Tempe Dance West's Dance Instructors

School Director - Michael Cook


Michael owns and Directs Tempe Dance West and is Co-Director of the Tempe Dance Company, in Tempe, AZ. The school is nationally recognized for their outstanding technique and innovative choreography. His students have been accepted to some of the most prestigious schools in the country, including School of American Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet, Exploring Ballet with Suzanne Farrell, Boston Ballet and the Juilliard School, many with full scholarships.

Michael is currently a Principal Dancer with the Suzanne Farrell Ballet, based out of the John F. Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He received his dance training from the Tempe Dance Academy and the School of American Ballet in New York. From 1999 to 2007, Michael was a dancer Ballet Arizona where he originated roles in Artistic Director Ib Andersen's Romeo and Juliet (Romeo), Mosaik and Swan Lake (Prince Siegfried). His repertoire includes works by Paul Taylor, Julia Adam, Twyla Tharp, Dwight Rhoden, Maurice Bejjart, Jerome Robbins and George Balanchine. He has also appeared as a principal guest artist with Cincinnati Ballet and Dances Patrelle.

Michael is excited to share his love and passion for dance with all the students at Tempe Dance West.

Children's Creative Director - Trishelle Dwyer


Trishelle Dwyer has been a part of Tempe Dance Academy since the age of 11, where she was able to perform and travel abroad with the studio. She was 4th runner-up and 1st runner up in the Miss Arizona Pageant, leading her to become a successful pageant coach and judge.

Trishelle is also an accomplished singer. She has recorded an album with her father, jazz musician Danny Longo, under the label Capitol Records. You can catch them singing every Friday in Scottsdale.

Trishelle is very interested in how dance can benefit children both physically and intellectually. She is excited to be the Children’s creative Director and work with young dancers at Tempe Dance West year after year and enjoys watching the kids train,perform and grow as a strong person.

Dance Instructor - Paola Hartley


Paola was born in Bonn, Germany, and grew up in South Africa and Chile, where her parents danced for P.A.C.T. Ballet and Ballet de Santiago. She studied at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts with Melissa Hayden, Duncan Noble, Gyula Pandi, Dianne Markham and Trish Casey.  In 1993 she joined Ballet de Santiago with Marcia Haydée as her director and in 1997 Paola was promoted to soloist.

Paola joined Ballet Arizona as a Principal Dancer in 1998, under the directorship of Ib Andersen. Her modern repertoire includes pieces by Kevin O'Day, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp, Julia Adams, Moses Pendleton, and Dwight Rhoden.  Full length productions include Odette/Odile in Swan LakeJuliet in Romeo and JulietThe Sylph in La Sylphide, and Kitri in Don Quixote. She has premiered leading roles in Ib Andersen's productions including A Midsummer Night's DreamPlay, and  Indigo Rhapsody.  Her Balanchine repertoire includes Theme and VariationsAllegro BrillanteApolloSerenadeDivertimento No. 15Duo ConcertanteStravinsky Violin Concerto, and Rubies. Paola joined The Suzanne Farrell Ballet in 2013.  She has performed the leading roles with The Company in George Balanchine's Pas de DixTempo di Valse,  Episodes (Symphony and Concerto), Agon (2nd Pas de Trois), and Paul Mejia's Romeo and Juliet.