MEET THE SISU® DANCE ACADEMY TEAM

SiSu Dance Academy Staff

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"SiSu"

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.

Potential exists within all individuals.

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Sisu Dance Staff Albuquerque
Megan Berlint-Nicko

Megan Berlint-Nicko

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 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, Acrobatic’s, 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.
  • The Ballet Blog by Lisa Howell, Physiotherapist
  • The Band It’s by Sally Harrison, Physiotherapist
  • Sugarfoot Therapy, Physiotherapy
  • Acrobatic Arts - Level 1-7
  • Leap 'N Learn - Beverly Spells
  • PBT Level lll and former USA Director
  • Alixa Flexibility

CEU's:

  • 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.

Susan Berlint

Susan Berlint

Administrative Support

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. 

Gabrielle Browder

Gabrielle Browder

Artistic Staff

Gabrielle began dancing at the age of 2. She danced for multiple studios throughout the central Iowa area and has performed both recreationally and competitively throughout the Midwestern region. During this time she studied ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, lyrical, modern, hip hop, and acrobatics.

Gabrielle moved to Portales, NM for her high school education. While in high school, she participated in competitive cheer and musical theatre programs. She was given the responsibility to choreograph the musicals she participated in, including Thoroughly Modern Milly, The Addams Family, and Cinderella. Her choreography featured in The Addams Family was nominated by the NM Enchantment Awards for Best Ensemble.

Gabrielle relocated to the Albuquerque area in 2020 and is attending NMSU. She is studying for her Bachelors in Family and Child Science. She is excited to share her passion for dance while working at the SiSu® Dance Academy.

Meredith Brown

Meredith Brown

Artistic Staff

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 twelve years of age. 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 Marshall-Svoboda

Natalie Marshall-Svoboda

Artistic Staff

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.

Amy McConnell

Amy McConnell

Executive Assistant/Artistic Staff

Amy began dancing at the age of three and danced for many studios in the Albuquerque area. She received the majority 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 and 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 competitive collegiate dance team, the Chaparrals.

While at UNM, Amy received her Bachelor of Science in Emergency Medicine and then went on to receive her Master of Education in Secondary Science.

Amy is married to a handsome firefighter, Mark, and the two of them have two children, Kassidy and Parker.

Audrey McKee

Audrey McKee

Teacher

Audrey began dancing at the age of six at the local dance studio in her hometown of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. After finishing high school, she attended the University of New Mexico (UNM) where she incorporated the study of dance into her liberal arts curriculum.

In the years following her graduation from UNM, she danced with Albuquerque Ballet Company and trained with a variety of dance schools in Albuquerque.

She began teaching dance at the age of eighteen and has over twenty years of teaching experience. She has had the opportunity to attend Vaganova teacher training programs in California and Michigan. Throughout her teaching career she has continued to actively participate in technique classes and attend master classes.

Audrey is excited to be a part of the SiSu® Dance Academy Team which shares her commitment and dedication to the study, performance, and teaching of dance.

Kaitlyn McLeod

Kaitlyn McLeod

Artistic Staff

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 Nicko

Faith Nicko

Dancer/Assistant Teacher/Admin

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 working on her Grade V exam. She has demonstrated 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, such as 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 Streetz, YAGP, and UBC.

Faith is homeschooled and she now joins the SiSu Faculty as an admin in the office, as well as being an assistant teacher for our younger children's program.

Victoria Santangelo

Victoria Santangelo

Dancer/Artistic Staff

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.

505-226-1153

3321 CANDELARIA ST NE, ALBUQUERQUE NM 87107

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3321 CANDELARIA ST NE

ALBUQUERQUE NM 87107

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