New York State Dance Education Organization

Thumbs Up!

Thumbs Up to these dance educators who have made important contributions to the community and to the field of arts education!



Thumbs Up to Marissa Adams!

Marissa graduated from Hofstra University in 2010 with a BS in Dance Education and received her MA from New York University for Theater Education in 2012.  She is currently working i na District 75 school where she created a dance and theater program for students on the Autism Spectrum at PS4@ Skillman in Queens.  She was also recently appointed to be a union delegate for her school and for the other sites that make up PS4.  She is currently studying  Dance Therapy at the 92nd Street Y with Dance Education Laboratory.  She also volunteers at Co/Lab, a theater company that creates original work with adults who have special needs.  She is the co-founder of Shining Studios, a place for actors, singers, and dancers of all ages and developmental abilities to come together to create and ex[;ore as an ensemble.  She still performs through various companies, but her most rewarding experience as a performer was at the First Annual Dance Educator's Concert at the 92nd Street Y in 2015 where she felt honored to be among so many passionate and talented educators working together to create dance and history.  


Thumbs Up to Lannette Alvarez for being passionately committed to dance education and sharing experiential knowledge. 

Lanette has received recognition as a good citizen through the Harold W. McGraw “Good Citizenship Award” and is the current Heather Watts Scholar in the Arnhold Gradate Dance Education Program at Hunter College. She is the founding Artistic Director of VueLA Performing Artists and is currently teaching middle school dance at The Urban Assembly Unison School in Brooklyn, NYC.   Her teaching credits include higher education at The City University of New York at Borough of Manhattan Community Collegeas well as in Hunter College's “Mentoring the Muses” Fall 2013 initiative.  Her mission is to collaborate with other dance educators to fortify and advocate for high dance education standards in New York and throughout the United States. She co-presented at the 2014 NDEO conference in Chicago.



  Thumbs Up to Cynthia Angarola!

Cynthia has been dancing, performing, teaching and choreographing for most of her life. She received her first dance teacher certification in 1994 at age 24 from Dance Educators of America, and currently a registered dance educator in NYS. This year she celebrates over 30 years of educating and training students all over the country in the art of dance. Her students have gone on to professional careers in television, film, broadway, NBA and NFL dance and cheer teams. They have been accepted to the Joffrey, ABT & Philadelphia Ballet schools, as well as receiving scholarships to the countries leading college dance teams including Towson University. Her own teams have brought home numerous world, national and regional titles, scholarships and trophies. She has judged and taught for the leading National and Regional talent organizations, as well as coached and judged various National beauty pageants. In 2007 she was named and awarded "Teacher of the Year" and over the years received numerous accolades and recognition for her technique and choreography. This current year Cynthia was honored with the "Outstanding Teacher of Excellence Award" by the Star Dance Alliance and her team was named 2014 World Dance Champions. World Class has consistently been ranked one the top ten dance studios in the Northeast region by the Federation of Dance Competitions. Cynthia continues to educate and train dancers of all ages who thrive and pursue a passionate and fulfilling career of their own.


Thumbs Up to Mary Anthony: leader in the Modern Dance Movement, She created a school whose mission is to inspire the student to the realization of the self; physically through the discipline of dance training; emotionally through improvisation; spiritually through formal creativity. 

Miss Anthony began her career with a dance scholarship with Hanya Holm in the early 1940's, eventually joining the Holm Company, concertizing with Joseph Gifford, and appearing in Broadway shows. Her staging of the London production of 
Touch and Go, in which she danced one of the lead roles, resulted in a long association as a choreographer for Italian musical theatre. Miss Anthony is recognized as one of the leaders of the modern dance movement, as a dancer, a choreographer, and as an exceptional teacher. The Mary Anthony Dance Theatre began life in 1956 and has a repertory that includes works by Anna Sokolow, Lester Horton, Charles Weidman, Ross Parkes, Daniel Malony, and Bertam Ross. An international choreographer, Miss Anthony's works have been added to the repertories of the Pennsylvania Ballet, the Bat-Dor Company of Israel, the Dublin City Ballet, and the National Institute for the Arts of Taiwan. Miss Anthony continues to teach at her studio and at the Herbert Berghof Studio for Actors. Mary Anthony has been an extraordinary presence in the dance community and the artistry and depth of her choreography is timeless.  Awards include American Dance Guild Award of Artistry, American Dance Association Award, a Martha Hill Special Citation as part of the Bessies, and a Mary Anthony Celebration Day from Scott M. Stringer, President Borough of Manhattan, a participant in the NEA's Artist-in-Schools Program.


Thumbs Up to Barry Blumenfeld for his two terms of outstanding service on the NYSDEA board of directors, and for creating the NYSDEA website!

Barry Blumenfeld, MA, RDE, has been a dance educator for 20 years in a wide range of environments. He has worked as a teaching artist in NYC public schools in residencies ranging from "Math Dance" and "Reading Dance" to teaching children in a mental institution via videophone. He has also taught in private pre-schools and studios. Barry was an adjunct professor at American University, in Washington, DC, where he also taught at-risk youth in a housing project as part of a HUD grant and deaf college students at Galludet University. Barry is currently on the faculty of Dance Education Laboratory and of Friends Seminary School in Manhattan where he has built their dance program over the past 13 years. He is also an adjunct professor at New York University. He holds a BA in Psychology and an MA in Dance from American University and is a graduate of Dance Education Laboratory of 92nd Street Y; a certified Level 1 Teacher of Language of Dance®; a certified yoga instructor; and a Registered Dance Educator. Barry has served on the board of directors of the New York State Dance Education Association and is the Artistic Director of TAPFUSION, a dance company combining modern dance and tap.


  Thumbs Up to Allison Bohman for her excellent work as the NYSDEA student representative in 2013-14. Allison initiated the NYSDEA Facebook page, traveled to Washington DC to Advocate for dance education, and has been a continued voice for dance students in NYS. We thank her for her service and continued support.

Allison Bohman is a third year MFA candidate at The College at Brockport: The State University of New York.  She is a graduate teaching assistant and spent the last year as the Department of Dance's concert coordinator.  Allison is the treasurer of Brockport's NDEO student chapter and was honored to be the Student Representative of New York State Dance Education Association last year.  Allison has interned with the Youth Arts Program at Bates Dance Festival in Lewiston, Maine and has presented dance research in New York State and Vermont.  Most recently, Allison has been a social media and marketing intern with Rochester City Ballet. 

  Thumbs Up to Denise Brown! Ms. Brown teaches dance in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City where her students are exposed to the diversity of dance.

Originally from Rhode Island, Ms. Brown studied Modern Dance with Elizabeth Spatz, Kathy Nicoli, and Heather Ahern as well as dramatic and comedic acting with Wendy Overly and Constance Crawford.

Ms. Brown holds a B.S. in Consumer Studies, from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst where she continued her study of dance and theatre with professors Billbob Brown, Ching Hosier and Julie Nelson. She later traveled to live and study the Spanish language and Spanish dance forms in Seville, Spain. In 2004, Ms. Brown began graduate study and received an M.A. in Dance Education/K-12 Certification at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in 2006. She has been employed with RI Dance Alliance as a dance educator for the outreach program Chance to Dance, under the direction of Helene Scheff and Marty Sprague and has worked extensively with Rhode Island Youth Theatre, a non-profit theatre company, as a choreographer and/or performer.

Ms. Brown has performed in the works of Deborah Damast and Andrea Markus, the New Music and Dance Ensemble in Genoa, Italy and New York, in collaborations with New York composer/musician Jonathan Zalben., Benny Simon, Te Perez, SHEmotion (directed by Julie Klein), with the Movement of the People (directed by Joya Powell), and with Moore Dance Collective (directed by Sarah Moore). In addition, Ms. Brown has performed in NYU Masters/Faculty concerts, at the Apollo theatre, and presented her own choreographic work entitled (B.O.D.Y) Bordering on Destructive Yearnings. Ms. Brown continues to develop her pedagogy and training in both dance and yoga, finishing her 3rd Anusara 36 hour yoga immersion and completing the "Teaching Contemporary LImon" two week intensive in NYC, the Lester Horton Pedagogy Workshop at the Ailey School, and the Luigi Jazz Technique Intensive in NYC. She has also presented at National Dance Education Conferences throughout the country and has begun a chapter of the National Dance Honors Society. 

Thumbs Up to Karen Camp!

Ms. Camp is a dance teacher at Tapestry Charter School in Buffalo, NY where she joined in 2011. She received her Bachelors degree from SUNY Empire State College. Her combined education and 20+ years of teaching experience allow her to enrich students through developing technique, group learning activities and experimentation in the classroom. She is the Artistic Director of The Dance Camp, offering studies in tap, jazz, ballet and modern dance. In addition to the training she received in Western New York, she has studied at the notable 92nd Street YMCA under renowned dance educator & author Tina Curran and dance educator Ann Biddle, founder of Stories in Motion - a program based on the nationally acclaimed Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) model of creative dance for children. Ms. Camp also attends workshops and holds memberships with dance, and arts organizations. She is proudly dedicated in her role as a board member for Young Audiences of Western New York.

Congratulations to Patricia Cohen!  Patricia is a founding member of NDEO, where she serves on the Executive Board, and is a Past President of NYSDEA. She holds adjunct faculty positions at NYU/Steinhardt and Iona College. At NYU/Steinhardt, she is also the academic advisor to a unique Masters program, in partnership with American Ballet Theatre. Her professional passions are advocacy of jazz dance taught in cultural and historical perspective, ballet pedagogy, and improving relationships between dance educators in the post-secondary and private sector communities. She has presented at national and international conferences. She contributed to a jazz dance history reader and text book, Jazz Dance: A History of its Roots and Branches

Thumbs Up to Deborah Damast!

Deborah Damast (BFA Dance, SUNY Purchase; MA Dance Education, NYU Steinhardt) is full time faculty and Artistic Advisor of the Dance Education Program, Director of Kaleidoscope Dancers and concerts, and director of the study abroad program to Uganda at NYU Steinhardt, and teaches dance to lower and middle school students at LREI. In the summer she teaches at the Yard in Martha’s Vineyard where she also conducts development for teachers in the Making It Initiative, and is a co-writer for the Doris Duke Audience Development grant. Deborah conducts Professional Development for the NYC Department of Education as a DELTA team leader and for the Universal Pre-K teachers through DEL and was a founding writer and designer of the DEL Early Childhood/Wonderdance program and a writer/contributor for the 2015 revised NYC Blueprint for the Arts in Dance. She has worked on Arts Achieve as writer and designer, is on faculty of the Dance Education Laboratory and has written curriculum for New York City Ballet and Paul Taylor Dance Company. She has been on faculty of Peridance, LREI, NYCB, Oregon Ballet Theatre, The Yard, Paul Taylor, and others, and has shown her choreography in numerous venues in NYC, nationally and internationally in Italy, Japan, Korea and Uganda. She has presented at NDEO, ACDFA, Dance Teacher Magazine, CUNY and NYSDEA conferences and the Forum on Education Abroad, and most recently was heard on an NPR segment on creative dance. Deborah has directed programs at the Harvey School camp, Peridance and Steffi Nossen/Dance in Education Fund. Deborah is a recipient of the 2009 NYU GSO Star Faculty Award and the 2010 NDEO Outstanding Educator Award, has been on the Board of Directors of NDEO, is currently on the Board of Directors of Peridance Contemporary Dance Company, and is President of the New York State Dance Education Association. She lives in NYC with her fantastic husband, Tom Patrick.
Congratulations to Donna Damelio Brett for her success at Acquinas Institute, in Rochester, NY! Ten years ago Donna not only faced the challenge on starting a dance program in a sports-biased setting, but she also tackled inadequate facility issues and a school schedule (35 minute classes) that was so impractical for dance education you wonder why the school even offered dance.  But Donna stepped up to these challenges, and in the ten years since she started, has made a thriving dance program that even includes numerous star athletes!  Her students adore her because she pushes them out of their comfort zones, highlights their natural abilities, and expects their best work.   She has opened the eyes of her administrators, her colleagues, and especially her students in regard to the power of dance in education and as an art.  She has been a true ambassador for dance education here in Rochester. In addition to her major contribution at Aquinas, Donna was Assistant Director at the Hochstein School of Music and Dance from 1998-2005, faculty member at the BOCES #1 School of Performing Arts,  and long-time performer with the Rochester contemporary dance company,  Present Tense Dance.

Thumbs Up to Janelle Dickerson! 

Janelle is a Bronx native who has studied and performed dance since the age of four.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Mount Holyoke College, a Masters in Dance Education from New York University and is currently earning her second Masters in Teaching Leadership from Mount Holyoke College.  She has also studied and taught dance internationally in Uganda and England. Currently, Janelle serves as a certified dance educator in the Bronx at PS/MS 315 The Lab School for Children where she pursues her vision of providing equitable and authentic arts experiences for her students by establishing The Lab School Dance Company, creating the school’s first annual evening arts show, offering affordable tickets to Broadway shows and providing various performance opportunities throughout New York City. For four years, Janelle was a member of the Elliott Dance Company; a New York based dance company for dance educators who are dedicated to teaching and their artistry. Presently, she co-directs and choreographs for the youth and adult dance ministries at Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion Church. Her choreography has also been featured at NYU’s Masters Concert and New York City Department of Education’s Dance Educators Collective Concert.

In 2009, Janelle co-presented the workshop, Hip Hop Culture and Academic Engagement within School Curriculum, at the National Dance Education Organization National Conference. Janelle recently presented another workshop at the 2015 NDEO National Conference, The 21st Century Artistic Process: The Common Core, Formative Assessment and Dance Making. For three years, she participated in the federally funded Arts Achieve pilot program, which aims to improve student achievement in the arts through innovative use of technology and student assessment. Her classroom was selected by Arts Achieve as an exemplar elementary dance class to serve as a model for other dance educators.  Due to her work in dance and technology, she was selected to speak at the 2015 ArtsEdTechNYC: Dance Education and Technology panel for Apple. In 2013, Janelle Dickerson was nominated for the Big Apple Awards: Recognizing Teacher Excellence and was nominated in 2015 for the Excellence in School Technology Award. 

    Thumbs Up to Martha Eddy!

Martha Eddy
, Ed.D., MA, CMA, RSMT (Founder and Director of Dynamic Embodiment SMTT, MOC Director of Somatic Studies, Co-founder) is an exercise physiologist, registered Movement Therapist (RSMT), also trained in Massage Therapy, who is in private practice in NYC. She was certified in somatic movement work with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and Irmgard Bartenieff, and was on the certification program faculty for both the School for Body-Mind Centering® and the Laban/Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies from 1984-1994. She founded the Somatic Movement Therapy Program (SMTT) in 1992 and renamed it DE-SMTT in 2008. Eddy is particularly known for somatic-movement-based contributions in the fields of dance, dance science, conflict resolution, child development, and vision enhancement. She completed her doctorate in Movement Sciences and Education at Columbia University. She lives in New York City. Dr. Eddy was the invited speaker at the National Dance Education Organization to give the address on the state of Early Childhood Dance Education at the 2009 national conference.

In her position as Founder and Director of the DE-SMTT program she coordinates Moving On Center’s somatic curriculum and works closely with our faculty and mentors around the world. She has been involved with dance and performance since she was eight years old. She also directs our partnership organization in NYC – the Center for Kinesthetic Education ( where clients of all ages come for classes and private sessions, and professional teachers and therapists come for training. She is involved in research, arts-based educational program designs, and educational consulting nationally and internationally. She has published numerous articles on these subjects. She created BodyMind Dancing© in 1987 and Moving On Aerobics © (MOA) in 1999. Many DE-SMTT graduates are taking these somatic movement programs out into the field. 

Thumbs up to Kim Elliott! Kim does amazing work, teaches full time for DOE, is an adjunct NYU plus has her own company and teaches at Peridance. 

Kim Elliott, dance educator, choreographer and performer, obtained her MA in Dance Education from NYU, Steinhardt, where she received the Outstanding in Dance Education award. With a focus on Hip Hop dance culture but not limited to, Kim is currently the dance teacher at The Beacon School, a public high school in Manhattan, an Adjunct Faculty Member at NYU and Peridance Capezio Center. She also restarted The Elliott Dance Company, a dance ensemble of only educators...

  Thumbs up to Ana Nery Fragoso! NYSDEA would like to congratulate member Ana Nery Fragoso on her new position as the Director of Dance Programs for the New York City Department of Education.

Ana Nery Fragoso is originally from the Canary Islands, Spain, where she performed and choreographed extensively. She attended the Alvin Nikolais Dance Lab (NYC) for two years, graduated from Hunter College (B.A. Dance /Education) and earned a M.F.A. in Choreography from Sarah Lawrence College. She has been the recipient of two grants from the Ministry of Culture in Spain and a J. Javits Fellowship award. For eleven years, Ana Nery taught at P.S. 315, a Performing Arts Elementary School in Brooklyn, where she created a dance curriculum supported by the Laban Movement Analysis framework that emphasized improvisation, technique and dance making. She is currently the dance specialist at the East Village Community School in Manhattan where she is creating a brand new dance program!

Mrs. Fragoso was a member of the New York City Department of Education Dance Blueprint Writing Committee and was a NYCDOE dance facilitator co-designing professional development workshops for New York City Department of Education dance specialists.

For the last five years, she worked as a dance coach for the Artful Learning Community Grant (ALC) doing action research to develop strategies for collaborative inquiry around formative assessment practices and student learning in dance. She was also a member of the Arts Achieve team, a four-year project to develop innovative dance assessment tools and strategies.  Mrs. Fragoso has been a faculty member of the Dance Education Laboratory (DEL) at the 92nd St Y since 2007.

  Thumbs Up to Jeanne Palmer-Fornarola, Clinical Associate Professor (MA, K-12 NYS Dance Teacher Certification)!

Jeanne is Director of Dance at the University at Buffalo in the Department of Theatre & Dance. Administrating to 10 faculty members and over 90 dance majors, she is the founder and director of Bridging Communities Through Dance, bringing the dance experience to children in the Buffalo City Schools and surrounding districts. In addition to serving as a dance consultant, master teacher, and arts administrator, she is an active free-lance writer and contributor to JODE, Dance StudioLife, and Dance Teacher/Spirit publications. 

     Thumbs up to Joy Gaurino!

Joy Guarino is an Associate Professor of Dance at SUNY Buffalo State teaching a variety of studio technique classes, choreography, dance history, and dance education. Her choreography is accented by the use of design elements and mixed media. She enjoys working creatively with professionals and students and has presented her choreography internationally. Professor Guarino has developed courses, conducted research, and presented internationally on kinesthetic learning, dance/movement integration, and youth development. As a practitioner and consultant in the arts-in-education profession, she is committed to finding creative and practical ways of designing and implementing meaningful children’s arts programs.


Thumbs Up to Ashley Hacker, a SUNY Brockport undergraduate and NYU Steinhardt graduate.

Ashley is employed as the full time middle school dance teacher at Poly Prep Country Day School.  All of her classes participate in a culminating dance concert in the spring involving both middle and upper school students.  Fifth and sixth graders perform in cross-curricular productions involving all of the arts as well as science and history.  In addition to teaching dance classes throughout the school day, she also directs an after-school dance program that offers additional dance technique to any students who seek more intensive training.  She performs with a musical theater company, "Aries in Flight," and co-presented at the 2014 NDEO conference in Chicago.

 Joanne Robinson Hill
                    Thumbs Up to Joanne Robinson Hill, the Director of Education for The Joyce Theater where students, teachers, school administrators, and dance companies work together with the Joyce staff in multifaceted arts education programs designed to foster an understanding of dance and dance aesthetics among students K-12th grade, to encourage the development of their perceptions and imaginations, and to integrate the arts into classroom learning.

Joanne Robinson Hill is a founding teaching artist of Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education in NYC, and was an honoree at the Institute’s 2001 anniversary. Named a 1994 artist fellow by the Leonard Bernstein Center for Education through the Arts, she’s a special advisor and instructor for arts institutes across the country. Joanne has served as a trustee of Dance/USA sitting on its Executive Committee as secretary and chairing its Education Council. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable and on the editorial board of the Teaching Artist Journal. Recognized in 2001 for her leadership in dance education by the NYS Department of Education Goals 2000 Assets Project, Joanne served on the New York City Department of Education’s Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance Committee and is a consultant to the department. A graduate of Bennington College she performed most recently in The Horse’s Mouth and was a recent E Moves mentor.

    Thumbs Up to Kathleen Isaac!

Kathleen Isaac 
is the Director of the Arnhold Dance Education Programs at CUNY Hunter College, where she instituted the iDanceEd, Mentoring the Muse and Macaulays, Arnhold Mentors and Arnhold Alumni LEAD initiatives, and is the Dance edTPA coordinator for the School of Education She has presented dance education models for the inclusion of digital devises in dance teaching practice through ACERT (Academic Excellence in Research and Technology) and was the recipient of a FITT (Faculty Innovation Teaching with Technology) grant. She is on the Hunter College Arts Across the Curriculum Spotlight on Arts and Politics Committee and is an Associate faculty member of the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute. She is active in the National Dance Education Organization and is a Board member of the New York State Dance Education Association. For over two decades, she has been a leader in dance professional development, advocacy, Pre-K-12 teaching practice, integration of dance and technology and dance assessment in New York City, New York State, nationally and internationally. She is currently on the editorial board of the Dance Education In Practice journal, and is on the Teachers College, Columbia University Dance Task Force. She authored, provided professional development for and was lead facilitator and trainer for Revelations – An Interdisciplinary Approach for the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater from 1999-2010. She wrote Read My Hips® for the Joffrey Ballet in Chicago, and authored the Coca Cola Community Outreach Program curriculum of the David Parsons Dance Company. Ms. Isaac continues to learn about and share best practices in student-centered integration of dance and technology through, and, student-to-student dance mentoring and interdisciplinary models of learning. Her work with dance students in public schools for over 25 years has been recognized by President Clinton’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities as a paradigm for the nation and featured in the New York Times, Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, NBC News, CNN and Bravo. Her choreography for students has been performed at Hunter College, the Alvin Ailey Studios, Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, New York City Center Studios and at Mayor Bloomberg’s 2008 State of the City Address at Flushing Meadows Park. She received a BA in Dance at SUNY Brockport, an MA in Dance from New York University, Gallatin School of Individualized Study, began her doctoral studies at Teachers College, Columbia University, and has completed post-graduate work at NYU/Steinhardt and Empire State College.


Thumbs Up to Doug Israel, Director of Research and Policy, The Center for Arts Education for his tireless advocacy work for all of the arts locally, statewide and nationally.

Doug Israel is the Director of Research and Policy for The Center for Arts Education. In that role, he directs the organization’s government affairs, public policy, research, and advocacy work. As part of CAE’s campaign to ensure that all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students receive a quality arts education, Mr. Israel focuses on educating policymakers and the public about the need for arts education as an essential part of a well-rounded education and an essential contributor to children’s health and well-being.

Web Site:

Thumbs up to Andrew Janetti!

Andrew Jannetti, MA is based in New York City and has had a distinguished career as a choreographer, dancer, educator, fitness instructor, and producer. Throughout his career he has presented work at DTW, St. Marks’s Danspace, 92nd Street Y, Alvin Ailey Center, The Duke, DIA, BAX, Cunningham, DUMBO Dance Festival, CoolNY Festival, ADG Festival, NY International Dance Festival, as well as venues throughout the U.S. and Europe. He’s been awarded grants from NYSCA, NJSCA, MCAF, Meet The Composers, the Field, and Harkness Center and received both a BAXten and a PASEtter award for his work with NYC youth. He was an adjunct professor at Montclair State University and NYU Gallatin and is currently employed by the NYC Department of Education as a Dance Educator and at the Brooklyn Arts Exchange as the School Breaks Director. He also teaches fitness classes at various fitness clubs around the city. He is a facilitator for the new NYC DOE borough-wide Arts Mondays for Queens North and is on the DELTA team of dance presenters for the citywide professional development for dance educators. He is currently the President-elect for the board of directors of the New York State Dance Education Association and a recipient of the Dani Nikas Award or Excellence in Teaching.

  Thumbs Up to Michael Kerr!
His middle school students at the New Voices School of Academic and Creative Arts raised over $1,500. for Drea's Dream - the Andrea Rizzo Foundation during their spring performance.

Michael Anthony Kerr holds an M.A. degree from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and a B.A. degree in The Arts/Dance from the SUNY College at Buffalo. He is a NYS Certified K-12 Dance Teacher, employed by the NYC Department of Education (NYCDOE) since 1996, he is also on the faculty of the Dance Education Laboratory and an instructor at Rutgers, Mason Gross School of the Arts. Since 2000, Mr. Kerr has developed the dance program at New Voices School of Academic & Creative Arts; one of ten NYC public middle schools selected as an Exemplary Site for Arts Education. In 2004-2005, he served on the curriculum writing committee of the (NYCDOE) Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in Dance, Pre-K–12 and since as a professional development facilitator for middle school dance educators. During this time, he also served as Chair ofUFT/NYC Dance Educators and as a cooperating teacher for Columbia University Teachers College and New York University (NYU) Steinhardt Music & Performing Arts Professions Program in Dance Education. His professional experience has also encompassed teaching in the private sector, performing and choreographing in the United States and Europe. He has conducted workshops, served as a panel speaker, teaching artist and guest lecturer for venues such as Dance Teacher Magazine Annual Teacher Conference, American Dance Guild, NYU, CW Post LIU, The Dalton School, Nimbus Dance Works, NJAHPERD, Accademia Dance Center (IT), Young Dancers in Repertory and NDEO. Throughout his teaching career he has performed for a variety of choreographers and dance companies including Maher Benham’s Coyotes Dancers, Deborah Damast & Dancers, Gemini Dance Theater, Floorplay Contemporary Dance Theater, Amy Kail, Dance Consort Mezzacappa-Gabrian and Deanna Losi while teaching in the Tuscany region of Italy for several years. Mr. Kerr is a member of NDEO/Dance NJ, The Field and in the process of forming his own company DanceKerr & Dancers. 

Thumbs Up to Hetty King for Presenting “Scaffolding K-5 Curriculum in line with the NYC Blueprint and the Core Curriculum” at the 2013 NDEO conference in Miami! 

After seventeen years working as a professional dancer and choreographer, Hetty King began working as a dance artist/educator in K-12 dance studio settings.She has stretched her knowledge of dance every year, participating in numerous workshops. She also proctors and adjudicates through Arts Achieve. She is a member and cohort coach in the Artful Learning Communities Project working to develop successful formative assessments for learning in dance.Hetty values peer dance discourse and exchange and believes it is important to maintain as dance education is aligned with the Common Core and new NYC teacher evaluation rubric.She is currently working as a dance educator for PS 705K, Brooklyn Arts and Science Elementary School and PS 267M, the East Side Elementary School. 

Thumbs Up to Suzanne Lamberg for her dedication to dance as an essential part of education!

Suzanne Lamberg (BA, MS) was a dance educator in the NYC public school system for more than 30 years until her retirement. During that time she served as the artistic director of her school's dance company, supervised undergraduate and graduate level student teachers, mentored new teachers and served on various task forces interested in expanding and improving arts education in NYC.She was a member of grant review panels for the New York State Council on the Arts  (NYSCA) and acted as a consultant for several community-based organizations (CBO) looking to create artist-in-residence programs for the public school system. She continues to serve as an educational consultant for the NYC DOE in various capacities related to dance education and is an adjunct faculty member and K-12 track adviser in the Dance Education Program at NYU Steinhardt.

  Thumps Up to Jessica Lewis for being the President of the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program NHSDA chapter at Hunter College and for being accepted as a lead presenter for a workshop on "Dance By and For Children" at the 2015 NDEO conference in Phoenix.

Jessica Lewis is a choreographer, dance educator, and modern dancer born and raised in New York City. Jessica began dancing when she was 2 years old. She began to choreograph at the age of 5. Her work has appeared in many major dance, theater, and film festivals throughout the New York area.

Jessica is currently a Master's Degree Candidate in Dance Education at Hunter College's Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program and teaches throughout the New York area (all ages) in modern dance, choreography, creative movement, gymnastics, and tumbling, as well as teaching health education and P.E.

By the age of twelve Jessica was a junior member, of Andrew Jannetti & Dancers. At sixteen, she became the youngest dancer and choreographer in the company. She is still an active member of the company, spearheading new projects with Artistic Director, Andrew Jannetti.

She studied at New York University’s Gallatin School for Individualized Study; concentrating in Interdisciplinary Arts Studies Through a Cinematic Lens. There she focused on choreography and generative artistry through teaching. She also developed her own technique of choreography: “emotional character trajectory” work. Ms. Lewis creates storyline and character (in a non-linear, non-literal sense) through this combination of her theatrical training and choreographic artistry. Jessica's extensive training in theater, film, writing, and music has a deep impact on her work as both a creator and educator. She constantly weaves interdisciplinarity into her own artistic work and her educational approach.

Jessica attended LaGuardia High School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts. She was a member of the 92nd Street Y "Young Master's Company," and has performed with the Anna Sokolow Theater Dance Ensemble. Jessica is also a member of LatticeWorks Dance. 

  Thumbs Up to Deborah Lipa Ciotta for her continued artistic and educational excellence! Deborah Lipa Ciotta teaches dance education at the Tapestry Charter School, where she has developed a K-4 curricula during the 7 years she has been on faculty.

Prior to joining Tapestry, she taught dance in grades 5-12 for seventeen years at the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. In addition, she runs a private dance school, teaching Creative Dance for Children classes for ages 3-18, and directs the Pleien Dance Company, a repertory performing company of young people, ages 7-18, who share a love of dance and a desire to bring the art of modern dance to their community. This year, they celebrate their fifth season!

She is an active member of daCi, has studied with Anne Greene Gilbert, and has conducted professional development sessions in the Buffalo area, on Gilbert’s, BrainDance.

For several years, she presented Creative Movement seminars for Canisius College Education Majors as part of their Arts Integrations course with Dr. Nancy Wallace, and feels it is a privilege to teach dance both as a discrete subject and as a way to explore other areas of study.

  Thumbs up to Jessica Marshall for taking the initiative to  organize the National Honor Society for Dance Arts: Collegiate Program for the Hunter College Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program and take on its leadership as President. 

Jessica Marshall is originally from Methuen, Massachusetts. She studied dance in a private studio setting in forms such as ballet, tap, and jazz. During this time she attended numerous conventions, competitions, and master classes. Jessica then attended Marymount Manhattan College on the Upper East Side of New York City. She graduated from Marymount with her Bachelor of the Arts in Dance with a concentration in teaching as well as her business minor in May of 2012. Directly after graduating, she enrolled in the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Programs at Hunter College in New York in order to receive her Masters of the Arts and her K-12 certification. She hopes to transfer her knowledge of dance to future generations of students and other dance educators.


Ms. Marshall began her teaching practice by assisting her dance teacher at The Salem Dance Network during classes for younger students. While at Marymount, she had many opportunities to expand her knowledge of dance education. She observed First Steps classes at The Ailey School in her sophomore year. The following year, she was offered a position as an assistant in both the First Steps and Junior Division dance classes. Jessica also had an internship with National Dance Institute (NDI) and was able to assist NDI faculty in teaching dance at PS 183. Currently, Jessica is teaching at Steffi Nossen School of Dance in White Plains, NY as a core curriculum dance teacher. At this studio, she works with children ages three through to 7th grade. Also, she worked as an outreach teacher for Steffi Nossen at the Armonk Montessori School. Jessica looks forward to working in the public school setting, while continuing her work in private studios. She believes dance and the arts should be available to all, including children, teens, and adults. 

  Thumbs Up to MaryLee Miller for her two-year service to NYSDEA and her vital contribution as NYSED liaison. MaryLee spent numerous hours representing Dance in the discussions regarding the NYSED's decision to adapt, adopt, or reject the NCAS as well as spearheaded the dance committee on this important topic, and drafted the letter of recommendation to the Board of Regents.

MaryLee Miller works in the Rochester City School District, School of the Arts Dance Department teaching grades 7-12. She instructs courses in Modern Dance levels I, II, and III, Somatics and Conditioning for Dancers, Dance Composition and Production, Creative Dance for middle school students and Dance for Non-Majors. MaryLee is also a faculty member at the Garth Fagan Dance School, a recent board member of (NYC) and advisory committee member for FuturPointe Dance (Rochester). She is co-author of the NYS Dance Education Standards and the NYS Dance Certification Exam. MaryLee is a dance educator focusing on dance in public schools, particularly 7th through 12th grade, transitioning dancers to college dance programs from high school and studio programs, teaching from a perspective of anatomical awareness to bring freedom and efficiency to movement, using choreography as a safe haven for inner city youth, increasing an awareness of the need for an arts education for all youth.

  Thumbs up to Megan Minturn! In the fall of 2012, Megan founded and developed a new program, including dance, at the Brooklyn International High School for ninth and tenth grade English Language Learners.

Her students represent over thirty countries, and most have been in the United States for fewer than four years. Many are refugees and the majority immigrated to the U.S. due to hardship and/or conflict in their home countries. Her dance curriculum works to respond to the multicultural environment of her classroom, as well as encourage students to gain self-knowledge, express themselves through movement, and ultimately discover the joy of dance.

As a result of her exciting work at the Brooklyn International High School, she has formed many relationships with her colleagues that inspire her to create interdisciplinary dance-learning opportunities for her students, including collaborating with an ESL teacher in creating socially conscious speeches and dances, a Biology teacher in measuring and comparing heart-rates while dancing different styles, and a Humanities teacher to study Swing dance and the Harlem Renaissance. These exciting dance experiences allow her students to perform unique and engaging choreography while sharing the importance and value of dance within the wider school community.

In addition, Megan teaches a weekly after-school yoga class for the teachers, staff and administrators, who are able to experience the same benefits gained by the students during the day. To extend the dance experience into the BIHS community, Megan simultaneously supports her colleagues, while providing quality dance education for her students by inviting guest artists from graduate programs and dance companies.

Most importantly, on stages or in parks, as her students attend performances such as Paul Taylor, American Ballet Theater, and cultural dance forms, she continues to see their love of dance develop.

  Thumbs Up to Lindsey Nicastro, Dance Specialist at P.S. 506, Magnet School of Global Communications, in Brooklyn, NY.

Lindsey Nicastro, a 2010 graduate of Hofstra University’s Dance Education Program, is the Dance Specialist at PS 506 Magnet School of Global Communications. In June 2013, she was honored by State Senator Martin Golden as Teacher of the Year in her school.  She has been part of the Arts Achieve research program, and is currently training to become a DEL Facilitator. Her students performed on a Broadway stage as part of a two year Disney in Schools grant. In addition, she is the chairperson for her school’s leadership program, which promotes the students’ ability to find leadership qualities within themselves. She helps coordinate leadership days and symposium events where people from all over the country visit the school to support and promote the initiative.
    Thumbs Up to Andrea Provvisiero!  She has been the dance teacher at P.S. 253 in Brooklyn for the past 3 years, teaching grades K-5.  Last year she collaborated with the Music and Theater teacher at 253 to create a safety video for a national contest, and won't the school $10,000!  To view the winning video, please visit:

Andrea began assisting at her local dance studio at age 13, and within the next few years started teaching her own ballet, modern, tap, jazz, hip-hop, and nursery classes.  She has a Bachelors degree in Dance from Adelphi University a Masters degree in Education from Queens Colleges and is an ABT certified teacher/levels 1-3.  Andrea also teaches group fitness classes to adults at night. 

Andrea is doing exactly what she has always dreamed of doing since she was a little girl, as she shares her love of dance with her students!


Thumbs Up to Susan Russo: Founder of the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts for Children with Special Needs

At the age of 18, Susan decided that she wanted to bring the joy of movement and the excitement of creativity to young people of every ability. It was while teaching dance to a young man with cerebral palsy that she made that life-changing decision. To follow that dream she obtained a BS in Dance Education from UNC-Greensboro and a Masters in Dance Education from Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Having taught in both public and private venues for over 35 years, Ms Russo recently obtained another Masters in Special Education and dedicates her life’s work to her four children, in particular her special angel, Theresa. for whom the Academy is named. Recognizing the need for quality afterschool programs in the arts for students with special needs, and wishing to combine her experiences working with both typically developing and special needs children “under one roof”, she petitioned the Board of Directors of the Theresa Foundation to expand their consumer base. Now, in addition to the wonderful recreational opportunities provided by Theresa’s Fun Place (a park and playground) at UCP-Nassau in Roosevelt, children will have the opportunity to act, dance, sing and create their own art at TAPA, the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts. TAPA is open to the siblings, parents and caregivers of our students so that they may also participate in classes with their loved one who has special needs. Everyone benefits…everyone creates…everyone has fun!

   Congratulations to Heather Roffe for her orchestration of the Movement and Dance (MAD) Festival at Nazareth College in Rochester, NY this past March. This festival included more than 30 events--dance and movement master classes in a variety of styles over three days combined with two curated dance concerts featuring artists from all over the country. 

Heather Roffe (M.F.A.) joined the faculty of the Nazareth College Theatre Arts Department in 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Dance, and became the Dance Program Director in 2014. Previous to that, she was on the Dance faculty at SUNY College at Brockport, Wells College, SUNY Potsdam, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, and at St. John Fisher College. Roffe’s choreography has been presented in various venues across the country and internationally (including the Cayman Islands, Bahamas, UK, AZ, CA, IL, MA, MN, NY, NJ, PA), and has been commissioned by both professional companies and dance programs throughout the US. Roffe has performed nationally and internationally with Garth Fagan Dance Company, FuturPointe Dance, in her own work, with Bill Evans Dance Company, and Assemblage Dance at such notable venues as Jacob’s Pillow, NY LiveArts, Ailey Center, DUMBO, 92nd St. Y, and Curve Theatre (UK).

     Thumbs Up to Baylee Simpson, Miss Buffalo!  

Baylee Simpson 
is a magna cum laude graduate from The College at Brockport. In four short years, she obtained a BFA in Dance as well as a BS in Exercise Science. In addition, Baylee has been working as Miss Buffalo throughout New York State and was the first runner up in the Miss New York pageant this Spring. Her greatest achievement in this role has been establishing an educational outreach program within the Department of Dance at The College at Brockport through herPlatform The Create Initiative: Empowering our Youth to Succeed through the Arts. This outreach program uses dance students at the college to bring live performance to the local Brockport and Rochester school districts. Since live performance opportunities can be rare for some school districts, the outreach program utilizes this time to allow the students to engage in live art and to also build critical thinking skills. The Miss America Organization already supports a STEM education but Baylee can foresee herself being of great influence to lead this organization to support a STEAM education. After being crowned Miss Buffalo 2016, Baylee’s dream of leading our nation’s youth towards success has continued to expand. She hopes to further work on her platform and leave a lasting mark on the city of Buffalo.

  Thumbs Up to Prashant Sitaram: Artistic Director of Rangeela Dance Troupe for bringing joy to others through his exuberant dancing and company, Rangeela Dance Troupe.

Prashant Sitaram, Founder and Artistic Director of Rangeela Dance Troupe, was born and raised in the Bronx, and trained with Penelope Kalloo in the Lehman High School dance program, and at the Harbor Conservatory of the Performing Arts. He has performed with the Gestures Dance Company, under the direction of Nina Klyvert, in venues such as Ailey Citigroup Theater, The Apollo, Aaron Davis Hall and Lincoln Center. He is currently finishing his Masters Degree in dance education in Hunter College's Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program while teaching dance full time to children in grades K-5 at the Harriet Tubman Charter School. His solo work has been highlighted in choreography by Pedro Ruiz and he tours nationally and internationally with his company, Rangeela Dance Troupe, which fuses Contemporary Modern, African, Ballet, Jazz, Latin and Kathak styles of dance. Prashant is a member of NDEO National Honor Society for Dance Arts (NHSDA).

  Thumbs Up to Randi Sloan for fostering "thinking dancers!"
Randi Sloan has taught in and chaired the dance department at The Dalton School in NYC for the past 25 years. She has fostered a program that is known as a destination for ‘thinking dancers.’ The program focuses on developing kinesthetic awareness, problem solving, creative exploration, and nonlinear thought.

Randi Sloan defines her role as a collaborator and resource and designs the curriculum so that students take ownership of their choreography. Students draw upon dance from diverse traditional and contemporary cultures. In addition to the core modern dance curriculum, the dance program at the Dalton School incorporates ballet, jazz, African dance, hip-hop, yoga, tai chi, capoeira, Greek, and Native American Dance. Creative movement is seen as the basic essential mode of instruction, rather than as a vehicle for performance. Student choreography is presented at the school’s annual dance concert. The students decide on a group common theme (for example; visual art, poetry, text, dreams, containers, fairy tales) that serves to unify the group and provide a structure for each student's individual dance. Through the year-long creative process, students evolve as choreographers, clarifying their thinking about movement as art.

In addition to teaching at Dalton, Ms. Sloan is an adjunct professor at New York University in the Steinhardt School of Dance Education. She has served as consultant and teacher of dance pedagogy for the New York City Department of Education. In prior years, Randi Sloan taught as guest artist in residence at Oakland University, Wayne State University and Milan.

   Thumbs Up to Christina Stampolis! Christina's ongoing work with special needs students at the Lorge School deserves a thumbs up as she helps students develop personal control, respect for others, pride in their accomplishments and joy in moving!

Christina Stampolis is a high honors scholar in the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program, who has been accepted as a presenter at the NDEO Conferrence in Miami, where she will share practices for uses of the iPad application "Skitch" to teach geometric shapes to students with special needs. She holds a BS in Dance Education from Hofstra University, and is working towards her MA from the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College. She works as a dance specialist at The Lorge School, a private school for special education students. Christina performs with Dance Visions NY. 

  Thumbs Up to Juanita Suarez for her recent work organizing and hosting the NDEO 2050 Symposium in Rochester. The theme of the conference was "Projecting Forward: Cultivating Leadership in Dance Education." It was a very successful event!

Holding a joint Associate Professor position in the Department of Dance and Arts for Children Program at the College at Brockport, State University of New York, Juanita Suarez teaches dance research, history, and education. A recipient of the $14,000 Rockefeller Grant for US-Map Fund for Culture, she conducted research in Mexico, resulting in collaborations with Luz y Fuerza (Mexico) and El Corazon, a migrant ensemble. She performed for Legends of China 2000, a dance exchange involving forty-five American and Chinese dance artists/scholars. Her research on Chicana dancemaking as a rising aesthetic within modern dance, is included in "Interpreting Ourselves: Insider Ethnographies of Contemporary Dance Practice," published by Sir Wilfred Laurier in 2005. As a co-founding member of the Latina Dance Project, a national/international ensemble of Latina performers, the LDP supports the creative voice of the Latina experience and will premiere an Aztec-based project titled "Coyolxauhqui Re-Members" at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2006

 Kevin Warner
                    Thumbs Up to Kevin Warner for his recent outstanding work with The Arts for Children musical "The Kingdom of Grimm." This production at The College at Brockport fused dance, music and theater and not only involved Brockport students, but also brought in audiences from all around the Brockport area. It was great seeing so many excited children in the audience! His work through the Arts for Children program at Brockport brings dance, theater and music to children and the community.

Kevin S. Warner is a Visiting Associate Professor of Dance and Director of the Interdisciplinary Arts for Children Program at The State University of New York, College at Brockport. He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Dance from Temple University, has done post-graduate work in Early Childhood, Elementary and Music Education, and earned a BA in Print Journalism from Pennsylvania State University. Kevin’s work focuses on the role of dance in teaching and learning across all subject areas. He consults and presents nationally in areas including arts integration and the arts as whole-school reform.

Formerly, Kevin was the Program Director of North Carolina’s A+ Schools Program where he led the development and implementation of A+’s nationally recognized teacher professional development model, Teaching Artist Training model, and multiple other projects and initiatives. He is certified in elementary education (1-6) and dance (K-12) and has taught both third grade and dance in public schools in North Carolina and New York. As a dancer and actor, Kevin has performed with dance and theatre companies throughout the Eastern United States, and on film and television.

  Thumbs Up to Leslie Yolen for her efforts at the New York State Education Department! As the sole arts coordinator at a time when so much is happening in regards to the development of state and national standards, Leslie Yolen is promoting opportunities for dialogue among New York State arts organizations of all disciplines. This opportunity to give feedback to NYSED and discuss the challenges facing NYS educators is incredibly valuable. Leslie, we applaud your efforts!

Meet Leslie Yolen: Since graduating from Bennington College with a BFA, I operated a production pottery studio and directed a co-operative fine arts and craft gallery. Teaching out of my studio and the local arts center, I began substitute teaching in the public schools. These experiences led me to graduate school for a teaching certificate. During this time I worked as a resident artist in the schools and director of an arts day camp. I subsequently taught visual art in the capitol region becoming involved in curriculum development, instructional planning, and professional development for arts teachers. Having worked with artists and schools in many different capacities I came to the New York State Education Department to support teachers and students across the state as the Associate in Visual Arts Education. When not in the classroom or studio I spend time in my glorious garden and also design landscapes for others to enjoy. 

Nominate a dance educator you know for a Thumbs Up!

Each month the NYSDEA newsletter will post news of people or places doing great things in dance education across the state.
NYSDEA wants to know who deserves a thumbs up, so please send in your accolades to Kathleen Isaac, NYSDEA Director of Awards, at

Include the following:
Email subject: THUMBS UP Dance Recognition
Name of person or Institution
Job Position/Title and/or brief biography
A picture of the individual
(Please limit your answer to three sentences or fewer.)

The New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA) is growing and evolving to meet the needs of our dance community in the 21st century. The officers of NYSDEA invite you to join us as we enter a new and exciting era for dance in New York State. NYSDEA serves dance educators who teach diverse populations in schools of dance, PreK-12 schools, post-secondary institutions and education outreach programs.

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