Celebrating Our 18th Year!    Classes for all ages & levels 

​​​absolute dance 

Denise Brakefield​​

Ballet Master (West Illinois University and University at Buffalo MA)

Full Bio to be posted soon.

Absolute Dance prides itself on having the best dance educators In Upstate, NY.  

All of our instructors have strong backgrounds in dance education, child education, and dance performance. Continuing education for our staff is important.

We attend many conferences and educational resource programs to deliver the BEST education for our students.

Our faculty understands the importance of not only nurturing artists but instilling the qualities of hard work, dedication, love, passion, and self-esteem. Choosing Absolute Dance is not only finding the best dance studio but finding a home; a place where kids find life long friendships, direction, and support.  

-Artistic Director Yvonne Villano-Hassett


Isabelle Wellauer
ADC-Advance Modern-Yoga

Isabelle J. Wellauer received her BFA from Ohio University (1996) in Dance and is an established teacher, dancer and choreographer. Her work has been presented by venues such as Dance Place Studio Theater (DC), Kreeger Auditorium (VA), Jack Guidone Theater (MD), Holton Arms Theater (MD), Center Stage Theater (VA), ACDFA (NC), Zu Zu’s Café and Performance Space (NY), New Dance Studio (ME), Beyond Dance Festival (NY), The Arts Center of the Capital Region (NY), Hallmark Danceworks (NY) and The New York State Fair (NY). She has taught and performed with modern dance companies throughout Ohio, California, Washington DC, Maryland, Virginia, Maine and New York. Isabelle has worked with choreographers such as Mark Taylor, David Dorfman, Deborah Riley, Carla Perlo, Jane Franklin, Liss Fain, Ellen Sinopoli and others. As the Director of Public Relations for Dance Place Studio Theater (DC), Isabelle was responsible for marketing over 50 productions per year by dance companies throughout the world. She also assisted to direct and teach in over 30 dance programs per year throughout DC public schools. Isabelle spent 6 months as an artist in residence for Sangra
Latina, a tango dance company in Cordoba, Argentina. After returning to the upstate New York area, Isabelle received her License to practice Massage Therapy in 2005 and became a Reiki Practitioner. She managed a wellness program for Pass and Seymour in Syracuse NY where she taught yoga, pilates, fitness and meditation classes and also provided one on one training sessions and massage therapy.

​Alysse Carris​​

Absolute Dance Assistant Director - Teacher Of All Dance Styles & Ages 

Born and raised in Auburn, NY, Alysse (Miss CeCe) began dancing at the age of three. She studied under Bettina Pausley and later continued her training at Absolute Dance. Over the years, she has been a member of the ADC Dance Ensemble, ADC Dance Company and now she is the Founder/Artistic Director of Cr8tivEchos Jr. Dance Company. Alysse has been trained in many styles of dance including Ballet, Point, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater, HipHop, Modern, Lyrical, Contemporary, Acro, African, Cheerleading, Competitive Dance and Early Childhood Education. Throughout her career as a dancer, Alysse has studied under a variety of teachers, dance companies and choreographers including Yvonne Hassett, Jill Bradley-Hall, Triscia Sears, Nijawwon Mathews, Micha Scott, Janet Reed, Bill Thomas, Jon Lehrer, Paul Taylor II, Lisa Ientelucci, Dena Kay Botticelli, Gina Pero, Tricia Zegarelli, Joe Celej, Mia Michaels, Sonya Tayeh, Twitch, Peter Chu, Brooke Pierotti, Jess Hendricks, Bobby Newberry, Nick Lazzarini, Teddy Forance, Stacey Tookey, Ray Leeper, Jason Parsons, Mark Meismer, Chantel Aguirre, Luigi, Mandy Moore, Denise Wall, Paula Morgan and Twyla Tharp.

Alysse has also performed in Musical Theatre productions such as Suessical The Musical (Bird Girl #3), Footloose (Ensemble & Understudy), Once Upon a Mattress (Lady Larken) and Alice in Wonder City (Kat). Studying voice through out High School and College under April Bender, Steven Stomps and Amy Bellamy. As she continued her passion for musical theater Alysse became choreographer for Auburn Players Youth Theater, West Middle School, Auburn High School and Auburn Junior High. Productions include The Floating Princes, Oz, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Grease, Annie, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Oklahoma, Hair Spray, Joseph and the Amazing Techni-Colored Dream Coat and Wizard of Oz. Currently Alysse is the head Choreographer for Hope & Harmony's Glee Camp helping to inspiring our a new generation of theater kids.

As a Competitive Dancer and Choreographer Alysse has won many Specialty, Choreography and Outstanding Achievement Awards for her dancing and choreography from Star Power Dance Competition, Encore Dance Competition, 24 Seven Dance, NUVO and Star Quest Dance Competition. 

​Currently Alysse has received her Dance Certification from Dance Teacher University/Dance Teacher Web/University Of Nevada Las Vegas. She also continues to study her dance education at Dance Teacher Summit, NUVO Dance Convention, Jump Dance Convention, 24 Seven Dance Convention and Acrobatic Arts. She is very excited to continue to be a part of the Absolute Dance Faculty.

Pasqua Waldron


Mary Pasqua’s dance career was launched at the age of 3 at the Bettina Pausley School of Dance. She studied ballet, point, tap, and jazz during her studio years. Pasqua also was a member of the Blair Allyn Dancers. As she followed her passion for dance she then started continuing her dancing and taking higher education dance classes specializing in Classical Ballet, Tap and Pointe
Pasqua started her teaching career down in North Carolina choreographing and winning several competition awards in Tap, Pointe and Ballet. There she taught classes from the age of 3yrs old - High School. Pasqua has taken the time to educate and continue to educate her self in early childhood dance education.
Not only does Pasqua have extensive dance training, she is also certified in Yoga, Kids Yoga, Zumba, Line Dancing, Pilates, and Strength Training. Pasqua works within the Cayuga County area teaching many different classes at local schools and YMCA programs. She is also a teacher at our local yoga studio the Zen Den. Pasqua strives to incorporate her diverse certifications and training into each class, offering a unique yet effective class experience. 
We are very excited to have Pasqua as part of our Absolute Dance Family for another great dance season.


Born and raised in Auburn, NY Nikkia first discovered her love of dance at age 3. 
She started her dance training with a local dance studio where she took tap and ballet. 
In addition to dance classes, Nikkia has been involved in both community and regional theater productions. She has spent time performing with the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse in productions such as "Singin' in the Rain," "George M!", and "The Music Man." She has also Choreographed Musicals for the Auburn Players Youth Theater. Choreography Credits Include Godspell, Cinderella, Beauty & The Beast, Into The Woods, A Chorus Line, Sketch and Suessical The Musical.

​Nikkia joined Absolute Dance in high school where she broadened her dance horizons and discovered her love of modern and contemporary dance. After graduating high school, Nikkia attended Syracuse University and was an active member of both TAP Team and Orange Pulse Dance Troupe, a philanthropic dance organization on campus. Nikkia choreographed for both dance organizations and served as the Artistic Director for Orange Pulse. 

Continuing her dance education Nikkia
has taken master classes and studied under dance teachers such as Bill Thomas (Ballet, Modern & Contemporary), Aaron Parkhurst (Tap) Sue Samuels (Musical Theater), Nick Young (Tap) Trevor Sones (Musical Theater), Valery Rockey (Tap) and Duncan Cooper (Ballet). She has also attended teacher classes at conventions such as Revel Dance Convention and 24 Seven Dance Convention.

She is a certified Teacher Assistant in New York State and has worked through out the Auburn School District for many years. She currently has a B.A in linguistics and M.A in linguistics and TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) and Currently working on her M.S in inclusive special ed at Syracuse University. 

Nikkia is thrilled to be back at Absolute Dance for her 8th year and to be part of a studio that has allowed both her dance technique and artistry to grow! She is excited to see all our new/returning students and is ready to educate & inspire our young dancers.


Nijawwon Matthews was featured as a master artist and teacher in Dance Teacher Magazine (Oct. 16’) Mr. Matthews set his work ‘Cycles’ on The Alvin Ailey/Fordham B.F.A. Sophomore class (Nov.17’) Nijawwon is also the Founder/Artistic Director of his own project based company called XY DANCE PROJECT. Mr.Matthews is a teacher/choreographer for Broadway Dance Center, Joffrey Ballet School & Creative Culture Center based in NYC.  Nijawwon is also a teacher,choreographer and resident artist for TOKYOTHECOMPANY under the direction of Kevin “Tokyo” Inouye and Alisha Lorraine Captain.

       Starting as a gymnast, Matthews has trained in many dance techniques including ballet,modern,jazz,hip hop, African,partnering methods, and social dances. Inspired by solid training and early achievements, Nijawwon has been motivated to pursue his interest in dance further. He landed opportunities with several companies including Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensamble, Deeply Rooted Dance Theater, Williams Henry Contemporary Dance Company, Cecilia Marta Dance Company, Philadanco!, and Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company. As a dance educator & choreographer, Mr. Matthewshas travelled nationally & internationally to instruct masterclasses and choreograph for a host of academic schools,dance studios, and professional companies as well as institutions in British Virgin Islands,Germany,South Africa,China,Bermuda,Curacao and Taiwan. To his credit, Nijawwon Matthewsorchestrated theatrical performances for Partnership For Results, a community- wide after school youth program under the direction of Susan Muldoon. Nijawwon assisted choreographer Christopher Huggins on numerous projects and was the rehearsal director and choreographer for Cecilia Marta Dance Company. Mr. Matthews looks forward to inspire, celebrate, and create artistic and authentic opportunities for artists throughout the world.


Alyssa Coleman is both an alumnus of Absolute Dance Studio and the prestigious ADC Dance Company. Once graduating high school, Alyssa went on to attend the University at Buffalo, where she pursued a Bachelor of Arts in Dance and a Health and Wellness minor. While participating in the dance program, Alyssa both performed and choreographed for the various performances that the program offered, including Dancer’s Workshop, Emerging Choreographer’s Showcase, and Zodiaque Dance Ensemble. When Alyssa wasn’t at school she returned home and choreographed works on ADC Dance Company and taught open classes for the studio. During her schooling Alyssa was able to further develop her skills as a performer, choreographer, and educator. While training in various techniques in the genres of ballet, modern, and jazz dance, Alyssa was able to choose what aspects of the program that she found most useful and would like to pass onto the next generation. Alyssa is looking forward to inspire the same passion she has for dance in her students, for the love is what has pushed her to make dance her career.

​​​​Yvonne Villano-Hassett

Artistic Director, Owner & Founder of Absolute Dance

Yvonne Hassett's dance career was launched at the age of 3 at the Bettina Pausley School of Dance. She studied ballet, point, broadway, tap, and jazz during her studio years. Yvonne also was a member of the Blair Allyn Dance Competitive Team where she won numerous awards in New York City Dance America Alliance. Her passion for dance lead her to continue her education at the University of Buffalo Dance Department training under highly respected teachers such as Thomas Ralabate, Lynn Kurdziel-Formato, and Bill Thomas, to name a few.  While attending UB Dance, Yvonne was a member of the Zodiaque Dance Company, and Choreographer for Young Choreographers Showcase. She choreographed, directed, and taught for many programs offered at UB Dance. Yvonne earned her BFA in Dance from the University in 2001. In addition to her University training Yvonne has done residencies & workshops under; Paul Taylor, Doug Verone, Gus Giordano, Limon, American Ballet Theatre, Alvin Aliely, Mia Michaels, Peter Chu, Teddy Forance, Jess Hendricks, Broadway Vetrans Richard Sabellico, Mark Frawley, and , Thommie Walsh.
Yvonne’s regional theater credits include: Gertie "Oklahoma",  Gemini Twin “A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum, Charity “Anything Goes", ensemble "42 Second Street", and wife/featured dancer “Damn Yankees”Her Regional Choreography Credits include: Oklahoma, South Pacific, Godspell, Barunum, Seusical, Meet me in St Louie, How to Succeed in Business, Anything Goes, Footloose, Grease, Once Upon a Mattress, and Pajama Game to name a few. She has had recurring roles as an actor and dancer in commercials. She has also appeared on television several times as a performing dancer .

Yvonne’s passion drove her to open her own dance studio in Auburn, NY: Absolute Dance in 2001. Since then, her school has branched into and educational hot spot(resource) for building strong dance artists including building her own dance company ADC-Dance Company, ADC Dance Ensemble, and Choreographer’s ShowcaseCore Dance Project.Her school has won numerous awards artistically & competitively for her educational programs and choreography. Yvonne has brought numerous artists & dance companies to her community such as; Jon Lehrer DanceCompany, Janet Reed Dance Company, Paul Taylor II,  Garth Fagan Mesha Scott,  Joe Celeji, Bill Thomas-Philidanco Dance, Cleo Parker Dance Company Candice Muselisum, Candice Whittier Todd Lattimore, Gina Pero,Elizabeth Early, Alisa Claire & Brian Collier to name a few.

Yvonne's dance company, ADC has performed locally and across New York State educating communities on the importance of dance in our youth. Yvonne is invited regularly to contribute her expertise as a choreographer and educator at a variety of workshops and dance festivals all over New York State. She has launched many careers for her dancers including commercially, and professionally.  She teaches master classes and educational programs across NYS. Yvonne is a life coach for her students and is involved with many organizations to help children with motivational skills, character building, and self esteem.