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Niagara Royalettes Staff

Judy Evans is the owner and director of the Niagara Royalettes Majorettes Baton and Dance Studio. She started the studio 38 years ago in 1977. Judy has been teaching baton twirling and dance lessons for forty years. Her dance training began at age four with Carol Peacock. She took classes with with Carol for 12 years and was also an assistant teacher at her studio until her retirement in 1974. Judy also studied with nationally renowned tap teacher Beverly Fletcher for 15 years, Tom Ralabate (UB Dance Professor) and still takes teacher classes with Barb Denny and attends dance seminars. Judy's baton twirling lessons started at the age of 9 with Pat Bragg (Twintonettes). She has also been coached by AnnNita McDonald (Indiana), a former national champion and nationally known teacher of champions. Judy is a former New York State Baton Twirling Champion and finished in 3rd place in Miss College Majorette of America. She was inducted into the New York State Baton Twirling Hall of Fame in 1995. She had the opportunity to choreograph the Citrus Bowl Halftime Show in 1993 and 1994. Judy is also a certified coach and judge with the National Baton Twirling Association (NBTA). Her students have successfully competed at several New York State Baton Twirling Championships and America's Youth on Parade (AYOP- the National Baton Twirling Championships for NBTA) at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, winning many titles. They have also competed at the AAU Junior Olympics, Twirlmania in Florida and Twirling Unlimited International Championships. In 2009 she traveled to Gent, Belgium for the World Baton Twirling Championships with her student, Jeff Matiash, who won a bronze medal in Senior Men's freestyle. Her students have also performed at the Florida Citrus Bowl, World University Games, Niagara University and University of Buffalo basketball/football games, Lewiston Peach Festival, Niagara County Fair, Fantasy Island and area nursing homes. The Royalettes have also marched in local parades for 35 years. Judy is also a wife, mother and grandmother. Her son and daughter-in-law, Michael and Dana Evans, welcomed their first child, David Evans, on June 10, 2010. You can contact Judy at jevans@niagararoyalettes.com.

 

Dawn (Simpson) Smith currently teaches ballet, jazz, hip hop, pointe, and tumbling at the dance studio. Dawn has been a member of the Niagara Royalettes family since she was five years old! She attended Niagara University and graduated with a B.A. in Early Education and minored in English and Dance. Dawn also completed her Master's degree in Literacy Education. She was the 2002 recipient of the Monica Senese Scholarship at the dance studio. Dawn is an AFAA certified fitness instructor and certified Zumba Fitness instructor as well. She teaches fitness and dance classes for local schools and fitness centers. Dawn loves teaching classes in the studio she grew up in, and is proud to teach not only dance, but confidence and important life skills to our young dancers. You can contact Dawn at dsimpson@niagararoyalettes.com or dawnmsmith7@yahoo.com.

 

Jeffrey Matiash currently teaches the Intermediate and Advanced jazz, hip-hop and tumbling classes, and is also the choreographer and coach of the baton twirling competition teams. Jeff began classes with the Niagara Royalettes in 1993 at the age of 3. He has won numerous state and national titles as a solo baton twirler, as well as in team events, with the Niagara Royalettes. Highlights of his competition career include winning the National Young Boy's Solo Championship in 1997, being the 2014 National Senior Men's Rhythmic Twirl Champion, and being a member of the 2003 National Senior Half-time Championship team with the Niagara Royalettes. His biggest win came at the 2009 World Baton Twirling Championships in Gent, Belgium, where he won the Bronze Medal in the Senior Men’s Rhythmic Twirl division. He is also a former member of the competitive baton team, Crescendo, coached by Kelli Russell and Chelsea Potter. Jeff graduated from Niagara University in May 2011 with a B.A. in History and a minor in Dance. In December 2010, Jeff took part in the NU Theatre Department’s original production, Dance Theatre of Niagara, in which he was a lead in the tap and ballet numbers as well as a part of the ensemble jazz piece. Outside of the studio, Jeff has also helped choreograph local musical theatre productions, including Theatre in the Mist's Mary Poppins and Tonawanda High School's production of Jekyll and Hyde. Jeff is the web designer and social media manager for the studio and also edits music for many of the groups. He was a 2005 recipient of the Monica Senese Scholarship and has enjoyed every minute of being a part of the Niagara Royalettes family. You can contact Jeff at jmatiash@niagararoyalettes.com.

 

Natalie Manning currently teaches the youngest groups of children at the Niagara Royalettes studio. This is her third year teaching the beginner tap, baton and jazz classes and she was previously an assistant teacher for five years. She joined the Niagara Royalettes family at the age of 3 in 2001, and she still takes tap, jazz, hip hop, and ballet at the studio, and is still a member of the Senior baton competition team. Natalie was the 2011 recipient of the Monica Senese Scholarship. Natalie is going to graduate from Buffalo State College in 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. For any questions, please contact Natalie at nmanning@niagararoyalettes.com.

 

Allison Ewert is in her fifth year of assisting at the studio. She currently takes tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop and baton classes. She was the 2007 recipient of the Monica Senese Scholarship, and is in her senior year of high school at Niagara Wheatfield. Allison has won multiple Beginner and Intermediate State, Regional, and National titles, including 2018 Intermediate National 2-Baton Champion (Age 16) and 2018 Intermediate Senior National Duet Champion, with Caroline Weaver.

 

Amanda Micale has been a part of the Niagara Royalettes family for 15 years. She has taken all of the classes offered over the years, currently taking tap, jazz, hip-hop, ballet, and pointe classes and was a member of the Senior baton competition team until 2015. She currently is in her third year of assisting Miss Dawn's jazz, hip-hop, ballet, and pointe classes. Amanda graduated from Niagara University in 2016 with a Bachelor's Degree in Tourism and Destination Management and currently is a General Manager of Holiday Inn Express. In 2013, Amanda was the recipient of the Monica Senese Scholarship.