Dina Castelluccio (Director)

Dina Castelluccio began her training in Connecticut at the Stratford Center for the Performing arts. She went on to train at CT Dance Conservatory, Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and Dance New Amsterdam, where she trained with top NYC teachers. Dina is co-founder and artistic director of a contemporary company, Clarity in Motion, which has presented Falling Awake and Glass Houses. Her work as also been seen on stage at the Shakespeare Festival, as well as the Joyce Theater in NYC. She directed musical theater show Broadway Babes and has performed in Broadway in the Park. She was a member of Millennium Dance Company for a year and a half, under the direction of Devin Pulls at Perri Studios, NYC. Dina has judged at numerous cities for the dance competition, National Dance showcase as well as taught master classes at their national convention.

After living in New York City for 6 years as a professional dancer, she is now pursuing her career in Los Angeles. She teaches throughout the Los Angeles County area and continues to teach and choreograph throughout Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Dina has won numerous choreography awards and her work as been asked to perform at The Battle of the Stars, Star Power National Talent Competition. Dina’s performing credits include, Fefe Dobson’s music video Boy Friend, “The View” for Hilary Duff and Nelly Furtatdo, as well as The International Dance Gala in NYC.

 

Karen Nerkowski (Director)

Ballet, Modern & Children’s Division

Karen Nerkowski began her dance training in Connecticut and earned her BFA in Dance Performance and Elementary Education at Roger Williams University in Bristol, RI. She has been teaching and producing award-winning choreography in the Tri-state area for 12 years. In addition to her teaching, Karen is co-director of the professional company CIM dance, which is based out of NYC/L.A.

Karen’s choreography has been presented at The Joyce Theater/Dancin’ Dowtown at the Joyce (NYC), Shakespeare Arts Festival (CT), Uptown Performance Series (NYC) and several showcases/evening length performances around NYC and CT including: Stratford Theatre (CT) and Bridge For Dance (NYC).

Karen’s philosophy stems from her love of dance and the belief that all students have the ability to become dancers given the right tools and instruction. Karen motivates her students with the promise that with hard work, repetition, an open mind and a sense of humor anything is possible!

 

Meghan Daly

Ballet, Lyrical & Jazz

Meghan Daly has taught both ballet and Horton for the Bridgeport MACH/Ailey. She has choreographed for community theater productions of Meet Me in St. Louis, Guys and Dolls, Grease, and The Wiz. Meghan also teaches dance for the Lighthouse After School Program at Multicultural Magnet in Bridgeport. Meghan is a recent graduate of Fairfield University with a major in International Studies and minor in Russian and Eastern European studies. She was president of Fairfield University Dance Ensemble in which she also taught ballet, jazz, modern and lyrical. She was also a member of the Fairfield University Dance Team.

 

 

Deanna Ford

Ballet/Pointe

Deanna Ford’s training began in Tacoma, Washington with Jo Emery. She continued her dance studies on scholarship in NYC with School of American Ballet, Joffrey Ballet, Harkness Ballet and David Howard. Deanna started her professional career at age 19 as a soloist with Hartford Ballet Company. She also performed with New Jersey Ballet and was a ballet dancer for Radio City Music Hall productions. She has performed as an adagio dancer in Japan, Europe and throughout the United States. Her Musical Theatre credits include Kismet, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Animal Crackers and Sugar Babies. In NYC she was a cabaret dancer at the Rainbow Room in Peter Jackson’s Legs and Tony Stevens Skintight. Deanna performed as a Radio City Rockette on National Tour in Las Vegas and in the Christmas Spectacular Radio City Music Hall in NYC.

Ms. Ford currently teaches dance throughout the New York area as well as Master Classes nationally. Deanna believes that a strong technical background, versatility and a good sense of humor are the ingredients to becoming a successful dancer.

 

Sandy Canfield

Gymnastics & Creative

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly Kaleta

Tap

Kelly Kaleta started her dance training in Western MA at the age of 6, studying ballet, tap, jazz and hip hop before graduating from high school. While attending Boston University, she began teaching in the Boston area and throughout Massachusetts. She now teaches up and down the east coast and Canada, doing master classes and conventions, workshops and performances. She is a faculty member and choreographer for Gil Stroming’s Break the Floor, has done choreography for the Legacy Dancers and many competition groups, and her students have received numerous awards. In 2006, she was a cast member of Imagine Tap!, choreographed and directed by Derick Grant, and most recently can be seen in Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, a film written and directed by Damien Chazelle.

 

Kaylin Carlucci

Ballet, Tap, Jazz & Lyrical

Kaylin Carlucci began her dance training in Connecticut studying ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and modern. As a CDC student, Kaylin was a recipient of many awards including scholarships to Joffrey Ballet and The Ailey School.

Currently, Kaylin is pursing her B.F.A. in dance performance from SUNY Purchase. She has had the opportunity to train with and perform works by many well-known dancers and choreographers in the NYC area including: Bradley Shelver, Lindsey Dietz-Marchant, Jill Johnson, Kevin Wynn, Doug Varone, Alexandra Wells, Sidra Bell, Andrea Miller, Megan Williams, and others.

In addition, Kaylin has been teaching dance for the past five years in both New York and Connecticut. She has also worked with the Stratford Board of Education, researching “The effect of a dance education becoming part of Stratford’s physical education curriculum, K-12.” After graduating in December 2011, she plans on moving to New York City to start her professional career.

 

Kathy VanDereet

Jazz

Kathy VanDereedt is originally from Annapolis, MD. In 2004 she relocated to NYC to further her classical and contemporary training, with a focus on the study of human anatomy and how it translates to movement as the basis for her training. She has studied with some of New York’s top instructors and choreographers, and was a recipient of the IAP Scholarship at Broadway Dance Center. An original member of :pushing progress a company, Kathy appeared in their New York Debut BARE and danced three full seasons for the company, under the direction of Calen Kurka. Kathy has also had the privilege of assisting and performing under Chris Hale for the past four years, being seen most recently in Hoot!, and has also performed the works of Bryn Cohn, Maya Escueta, and Anna Vollmar. In 2010 Kathy traveled throughout the west coast with Shiroun Dance Company on their Nourish Through Movement Tour, as a featured dancer and company ballet director. As a teacher Kathy has taught at various workshops, studios and schools across the country, including Broadway Dance Center, and is currently on faculty with :pushing progress a workshop. Her choreography has garnered numerous honors and awards at showcases and competitions at the regional and national levels. She is a firm believer in training based on strength, understanding, and knowledge of the body and is passionate about bringing young dancers into this awareness.

 

Caroline Proto

Caroline Proto began her dance training at Connecticut Dance Conservatory studying ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern and musical theater. Throughout her time here she performed and competed nationally, receiving a number of awards and scholarships that enabled her to travel around the United States and study from a variety of teachers to further her training and performance experience.

Following her time at CDC, Caroline attended Marymount Manhattan College where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with dual BA degrees in Dance and Media as well as Communication Arts. Her dance curriculum included the traditions of R.A.D., Vaganova, Cecchetti, the French School, Martha Graham, Lester Horton, Alwin Nikolais, May O’Donnell and others. Following this curriculum allowed Caroline the opportunity to train and perform under the direction of Katie Langan, Nancy Lushington, Catherine Cabeen, Sheila Barker, Anthony Ferro, Geoffrey Doig-Marx, Juan Carlos Peñuela, Carolyn Eaton and others throughout her time there.

Caroline is thrilled to return to CDC and be a part of her students’ journey.

 

Maria Cherniske

Maria Cherniske was born and raised in Connecticut where she took her first class at the age of three. Since then, her passion for the arts has continued to flourish. In addition to being a performer, Maria has taught dance to students of all ages for the past thirteen years and is a coach for competitive level gymnastics.

Maria was a competitive gymnast trained by 2004 Olympic coach Alan Hatch and 2004 two-time Olympic silver medalist Annia Hatch. Following college, Maria continued her dance education at the Broadway Dance Center in New York. She trained under Rhapsody James in the 2012 winter session of Motivating Excellence. She is also a member of New York based dance companies Jamie J & Co and Humans Collective.

Maria has worked with choreographers such as Lisette Bustamante, James Jackson Jr, Dana Foglia, Rhapsody James, Luam Keflezgy, Kelly Peters, Derek Mitchell and Tanisha Scott. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall in an ad for Rocawear clothing, with super model Coco Rocha at NYC’s Fashion’s Night Out, on national television with Icona Pop and in a national commercial for the Wendy Williams show.  She was also recently a principal in a commercial for Affinity Bank. In addition, Maria has done work for Nike and Adidas. She appeared in Music Videos with popular up and coming artists and performed live with artists Matt Hunter, Carey Nokey, and L Michelle. Most recently, Maria was the assistant choreographer for Rob Thomas’ music video “I Trust You.”

Maria travels internationally to teach acro/tumbling and dance. In 2012 she was selected to be a mentor for the program Creating Opportunities (www.creatingopps.com) developed by world-renowned choreographers Lisette Bustamante and Chonique Sneed. Since 2012 she has been an adjunct professor in the Performing Arts Department at Sacred Heart University.

Maria is dedicated to perfecting her art and the love of performance. She believes that dance is the universal language and enjoys getting to know others and helping people get to know her through dance.
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Maria holds a B.A. in Psychology, Masters in Reading Education from Sacred Heart University. She is holds a Connecticut Teaching Certificate. She is certified through Fitness, Gymnastics and Acro federations (listed below).

Certifications:
AFAA Group Fitness Certified
bodyART Certified Instructor
Adult and Pediatric First Aid, CPR and AED certified
ACRO levels 1-6 through USA Gymnastics
USA Gymnastics Safety Certified – Artistic Gymnastics Coach

Website: www.MariaCherniskeDance.com

 

Jacob Taylor

Jacob Taylor is a graduate of the Ballet Performance Program at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music. He received extensive classical training at IU from Violette Verdy, Michael Vernon, Jaques Cesbron, Shawn Stevens and Guo Ping Wang. At IU his repertoire included ballets by George Balanchine, August Bournonville, Martha Graham, Agnes de Mille, Bronislava Nijinska, Dwight Rohden, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp and Antony Tudor. Taylor danced in the IU Opera Theater’s West Side Story and was commissioned to choreograph IU Opera Theater’s production of Cendrillon after his choreographic success within the Ballet Department. Taylor has also been commissioned to choreograph original works for Boulder Ballet and Colorado Ballet Academy. In addition to Ballet Performance Taylor studied dance pedagogy at IU and has taught ballet and jazz to multiple level students. Taylor has been a guest artist with Alabama Dance Academy, Boulders Dinner Theater, Colorado Ballet, Indiana Festival Theater and Indianapolis School of Ballet. He was a company member at Boulder Ballet for the 2014-2015 season and a a member of FJK Dance in Manhattan for the 2015-2016 season. Taylor received his formative training at Boulder Ballet School as well as such summer programs as American Ballet Theater, School of American Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Kaatsbaan, and Perry Mansfield.

 

Jessica Doman

Jessica Doman grew up dancing in Utah, since she was 3 years old. She danced at various studios, training in jazz, ballet, contemporary, tap and hip hop. Jessica from Brigham Young University (BYU), where she received a Bachelors degree in Exercise and Wellness with a minor in Contemporary Dance. She was a member of BYU’s Contemporary Dance Theatre (CDT). While a member of the CDT, She was able to travel with her company to Beijing, China to perform with Beijing Dance Academy at the National Theatre for Performing Arts. Jessica was also a member of the Odyssey Dance Theatre, a professional dance company based in Utah.

Jessica began her teaching career seven years ago, teaching in local studios, in Utah. She also taught college jazz classes at BYU while finishing her undergraduate program.

Jessica has a great love for dancing, as well as teaching dance. “I enjoy teaching dance because I love helping people reach their goals and potential. Nothing beats the look on a students face when they achieve things they never thought they could.”

 

David Reyes

David began dancing at the age of 13 training at local studios and working a lot on his hip hop foundation. At 17 years old he auditioned to be a part of Team Leggoo of Double Up Dance Company and has further since focused on performing and teaching. David’s training reaches from Broadway Dance Center of New York City to Movement Lifestyle of Los Angeles. He has had the opportunity to train under some incredibly talented individuals such as Joesar Alva, Will (Willdabeast) Adams, and Rob Rich. Along with his training he has also taught Hip Hop at several dance studios all across Connecticut, starred in a ‘Back to School’ commercial for Staples, several concept videos, and performed with Flo Rida live on Good Morning America.

David started out as a sub from time to time at Connecticut Dance Conservatory and the students took to him quickly. Not only has he focused on providing the students with knowledge but also creating connections with each of them individually.

He graduated from Housatonic Community College with an Associate’s Degree in Science and a Certificate in Health Career Pathways. David is also a certified fitness trainer through the ISSA and is a group training fitness instructor and cycling instructor. He currently teaches circuit and cycling at JoyRide Indoor Cycling Studio in Westport, Darien, and Wilton. David also teaches Teen Hip Hop at Double Up Dance Studio, is a party entertainer/dancer for DJ Productions and of course teaches several levels of Hip Hop here at Connecticut Dance Conservatory.

 

Anna Vollmar

Anna Vollmar has been working as a master teacher, choreographer, and Pilates
instructor for 10 years in New York City, where she was also an original member of Pushing Progress, a contemporary jazz company, under the direction of Calen Kurka. She has had the opportunity to perform and have her choreography on many stages all over NYC, Dublin, and in Monterrey, Mexico, where she lived and taught for a time.

Her other travels include teaching at professional studios and festivals in Milan, Florence, and at Studio Harmonic in Paris. She has taught at Broadway Dance Center and Peridance Capezio Center in New York, and is on faculty for the Pushing Progress educational programs. Anna can be seen in the BDC Live! Video series: Floorwork Volume I & II with Calen Kurka and Chris Hale as a featured dancer.

Ms. Vollmar has worked with students at numerous dance studios and companies throughout the U.S. as a teacher and choreographer, and tours as a professional judge for internationally known dance competitions, StarQuest, Hall of Fame, and Shine in Canada. Before relocating to New York City, she was a jazz instructor at Western Michigan University for a time and director of the dance company at a local studio in Michigan.

More recently, Anna’s passion for body awareness and biomechanics led her to study at the respected Kane School of Core Integration where she is fully certified in mat and equipment Pilates, and now a Teacher Trainer for the school. Her training is specialized with information in anatomy, biomechanics, touch therapy, and experience with all populations of people in addition to dancers.

Anna is proficient in contemporary, ballet, classic jazz technique, lyrical, and conditioning for dancers, and additional experience in pointe, musical theatre, tap, hip hop, modern. Her training in Pilates, Gyrokinesis, and yoga are fused into her warm-up and choreographic style. No matter what country Anna has visited, she has seen that the language of movement is universal and experiencing movement with others drives her passion for both teaching and for learning!