The Studio Staff

Here at ALDS, we provide your dancers with the best education available.  Not only are our teachers professionally trained as dance educators, but are required to continue their training to always bring you the latest material and freshest ideas.  Our teachers are certified by examination through Dance Master's of America's Teachers Training School at University of Buffalo in NY.  Many of our teachers are also Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified and continue training in specialty areas including Acrobatic Arts and more.  We are always seeking a higher level of training through conventions, master classes and personal training.

Alma-Lea Pace

Alma-Lea began her dance education at the age of 6 in her hometown and has continued to train and stay educated in the ever evolving art of dance. After opening Alma-Lea’s Dance Studio in July 1991, she continued to train and in 1997 received her Dance Masters of America Chapter Certification and was inducted into the New England Chapter of Dance Masters of America. In 2014, she received her Graduate Diploma from DMA’s Teacher’s Training School at S.U.N.Y. Buffalo receiving national certifications in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Modern & Acrobatics. Alma-Lea then continued her education to include becoming a Regional & Nationally certified examiner in all disciplines. Most recently, Alma-Lea was sworn in to the Board of Directors for Dance Masters New England and is on the Examinations Committee and is the current Membership Chairman. Alma-Lea also enjoys her time spent chaperoning the DMA Student Honors Intensive Program each summer. Alma-Lea is also a long time member of the Maine Dance Teacher Club. In 2009 received the R.E.M.M. Community Volunteer award for her dedication and commitment to the club. She is currently on the Vice President & a board member for MDTC. She has been involved in competitions for many years with her students bringing home several Overall High Score Awards, Judges Choice Awards, Outstanding Choreography Awards, National Dance Team Nominations, Regional Title holders and several special awards. Alma-Lea has trained several winning pageant contestants in talent including Little Miss Maine, Miss Maine and more. She has inspired many of her students to continue their dance careers in college or opening studios of their own. Her students have been awarded several scholarships and been accepted into prestigious performing arts programs such as Dance Olympus VIP Tour, The Joffrey School of Ballet & DMA's Student Honors Intensive.  She has also choreographed for East Auburn Baptist Church’s  “Christmas Spectacular” and “Event” Productions. Alma-Lea is also involved with many community events such as The Moxie Festival Performances. Alma-Lea hopes to always be able to inspire, educate and spread the knowledge she’s gained through dance to as many people as possible. Alma-Lea is First Aid/CPR certified and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.) certified.

Owner & Director, Choreographer
Jami Ames

Jami began taking dance classes at the age of three with Lionette Gagne before finding her home at Alma-Lea's Dance Studio in Lisbon, Maine under the direction of Alma-Lea Pace. Jami trained in ballet (Cecchetti & Vaganova), pointe work, jazz, tap, lyrical, and contemporary. She began instructing her own classes and choreographing competitive routines at age 16, winning high score, overall placement, and choreography awards. Her passion for dance education grew and she enrolled in Dance Masters of America's Teachers Training School at SUNY in Buffalo, NY. Jami received her graduate diploma from TTS in 2014, passing national exams in ballet, tap, jazz and modern. She is a member of Dance Masters of New England. Jami's students have gone on to receive highly recognized scholarship opportunities and have been accepted into collegiate dance and performing arts programs. Jami is CPR/First Aid certified and Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.) certified. She is also on staff as a competition judge with Impact Dance Adjudicators.

Assistant Director, Team Director, Choreographer
Jessica Philbrook

Jessi started dancing and tumbling locally at the age of 2. After six years, she pursued her interest in gymnastics until arriving at ALDS in 1999. Miss Jessi advanced quickly to Assistant Teaching and became a favorite among the young dancers. Specializing in Acrobatics, Hip Hop and her unique Tap style, Miss Jessi began her teaching career in 2009 as well as graduating from Capilo School of Hair Design with a license in cosmetology. She loves helping her students grow in their passion for dance and enjoys assisting each of them in reaching their goals. Miss Jessi holds a graduate diploma from Dance Masters of America Teachers Training School passing national exams in Acrobatics, Ballet, Tap, Modern & Jazz.  Jessi is a member of Dance Masters of New England. She continues her dance education by attending ALDS Alumni classes, Dance Masters of America classes, Maine Dance Teachers workshops, and most recently has begun attending The Exchange, a Hip Hop event in southern Maine. In 2013, through the many requests of some close friends, Miss Jessi began private training for some of the families at The Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. That summer, she began Jessica’s Dance Factory and every summer since it has grown out of every local space and recently landed a home at ALDS studios. Miss Jessi is Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.) certified, First Aid/CPR certified and a Acrobatic Arts Module 1 certified teacher. Miss Jessi and her husband, Eric, reside in Auburn.

Corrie Minchin

Corrie began her training with baton at the age of 6 and was in competitions by the age of 8. She has earned 4 Maine State Championships and was named Miss Majorette of Maine. At age 11, she began her dance education and continued to the competition team at Alma-Lea’s Dance Studio. Corrie has also been involved with the pageant circuit where she was crowned Miss ME Hemisphere, Regal Miss Maine, Miss Topsham Fair and Miss Brunswick. Corrie has been teaching for ALDS for many years and in 1998 received her Dance Master's of America, Inc. certification and was inducted into the New England Chapter of Dance Master’s of America. She is a graduate of DMA's Teacher Training School passing national exams in ballet, tap, jazz and modern. Miss Corrie also graduated Summa Cum Laude from University of Southern Maine with her degree in Nursing. Miss Corrie resides in Topsham with her husband, Shane, and her 3 boys.

Candace Whitten

Candace began dancing at Alma-Lea's Dance Studio in 1994 at the age of 7, and is known for her acrobatics technique. In 1996 she joined the competition team, competing both regionally and nationally, and continued to study ballet and tap throughout college at the University of Maine. She works full time at a high school in health education and has a masters degree in Public Health from the University of New England. Miss Candace is graduate of DMA's Teachers Training School passing national exams in ballet, tap, jazz and modern. Dancing and working with children are her two passions in life!

Cassie Pace

Being Alma-Lea's youngest daughter, Miss Cassie has been apart of ALDS since the beginning. She began taking classes at the age of 3 and started dancing competitively at the age of 7. Cassie has been trained in ballet, pointe work, jazz, tap, lyrical, hip-hop, acrobatics and contemporary. Throughout her competitive career she has won various high score awards at regional and national competitions in the New England area. Cassie has continued her dance education by taking various classes from master teachers at Broadway Dance Center (NYC) and through Dance Masters of Americas Student Honors Intensive Program. Cassie has choreographed for many ALDS productions, recitals and our competitions team. Cassie's love for children doesn’t stop in the dance studio. Cassie is a dedicated volunteer with International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ), traveling to India twice (so far). She taught English to children living in severe poverty. Cassie is currently on staff with Hall of Fame Dance Challenge, traveling nationally with their sales faculty as well as a DJ and MC.

Choreographer, Substitute Teacher

Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Y.P.A.D. Studio

1)  Y.P.A.D. Certified Educators have completed all Safety & Wellness modules
2)  Y.P.A.D. Certified Educators are CPR & First Aid Certified and have passed a thorough background check
3)  We agree to follow a professional code of conduct & are mandated reporters
4)  We are trained in conflict resolution, dance injury prevention & safety
5)  We agree to use age appropriate costuming and music for both class & stage

Office Staff

Lynn Thompson

Crystal Baillargeon (Office Mgr)

2021/2022  Teacher's Apprentice Program

Kayla A.  (T.A.P. IV)      Helena K.  (T.A.P. III)      Anna D.  (T.A.P. I/II)