Irma Baker

    Irma’s teaching career began with her 1st Dance Recital in July of 1935 at the Eastern Star Hall in Albany. Over the next 80 years, her Studio migrated from Albany to Marathon to Auburn to Red Creek to Camillus to Seneca Falls to Clifton Park and finally to Scotia. Her former students have gone on to become Tony Award Winners, Rockettes, Broadway Dancers and Dance Studio Directors.

       In 1997, Irma was honored by the Dance Masters of America with their 50 Year Membership Award. During her esteemed career, she served as Secretary, Vice President and President of the Dance Masters Chapter 8, on the Board of Directors for Chapter 26 and as a part of the Membership Examining Staff.

In April of 2007, the Rochester Institute of Technology honored Irma for her outstanding dedication to her students after being nominated by her then 14 year old student Kate Page. One month later, Irma received a citation from New York State behind the sponsorship of Senator Farley. Irma, class of 1939, was also sighted in Maryville College’s Focus Magazine as an “ICON” for her lifetime career in dance.


June 10, 1917 - November 9, 2015

Denise Baker

    Denise is the studio owner of the Baker School of Dance, and teacher of ballet, jazz, tap, Broadway & Wedding choreography. A Purdue University graduate, with a degree in Psychology, she spent over a decade writing grants, and directing Human Services programs. Over her career she has served as Director of Dance for the Empires State Youth Institute of Performing Arts at the Egg; Choreographer for numerous musicals for the Schenectady Light Opera Company, Lake George Theater & Local High Schools; Choreographer for the St. Lucia National Youth choir and Director of Dance Enrichment program at the Brown School. Denise is a certified teacher of Tai Chi, which she has taught locally, and in Oregon and the Caribbean. Denise choreographed last years "Mary Poppins", at Voorheesville HS, the production won the High School Musical Awards for best Choreography 2017. In her youth, Denise won 1st in Western NY trampoline and 3rd in Miss Dance of America. Denise provides financial scholarships each year to those in need. She thanks her mother, Irma Baker, who live to be a "dancing 98" for this joyful legacy.


Kyle Hatfield

   Kyle is the daughter of Denise and Granddaughter of Dance School Founder Irma Baker. Dancing since the age of 2, Kyle grew up taking lessons from both before heading off the SUNY to pursue other interests and Collegiate Swimming. While away, the call of dance also spoke to Kyle, as shortly after college she decided to return to the Baker School of Dance, this time as an instructor.

Kyle is certified by the Dance Educators of America & Dance Masters of America. Besides teaching at the main studio, she also runs the satellite programs at the Schenectady Jewish Community Center, Albany Jewish Community Center and the Brown School in Schenectady. At the Glenville studio she teaches ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, broadway, ballroom and also heads the Baker School of Dance Performance Group - who travel the capital region performing their Hip-Hop focused numbers at venues such as Joe Bruno Stadium and the Times Union Center and events such as NiskaDay and the Scotia Memorial Day Parade. 



Joanne McFadden

Joanne McFadden has the privilege of working with our studio’s

youngest dancers, introducing them to the wonderful world of dance. Joanne grew up in California where she studied Irish dance, tap, jazz & ballet. At Goucher College in Baltimore, she further studied ballet & modern dance, while majoring in Russian & International Studies. Upon moving to the Capital Region in 1996, Joanne discovered the Baker School of Dance and the joys of passing on her passion for dance to the next generation. Outside of the studio Joanne works as a freelance journalist  and continues to pursue the knowledge of Consciousness Studies after receiving her Master's.

She'd also like to add “It is one of the great joys in my life to introduce our

preschoolers and kindergartners to the art of dance and watch them

learn new ways to express themselves through movement.” 



Amie Skoda

Not only does Amie teach Ballet, Tap & Jazz at our studio & the Schenectady JCC, but she's also our Social Media Manager! She has been dancing since the age of 2 with Denise & Kyle, even getting tips on her figure skating choreography. After Graduating High School she took an opportunity to work at Disney World before returning to the area to attend Saint Rose in pursuit of a Childhood/Special Education Degree. She will be teaching a few Summer Workshops, Wednesdays at the SJCC and you'll likely see her subbing occasionally at the Studio or taking a teen/adult class.

She'd also like to add "I feel that dance is such an amazing way to express yourself. No matter how I felt outside of the studio, I was able to come in and have fun and get everything off of my mind. Dance to this day brings me happiness and peace, and I love to be able to share that with the dancers that dance with me. I am so happy to be a part of this dance studio. It is like my second home. It is like one big happy family."



Jaimie Gardinier

Jaimie is our acrobatics specialist who discovered her love of dancing with Irma as a young girl. She then continued her acrobatics training with Denise at the Glenville Studio. Eventually she started assisting and then teaching while attending the College of Saint Rose. When she's not at the studio, she's applying her degree in Computer Information Systems for the Department of Information Technology in Albany. Besides teaching acrobatics, Jaimie continues to take lessons in Ballet, Jazz & Contemporary with Miss Erin. This year, she's team teaching an Acrobatics + Hip-Hop class with Miss Kyle on Saturday afternoons.





Dawn McCarthy

Dawn teaches our littlest students, welcoming them into the world of dance. She has been dancing since the age of 4 and continues as adult at The Baker School of Dance. She loves sharing her passion for dance with the children and her own daughter. Dawn as a degree from the SAGE Colleges in education. She lives in Scotia with her husband, son and daughter.