Our Staff Members

Andrea Purrenhage
Andrea Purrenhage
  • Owner, Artistic Director

Andrea Purrenhage is currently a faculty member at CMU in the department of Theater and Dance teaching ballet and choreographing for the University Theater Dance Company.

Purrenhage began her training with the Metropolitan Ballet Center and continued intensive study with the Professional Ballet School under Svetlana Chrin of the Ukrainian National Ballet. She has had the opportunity to study with dance greats such as; Arthur Mitchell, Twyla Tharp, Laveen Nadue, and Fluer Isreal through the Dance Theater of Harlem, Dayton Ballet, and Eglevsky Ballet.

Dancing on scholarship Purrnehage studied at Alma College under Ballet Master Tom Morris. She has performed in Swan Lake, Aurora’s Wedding, The Nutcracker, Grand Tarantella, Les Sylphides, La Bayadre, Giselle and many others.

In addition to teaching Vaganova Ballet Purrenhage is also certified in Progressing Ballet Technique, which aids dancers in mastering correct ballet alignment while building strength.

You can contact Andrea directly at andrea@mpschoolofdance.com.
Justine Tuma
Justine Tuma
  • Lead Instructor

Justine Tuma is a Lead Instructor at Mt. Pleasant School of Dance and teaches jazz and contemporary. She began dancing at the age of three and grew up training and competing at studios throughout Michigan. With more than 20 years of dance experience, she has had training in styles such as jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, modern, contemporary, and hip-hop.

In addition to her training, she has been teaching since she was a teenager and has experience working with dancers ages two and up. Justine recently graduated from Central Michigan University, where she earned a B.S. in psychology and a minor in dance. During her time at CMU she was a member of the University Theatre Dance Company, and had the opportunity to perform and choreograph for numerous University Theatre productions.

She was also involved with many student lead productions including “Cupid and Psyche: A Ballet in Four Acts” which she choreographed, and “Bloom”, an original dance production in which she choreographed and directed. Justine will soon begin working towards her masters degree to become a certified Dance/Movement Therapist.

You can contact Justine directly at justine@mpschoolofdance.com.

Bird Clarkson
Bird Clarkson
  • Lead Instructor

Bird Clarkson has been a featured music video dancer having contracts with Warner Bros., and Atlantic Records; a top 25 ART PRIZE vote finalist, and a Main Stage performer at Electric Forest, Breakaway, and Prime Music Festival.

He is also under contract and sponsored by Red Bull as a promotor. Choreographing for National Dance Champions twice, Bird's passion is educating and helping create confidence in aspiring dancers.

"I have often told many that I mentor and guide I’m from Saturn; (third ring) of course. It’s a whole lot better than saying born on an army base in Heidelberg, Germany, then off to Japan, Korea and a bunch of states due to a parent in the military; and all before graduating college. I am a Psych Major that played college basketball for 2 years, but after taking a trip to the East Coast, I let life guide me back to DANCE. It has led me to many dance floors, studios, and concert/festival stages. Above all I get my fill and true satisfaction from educating; CMU, to workshops, to fitness classes and everywhere in between; nothing is quite like being apart of a student or persons journey to excel and reach new levels."

You can contact Bird directly at bird@mpschoolofdance.com.
Katie Hunter
Katie Hunter
  • Lead Instructor

Katie Hunter is a lead instructor of tap dance at Mt. Pleasant School of Dance. She is also a middle school teacher at Renaissance Academy in Mt. Pleasant.

Katie received her degree from Central Michigan University where she studied both elementary education and dance. She was a member of the University Theatre Dance Company and directed and choreographed two original dance productions at CMU.

You can contact Katie directly at katie@mpschoolofdance.com.
Tierney Popp
Tierney Popp, MSW, Ph.D.
  • Consultant

Dr. Popp is an Associate Professor of Child Development, in the Department of Human Family Studies at CMU.She is a consultant with MPSD providing instructors with evidence based knowledge on developmentally appropriate practices when working with young students.

You can contact Dr. Popp directly at tierney@mpschoolofdance.com.

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