Tell us about your dance training and education:
I started taking ballet lessons when I was 8 in a small studio in Connecticut by our house. My mom was my first ballet teacher. From there I went to Connecticut Dance School in Southport, CT and then on to Nutmeg Conservatory of the Arts in Torrington, CT. After graduation I moved to Utah and danced at the University’s Ballet Department. Throughout the years I studied at summer programs such as the Kirov Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, American Repertory Ballet, Nutmeg, and Valentina Kozlova’s NY Intensive.
What is your favorite dance you’ve ever performed?
Adult Clara in the Nutcracker. Our teacher choreographed the Nutcracker produced for TV with Baryshnikovand Gelsey Kirkland (way before I was born sometime in the 80’s). She had the choreography rights to reproduce it at Nutmeg, so I got the chance to perform the original choreography. Watching the original was so inspiring, it made Nutcracker all the more challenging and fun.
We also did a more contemporary piece one spring called “The Slice.” It had everything from dancing pizza dough, to an Italian couple dancing to Lou Monte songs, to a full blown pizza tutu. It was crazy and so much fun to rehearse! (Our teacher even gave us a pizza party after our last rehearsal)
What’s the funniest/oddest/craziest thing that’s happened to you during a performance?
During a dress rehearsal for Nutcracker when I was dancing with Nutmeg Ballet, I was wearing a costume that consisted of a bodice, skirt, and dance briefs. Halfway through the first act pas de deux one of the hooks on the bodice got stuck on my prince’s cuff link and my skirt fell off! We were rehearsing with the orchestra on a very tight schedule so we couldn’t stop at any point of the run through. I had to finish the whole dance while my partner tried to hold my skirt up. Later my teacher (with his very Russian accent) told me he didn’t know I was an exotic dancer. Ha. Ha.
Tell us about your favorite dance teacher?
My favorite dance teacher was Scott Thyberg, who I studied with while I was at Nutmeg. He ran his rehearsals like a company and I just loved it. He always pushed me to my craziest limits, and knew just when to give people a little self esteem boost so that they would have the confidence to reach their goals.
Besides the physical, how has dancing affected you?Dancing has been a means for me to express my emotions and clear my head. I always loved performing- those were some of the best times of my life! I always felt like I could do anything when I was on a stage.
Why do you like teaching at Dance Concepts?
I like teaching at Dance Concepts because I want to share all that I have learned and pass it on to other dancers.
What makes you proudest as a dance teacher?
That moment where a student gets your correction and it clicks and they execute whatever it was perfectly…that makes me so happy!
What do you hope students say after taking a class from you?
“Oh my God that was so hard.”
What music do you listen to when you’re not teaching dance?
Such a variety- anything from rap to Ingrid Michaelson to John Mayer.