Samantha A. MacNaughton-Vachon, Artistic Director and Owner
Samantha is the owner and artistic director of Step Above Most Dance Center. In addition to owning and operating her own studio, Samantha is also the Professor of Tap at Plymouth State University. Samantha begin her training in ballet at four years old and continued to add to her repertoire as she got older. What started at a single ballet class one a week blossomed into a life long passion of the arts, encompassing jazz, tap, pointe, hip-hop contemporary and modeling. At the age of six samantha was selected as the youngest member of the NH Ballet Ensemble which would be the first of many opportunities to perform all over the state with other talented dancers.
Sam spent her summers honing her skills with some of the greats. After being accepted at several international dance camps, Samantha chose to split her summers between Burklyn Ballet Theatre and Gus Giordano's annual World Congress. It was at Burklyn that she trained with greats like David Howard, Cherie Noble, Arthur Leeth, and Angela Whitehill. Samantha MacNaughton-Vachon was chosen as a soloist in several of the performances there and was invited to perform in the annual Edinburgh Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland. At the World Congress Sam trained with Gus and Nan Giordano, Suzanne Quinn, Joe Tremaine, Frank Hatchett, Patsy Swaze, and numerous members of Gus Giordano's Company. Sam was invited and performed in Gus Giordano's Choreography competition at just seventeen years old.
Samantha studied tap under the direction of Aaron Tolson (Soloist with Riverdance) and Michelle Tolson (Radio City Music Hall Rockettes). She was fortunate to meet and study with Savion Glover and was selected as a soloist in his first big show, "Getting Hip To The Tap Hop."
Samantha was awarded scholarships to Point Park College, Mercyhurst, the University of Oklahoma, Goucher, and the Rock School. Her numerous awards include Dance Masters of America scholarship winner in Ballet, Jazz and Pointe, Miss Headliner (regional winner), Miss Dance Ovations, American Dance Awards Miss Dance (regional winner), American Dance Awards High Score Solo, Nominated to the National Dance Council of America and a former Miss Capital Area (prelim to the Miss New Hampshire pageant.)
Samantha taught at numerous studios in and around the NH area for ten years. Samantha loves owning her own studio and watching her young students blossom into beautiful dancers.
Kirstin Vanbuskirk started dancing at age six at the Deborah MacKay School of Dance in Webster, NY. By the age twelve she had been awarded First Place recognition at the Showstopper National Talent Competition in Toronto, Canada and a "Beautiful Feet" award at the American Dance Spectrum for her solo ballet piece, as well as a First Place finish at Showstopper National Talent Competition for group tap. At age twelve she spent her first summer away from home to take part in The Pennsylvania Ballet's summer program in Philadelphia. At fourteen, she received a scholarship to attend a summer session at Point Park College in Pittsburgh, PA. At fifteen she became a student demonstrator at her home studio and was also able to begin student teaching there as well.
In 1996 Kirstin and her family moved to Exeter, New Hampshire and she enrolled in classes at Ballet New England in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. It was here that she was able to study under the direction of Mihailo (Misha) Djuric and future Director Angela Sears. After high school Kirstin was accepted to the University of New Hampshire where she studied ballet with C. Larry Robertson (Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet) as well as tap and jazz with Gay Nardone (Rockettes at Radio City Music Hall). During her college years she also studied with Barbara Mullen and performed with the New England Dance Ensemble. She performed in UNH Dance Showcases and with the UNH Ballet Company from 2001 to 2003. She graduated from UNH in 2003 with an B.S. in Business Administration (Whittemore School of Business and Economics) and a Minor in Dance.
After a few years in Southern Massachusetts, Kirstin has returned to New Hampshire permanently and is excited to begin the new year of dance at Step Above Most!
Jordan Garboski has been a student of Miss. Sam's, since the age of six. She began her dance and cheer training simultaneously. All the while Jordan was honing her tap, jazz, and hip hop skills with Sam she, participated in "Celebrity Cheer" aka "ECE" and went on to compete with MVMS Cheer and the varsity cheer team at Goffstown High School. It is within those organizations where she competed in over 75 competitions, giving her a great eye for national trends and current styling. Jordan was chosen as a freshman for the Varsity Team by Lisa Laliberte-Bocci who also named her as the Point Dancer. She helped the team earn five state championships as well as a second place finish at Regional's.
Jordan graduated in the top of her class and was named a New Hampshire Scholar, all while dancing at the studio multiple hours a week and Captaining the Goffstown High School Varsity Cheer team. She is currently attending the University of New Hampshire Manchester and is very excited to share her passion for dance and cheer to the students of Step Above Most.