Dance Instructors


Mary Ann Fortune


Mary Ann Fortune has been studying dance since the age of 3. She continued her training throughout high school and at the age of 17 opened her studio in Mechanicville, NY. Mary Ann attended Union College in Schenectady, NY and continued to teach while advancing her own technical skills in dance. Upon receiving her B.S. degree in psychology she was able to devote herself full time to her ultimate dream - DANCE! Mary Ann continues to study today with master teachers for her own self-enjoyment, to perfect her technique, and to bring new and innovative ideas to her students. Mary Ann is proud to announce her dedication to the dancers of the Capital District.



Michelle Bafaro


Michele Bafaro has been dancing since the age of 3 studying tap, ballet and jazz from local studios in the capital region. Graduating with a degree in physical education she went on to work as an instructor at an area gym, continuing to teach dance fitness programs at a local studio and through continuing education programs at area schools. She introduced young children to gymnastics with a preschool program and at a local summer camp. Michele has been instructing at the studio for over 30 years and enjoys teaching gymnastics, tap, ballet and jazz classes to our youngest dancers through our adult students.


CLASSES TAUGHT BY MICHELLE: Tap, Ballet, Jazz and Gymnastics

Karen (Fox) Shufelt


Karen has been at Mary Ann Fortune’s Dance Studio for over 38 years, starting as a student, then assistant instructor and now an instructor. Karen graduated from Dean College with an A.A. in dance and a B.A. in Theatre/Dance. She was a Tap Instructor at Russell Sage College. Karen competed in dance at many NY County and State Fairs, Regional and National Dance Competitions. Karen has taken many master classes in different styles like Tap, Modern, Latin and Ballroom. When not at the studio, Karen enjoys time with her husband, Rob, and their boys Zebadiah and Therin.



Megan Pizzo


Megan has been dancing with Mary Ann Fortunes Dance Studio since the age of 2 1/2. Megan's passion for the art of dance became a reality when she started to compete at the age of 5. Throughout the next 13 years Megan won numerous awards within solo's, duet/trios, and groups. Early on Megan became a student teacher, and in 2007 she was asked to teach her first class on her own. Megan brings fun and innovated ideas to the kids throughout each class. Outside of dance Megan is a hair stylist in Clifton Park, and enjoys spending time with her family.



Chelsey Hayward


Chelsey started dancing with The American Dance Center at age three. She performed with the Phyllis Latin Dance Company throughout New York State and with the company in Russia and was one of two American dancers chosen to perform pointe solos with the Bolshi Ballet and Moscow Classical Ballet companies. She’s performed with the Moscow Ballet Company performance of The Nutcracker for several years. At 16 she was accepted on scholarship for summer intensive programs across the country, ultimately choosing the Joffrey Ballet Company. There she studied Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Tap and more. She has obtained an advanced level in Ballet and Jazz. She has been instructing for a total of 10 years, 7 of them teaching with Mary Ann Fortune.


CLASSES TAUGHT BY CHELSEY: List your classses taught here

Jennifer Manino


Jennifer Manino began her life-long love of dance at age 5. Attending private schools such as Walnut Hill and later a graduate of The HARID Conservatory. She also studied at: Joffrey Ballet School, Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet and Boston Ballet. Her professional career began touring the Broadway show Cinderella. She then joined Columbia City Ballet dancing soloist and principle roles. After two years at CCB, she went back to NYC and began performing for The Metropolitan Opera Ballet for eight seasons. Mrs. Manino attained a degree from New York University. She has taught for various schools including Miami City Ballet School and Joffrey Ballet School in NYC.



Victoria Karam

Victoria began dancing at the age of 5 at Eleanor’s School of Dance. After her first recital, she started competing at both regional and national competitions across the country until she graduated from Guilderland High School. From there, she went on to study Fashion Merchandising and Business at SUNY Oneonta. While at Oneonta, she continued to dance in both the Oneonta State Dance Team as well as the school’s Terpsichorean Dance Company where she choreographed for 3 years and also served on the Executive Board. After college, she moved to NYC to start her career in the Fashion Industry while also participating in a recreational dance company; DanceWorks NYC. Victoria has recently moved back to the Capital District area where she holds a full-time job in Marketing while also teaching Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz and Tap to students of all ages at our studio

CLASSES TAUGHT BY VICTORIA: Lyrical, Contemporary and Jazz

Gina Zappone


For over 22 years, Gina Zappone has been a member of the Mary Ann Fortune’s Dance Studio family. She started her dancing career at the age of 2 and began teaching exactly 20 years later. During her time at the studio, she was a competitive dancer and took classes in a variety of styles with a main focus in tap. It wasn’t until her later years of high school and throughout college that she found a love for hip-hop. Gina’s goal when teaching her students is to foster an environment that is fun, freeing and fierce. When she is not at the studio, you can find Gina choreographing, eating ice cream or spending time with her family and friends.



Office Staff

Gloria Berlin


Gloria Berlin graduated from Shenendehowa High School and from The College of Saint Rose, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. Gloria has worked as a Teacher, and as a Teller and Customer Service Representative for several local banks. Gloria has two daughters, Miranda and Kristina, who grew up dancing at Mary Ann Fortune’s Dance Studio from the ages of 2-18. Gloria has enjoyed being the Studio Manager at Mary Ann Fortune’s Dance Studio since 2017.