MEET THE SISU® DANCE ACADEMY TEAM
Extraordinary determination, courage and resoluteness in the face of extreme adversity.
This is the action mindset that enables individuals to see beyond their present limitations and into what might be.
Take action against the odds and reach beyond observed capacities.
At SiSu®, we see potential in each dancer who walks through our door.
We will do everything we can to bring you increasingly closer to your end goals.
Founder/Director SiSu® Dance Academy
Founder/Director SiSu® Dance Company
Megan Berlint-Nicko began dancing at the age of 2.5. She received her early training in the Cecchetti method under the tutelage of Karen Alwin. Megan trained with Marin Ballet in San Rafael, CA under Margaret Swarthout, and Nutmeg Conservatory with Sharon Dante. Megan danced with The Performer’s Ballet and Jazz Company under Lynn Cox, The New Mexico Ballet Company under David Chavez, as well as Ballet Theatre of NM. For these companies, She has danced in leading roles, including The Nutcracker, Petrushka, Carmina Burana, Jungle Book, The Red Shoes, Christmas Carol, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Rite of Spring, Dracula, Cinderella, Carmen, and Sleeping Beauty.
Megan started her teaching career at the age of 15 and has taught for a number of studios in New Mexico, including Lana’s School of Dance, Ballet Theatre of NM, New Mexico Ballet Company, Alwin’s School of the Dance, Fishback's, The Performer's Ballet and Jazz Company, and Magnify Dance Center.
As the Founder/Director of SiSu® Dance Academy Megan teaches Cecchetti, Ballet, Cross conditioning, Cross Conditioning for Pointe, Pointe, Jazz, Contemporary, Acrobatics, Tap, and is a Freelance Coach and Choreographer. She is invited as a Guest Teacher around the USA and Canada. Her choreography has been featured in studio recitals, competitions, and several productions.
Megan is a Qualified Licentiate Member of the Cecchetti Council of America and holds her Teacher Certification for Grades I - Intermediate, as well as her student certifications. She was awarded the Jane Caryl Miller Scholarship for the CCATC 2017. She is currently working toward her Advanced Teacher exam.
Megan started Progressing Ballet Techniques (PBT) training in 2013 and traveled to Sydney Australia in 2014 where she trained directly with Marie Walton-Mahon on the PBT program. She then served as Director of PBT, USA Division, until 2021. She has traveled and trained many teachers around the USA and Canada in the PBT Program.
Megan also is trained and certified in the following programs:
- Cecchetti Council of America - Certified Licentiate Member
- Certified Yoga Instructor - Yoga Renew 220 Hrs.
- Certified Pilates Instructor
- The Ballet Blog by Lisa Howell, Physiotherapist
- The Band It’s by Sally Harrison, Physiotherapist
- Sugarfoot Therapy, Physiotherapy
- Acrobatic Arts - Module I & II
- Leap 'N Learn - Beverly Spells
- PBT Level lll and former USA Director
- Alixa Flexibility - Level 1-4
- mindbodygreen Functional Nutrition Expert
- Of Course Online - Tanya Thompson
- Rolling Along The Anatomy Trains - Tom Myers & Jill Miller
As a natural progression, Megan has created her own Cross Conditioning and Fasciability classes for SiSu® Dance Academy, based on her training and experience. She is passionate about teaching dancers how to train safely along with emphasizing the love and dedication to the art.
She is married and has two children.
I am a proud mom of 3 very successful kiddos. I have been a dance mom for 44 years. All 3 of my kids danced and performed.
I worked in the medical field for 53 years. I was a Secretary for Sandford H Kinne, DO., and then went to work for Perinatal Associates as a receptionist. I was promoted to Assistant Office Manager and then Front Office Manager for the main office and several of the satellite locations. I retired on Valentine’s Day in 2018.
Now I am enjoying helping my youngest daughter, Megan Nicko, in her office at the Dance Academy.
Anna-Marie Anderson began dancing at the age of 2 years old. She trained at Lana’s School of Dance in the genres of ballet, tap, jazz, pointe and some acrobatics. Anna-Marie was part of the Young Performers group with Lana Kroth. The Young Performers danced at many different parks in Albuquerque, along with performing in competitions in Albuquerque and Las Vegas, Nevada. At age 10, Anna-Marie joined the New Mexico Ballet Company under the Direction of David Chavez. Anna-Marie performed in The Christmas Carol, The Nutcracker, The Jungle Book, Carmina Burana, and The Red Shoes. Anna-Marie also performed in the musical Guys and Dolls.
Anna-Marie began teaching ballet, jazz, and tap classes at the age of 16. She studied in New York for 2 weeks at Steps and Broadway Dance Center. At UNM, Anna-Marie took Salsa classes and Salsa aerobics for 4 years and she started a Salsa aerobics class for the teachers at the elementary school she worked at. Anna-Marie also taught the children in an after-school program for 2 years. Anna-Marie participated in talent shows for 4 years, choreographing for teachers.
Anna-Marie is excited to return to the dance world and teach for SiSu® Dance Academy.
Jastin began dancing at the age of 3. She has trained in Ballet, Cecchetti, Variations, Pointe, Musical Theatre, Jazz, and Tap. She has studied, performed, and competed with many studios in New Mexico. Outside of the state, dance has taken Jastin to Tremaine Dance where she received the opportunity to study with Paula Abdul, Derek Hough, and Laurie Johnson.
Jastin has passed her Cecchetti Grades I-II and is studying for her Grade III exam. She has also completed her teacher’s training for the Leap ‘N Learn program.
Jastin is currently attending high school. She also plays the piano and enjoys helping dancers find the importance of dance. Most especially, Jastin is thrilled to be a part of SiSu® Dance Academy.
Meredith began dancing with Southwest Ballet when she was 7. She attained the coveted role of Clara in The Nutcracker for two consecutive years in her youth, and she was a soloist with Southwest Ballet when she was only 12. She continued to excel in her training, receiving full scholarships to Dance Aspen and La Cienega summer dance programs.
She has had the opportunity to work with renowned instructors, including Violette Verdy, Jillana, Irina Kolpakova, Irek Mukhamedov, Luk de Lairess, and Attila Ficzere, just to name a few.
Her passion and dedication to dance carried into adulthood when she started teaching and coaching rehearsals. She is also a certified LaBlast® instructor, which is a dance fitness program created by ballroom dance champion Louis van Amstel.
Meredith has discovered a passion for emotional healing techniques and is the founder and owner of Emotional Weeding® & Wholistic Healing LLC. By removing limiting beliefs and trapped emotions, and providing tools to help dancers create and maintain emotional health, a dancer’s highest potential can be achieved. Meredith is passionate about beautiful ballet and helping dancers reach their dreams. She is ecstatic to be part of the SiSu® Dance Academy team!
Natalie Svobodova, originally born in Covina, CA, was raised in the Portland, OR, metro area. She moved to Albuquerque in June, 2010. Her introduction to dance was at the age of 3 in a community center in Covina, CA, learning the hula; she has had a passion for dance ever since.
Natalie began her training at age 5 in classical ballet and jazz at the Laurel Valley School of Dance in the rural countryside outside Hillsboro, OR. Natalie danced on Valley Catholic’s High School Charisma dance team, making the 2003 All State Dance Team, and was the lead dancer for the high school musicals Damn Yankees, South Pacific, Annie, and Bye Bye Birdie. She also played Anne Frank in The Diary of Anne Frank and Dorothy in The Wizard of OZ.
During this time, Maria Moreno-Ferrin (founder of Northwest Conservatory of Dance, formerly known as Portland Community Ballet), took Natalie under her supervision and mentorship, training in classical Russian and American ballet as well as Ballet Folklorico de Mexico and musical theater. Under Maria, Natalie danced in productions of the Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Ballet Folklorico traditional showcases and community outreach performances. During her collegiate career, Natalie danced with the Oregon State University dance team and College Ballet Association. Natalie went on to pursue a training and apprenticeship program with the Oregon Ballet Theater, danced with the Portland Trail Blazers and Portland Chinooks dance teams, and coached West View and Valley Catholic High School dance teams. Upon moving to Albuquerque, NM, Natalie danced with Dance Expose and is now certified in the Leap N’ Learn ballet curriculum for children 2-8 years old through SiSu® Dance Academy.
Natalie is also a registered dental hygienist. She has a Bachelor’s in General Science with an emphasis in genetics and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health in epidemiology. Her outside interests include running, yoga, gardening, spending time with her family and pets, and bronze sculpting. She has a profound appreciation for the performing arts and wishes to continue dancing and educating for many years to come.
Dr. Amy McConnell, Ed. D.
Executive Assistant/Artistic Staff
Amy began dancing at the age of 3 and danced for many studios in the Albuquerque area. She received most of her training under Ms. Patricia Dickinson and Mrs. Suzanne Johnston at the Dance Theater of the Southwest and New Mexico Ballet Company.
Through her time there she studied ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, modern and hip hop. She was blessed to learn from the amazing talents of Bill Evans, Rosalinda Rojas, Deanna Encinias, Mel Tomlinson, Mark Yonally, and Melissa Hayden of the Balanchine Foundation.
After leaving the New Mexico Ballet Company, Amy went on to dance at the University of New Mexico for the nationally competitive collegiate dance team, the Chaparrals.
While at UNM, Amy received her Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medicine and then her Master of Education in Secondary Science. Amy obtained her Doctor of Education in Leadership and Organizational Change. Her research focuses on school administration supporting their teachers' mental health and well-being, specifically in an online environment. Amy serves as the Student Dean for an online K—12 school.
Amy is married to a handsome fire chief, Mark, and the two of them have two children, Kassidy and Parker. Amy focuses on teaching some of SiSu’s youngest dancers and is certified in Leap N’ Learn and Acrobatic Arts Pre-School. Amy enjoys being involved in The SiSu® Dance Company and has appreciated the opportunity to share the stage with her daughter.
Kaitlyn McLeod began dancing at the age of 4. She was trained at Alwin’s School of Dance, Magnify Dance Center, Fishback Dance Studio, and Marin Dance Theatre. Kaitlyn held the dance captain position of Eldorado High School dance team where she also cheered.
Kaitlyn has performed and competed in ballet, pointe, jazz, modern, Pom, and military styles. In addition, she has tested and passed Cecchetti student exams up to Grade V. She trained under Megan Nicko from the age of 12.
She is currently studying at UNM for a BA in Criminology and Psychology. Kaitlyn has a strong passion for dance and strives to help dancers at SiSu® Dance Academy grow into strong beautiful dancers.
Faith has been dancing since the tender age of 2. Under the tutelage of her mother, Megan Nicko, she is trained in the genres of Cecchetti, Ballet, Pointe, Variations, Jazz, Contemporary, Acrobatics, Tap, Hip Hop, and Musical Theatre. Faith has successfully passed her Cecchetti Grades l-lV and is currently preparing for the Grade V exam. She has taught classes for 5 years and is working on her assistant training with Acrobatic Arts. In addition to her formal training, she has studied with DeCruz Ballet in summer programs in Canada, Wisconsin, and San Antonio.
Faith has performed in recitals and productions and played various lead roles in The Voice of Christmas and A Journey Through Storybooks, with SiSu® Dance Company. She also performed in Moscow's Nutcracker in 2017. She consistently participates in competitions such as YAGP and UBC.
Faith is in High School, attending Ignite Christian Academy.
Professionally, she has finished her teacher's training with Leap'N Learn. Faith teaches Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, and Acrobatics.
Victoria Santangelo began dancing at the age of 4.
She has trained in Ballet, Cecchetti, Pointe, Variations, Cross Conditioning, Tap, and Jazz.
Victoria has performed in several productions and attended competitions under SiSu® Dance Company.
Victoria began her training at Alwin School of the dance. She has trained with Megan Nicko for 9 years. She has currently passed her required training in the Leap 'N Learn Curriculum to teach for SiSu® Dance Academy. She has a natural talent for teaching and she loves working with our youngest dancers.
Victoria has passed her student Cecchetti Grades l-lV and is currently studying for her Grade V exam.
Victoria currently attends high school and plans on teaching dance and furthering her education at college.
Amie is so excited and honored to become a part of the SiSu® dance family as a hip hop teacher!
She has been dancing for upwards of 18 years, loving everything from ballet to jazz and musical theatre. Due to frequent moves, Amie has trained in many different studios and readily incorporates all those influences into her teaching style.
She believes hip hop and street dance are some of the most influential ways dancers grow confidence in themselves, their personal styles, and their abilities as stage performers, no matter what age or experience level.
Amie cannot wait to continue to grow and learn with SiSu® Dance Academy, as well as fill the studio with fun and new experiences for everyone!
Megan Thomas grew up in Albuquerque and competed at Fishback Studio. In high school, she was a captain of the St. Pius Dorados Dance Team. She has trained in all styles of dance from various studios and received scholarships to attend summer intensives at the Joffrey School and Broadway Artists Alliance in New York.
Megan studied at the University of Minnesota on a dance scholarship. During her first 2 years, she was a member of the Premier Dance Team. In Minneapolis, she performed alongside Dua Salah at a Timberwolves game, as well as in the University's Dance Theater production and several shows as an apprentice with Crash Dance Productions.
She has choreographed for multiple studios in her hometown, the St. Pius Dorados Dance Team, and has been a student choreographer for Crash Dance Productions.
Along with guest teaching at numerous studios in Albuquerque and Minneapolis, she currently teaches at The Vibe Dance and Fitness and Hothouse Studio.