Crystyl Mitchell-Fritz grew up dancing in Michigan and began working as a teacher directly after high school. She moved to NYC where she studied on multiple scholarships at Broadway Dance Center while working as a dancer and choreographer in the city. Her work spans across every genre of the industry and has been featured in Dancer and Dance Teacher Magazine.
CMF's resume includes the NY Knicks City Dancers, NYC Cher Farewell Tour After-Party, pop group Twenty One, R&B artist Camilla, Wella, Cedar Point Live Entertainment, Make Your Move. In addition, CMF has been a guest choreographer for dance programs, companies and workshops all over the state and country including MSU, Grand Valley, Western Michigan, Lansing Community College, Jamnation, Get Up and Dance, the PROJECT, Broadway Dance Center and many more.
Crystyl counts her students' accomplishments among her greatest achievements. Her students are featured throughout the entertainment industry and have been seen on Broadway in Mama Mia, The Producers, MTV Music Awards, Veggie Tales, The Wade Robson Project, feature films Across the Universe and Batman, Transparent, Lopez, Nickelodeon, VH1, MTV and NFL Halftime showcases to name a few.
She also has students studying all over the country in college dance programs, training in professional companies and contributing to the arts community as instructors and choreographers in LA, New York and more. She has won countless choreography awards and industry dance nominations and is a nationally recognized choreographer. CMF has been directing and training dancers in pre-professional dance companies for the last 20 years.
Crystyl is the proud owner of Great Lakes Dance Factory and Director of Great Lakes Dance Company - one of the premier pre-professional dance companies for talented youth in Michigan. CMF loves working with dancers of all ages and empowering youth to recognize their own unique potential through choreography, creative expression and storytelling.
Amy Cova, (MFA in Dance, U of M) is Artistic Director of Amy Cova Dance (ACD), contemporary dance ensemble splitting time between NYC and Michigan, often working in collaboration with musicians, composers and visual artists. Cova is on faculty at the University of Michigan and the Roeper School. She is a Facilitator for The Field (NYC) and a recent Groundwork Artist in Residence at Cora Dance in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Cova's movement vocabulary punctuates the highly physical with a quiet gestural sense evoking worlds of turmoil, confusion, hope and happiness in a single theatrical experience. Cova is interested in embodied text, oral histories, subjugated knowledge and personal reflections as they dialogue through evocative movement languages.
Amy Cova has been presented at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival Inside/Out, and throughout NYC at Dance New Amsterdam, the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center, Triskelion Arts, The Flea Theatre and The Irondale Center. Her work has been showcased at the Alvin Ailey Studio Theater, The Alchemical Theater Laboratory, the John Ryan Theater, Studio AIR, Dixon Place, Spoke the Hub, the Green Space, and the Detroit Institute of Art.
Cova has performed in works by Laura Dean, Daniel Gwirtzman, Rennie Harris, Alex Springer, Paul Taylor, and Ginger Thatcher, amongst others. She has most recently performed at WestFest All Over WestBeth (NYC) with compositional, improv dance cooperative, The Lovelies and Grand Rapids Ballet as part of Michigan Dance Festival's Maggie Allesee Choreography Competition.
Cova has been a faculty member/guest artist at numerous institutions, including University of Michigan, Manhattanville College, Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Oakland University, Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp, DTA, Gibney Dance Center (NYC) and Dance New Amsterdam (NYC). Her choreography has been presented internationally in Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica and Italy. She enjoys continued collaboration with composer Alvin Hill.
Great Lakes Dance Factory is excited to welcome Marissa Bellinger to our staff! Marissa grew up locally and danced in a pre-professional dance program for 12 years under the direction of GLDF owner/directory Crystyl Mitchell-Fritz. She has trained extensively in all genres of dance including jazz, tap, contemporary and hip-hop, as well as examined in Cecchetti Ballet throughout her youth. Marissa has participated in countless Regional and National dance competitions/workshops/conventions and has been awarded numerous awards and scholarships from her years as a competitive dancer. Marissa currently attends Oakland University with a major in Communication. While at the University, she is listed on the Dean's List and is projected to graduate in May 2020. She is excited to continue her dance journey at Great Lakes Dance Factory and to inspire a new generation of local youth with her talent, knowledge and love for dance.
Lauren comes to GLDF with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration/Marketing from Wayne State University. Growing up a sports person, Lauren is relatively new to the dance world, but quickly becoming a veteran Superfan.
At GLDF, Lauren manages all student accounts, maintains the website, handles everything in JackRabbit and records all results at each competition.
In her spare time, you can find Lauren doing bell kicks by the water, playing softball or hockey, or taking adult hip-hop.
"One of my favorite things about working with the GLDF families is how much of a true family environment it is. From the kids to the parents, everyone is welcomed in like family and supported on and off stage."