top of page


Wende Warne DIRECTOR


Sandie Fukes DIRECTOR

Sandie is co-owner and artistic director of the United Academy of Performing Arts will be celebrating her 45th year of teaching dance at this years Recitals in June. She has been a member of Dance Masters of America for 40 years, and is also on  the Board of Directors, the Executive Board and is Vice President of Chapter #8, Western New York State Council of Dance Masters of America. Sandie has taught workshops for DMA and NAADA, and has judged for several dance and country fair competitions in the Upstate New York area, and most recently she judged the Florida Invitational Dance Competition. She has also choreographed several musicals in a number of high schools in the Utica and Syracuse areas, and was chosen "2003 Teacher of the Year" at the Rochester Invitational Dance Competition.

Several of Sandie's former students have gone on to become dance teachers themselves, were dancers on Cruise ships, performed with professional dance companies and ballet companies. Numerous students hold all sorts of dance titles from several of the Dance Organizations and competitions. Several dancers from the Academy of the Performing Arts have competed at the New York State Fair held in Syracuse and won the award at the Talent Showcase entitled "New York State Fair Grand Champion". Sandie has studied all forms of dance with a number of teachers... Jack Stanley, Johnny Plaza, Luigi, Frank Hatchett, Charles Kelley, Jo Rowan, Danny Hoctor, Roni Jo Mahler, Tom Ralabate, Debbie Dee, Brian Foley and Savion Glover to mention a few.

Sandie is a member of Dance Masters of America, Dance Educators of America and the Professional Dance Teachers Association, and is the founder and co-director of the Mohawk Valley United Dance Competition.

Over the 45 years, Sandie has taught thousands of students the "art of dance". She is a very dedicated teacher and become best known for her continuous efforts in developing and instilling in every child she instructs, the same love of dance that she herself possesses. Her philosophy continues to stress to every child in dance to be the best that they can be, to appreciate the talents they have, and to always enjoy and have fun while dancing. This is known as the true love for dance...always dancing from within.

Rebecca Skinner  Teacher/Choreographer


Christina Toper Burns  Teacher/Choreographer

I grew up with dance and gymnastics as part of my life. I am a third generation to be instructing dance to all ages as part owner of Empire Center of Dance and I was in my first recital at the age of 21 months. Through the years I have studied Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Acrobatics, Hip Hop, Modern, Flamingo, and gymnastics. I completed and won numerous awards throughout the years. I have studied in New York City and various workshops with the following teachers: Dave Scott, Mia Michaels, Brian Freedman, Shea Sullivan, Charles Kelly, Savion Glover, Tom Ralabate, Mara Merrit, Frank Hatchet, Mike Minery, and Katherine Sullivan to mention a few.


Many of my Students have won top honors and awards at Regional and National Competitions, and many of my dance numbers have won top entertainment and choreography awards. I have been the choreographer for half hour shows on the Carnival Cruise Line. I truly enjoy teaching all levels of dance and love to see the students learning and conquering new moves, to watch their excitement as they progress in the art of dance.

bottom of page