching dance techniques and etc. Makeda has taught ballet, jazz, hip hop, and modern with Dance Canvas, Dance 411 studio, and worked with choreographer from Spellman University's T. Lang in Atlanta, GA.