Faculty

 

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Nancy Bonanno

Owner & Artistic Director, Creative Movement, Ballet, Jazz, Combo Classes, Performing Group Choreographer

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Miss Nancy is owner and artistic director of The Dance Center in Winchendon, MA. A native of Buffalo, NY, she moved to Boston to major in dance at the Boston Conservatory of Music. Her 20 years of professional experience includes numerous television specials, music videos, and commercials filmed in New York City. She also performed as a dancer for Impulse Dance Company in Boston. She has taught at The Boston Conservatory of Music and many Boston-area dance schools. Nancy bought The Dance Center from Mona Rice in 1994. After 10 years in Ashburnham, the studio outgrew its small space and moved to Winchendon. The new studio houses 4 studios, a large waiting room, and dancewear store. The studio celebrated its 20th year anniversary in 2014. Nancy currently teaches creative movement, combo classes, ballet, and jazz. Nancy lives in Fitchburg with her husband Frank, her daughter Samantha, and her son Joey.

Brittany Ashlaw

Hip Hop

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Brittany Alexis Ashlaw has ten years of professional experience as a dance educator, choreographer, and performer on both the east and west coasts. She received her early training from the Cathy Taylor School of Dance and went on to attain her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Dean College (2009). Brittany’s choreography was showcased in several student performances at Dean and she was chosen as one of the elite company members in the genres of tap, modern, jazz and hip hop. She was also a member and captain of the the WNBA Connecticut Sun “Solar Power Dance Team” for four consecutive seasons.  As a Boston Celtics Dancer Finalist, Brittany, and her sister Javin, performed at the Foxwoods Resort & Casino and were featured dancers on the ESPN reality television series “Dreaming Green.” Additional performance credits include: WTNH Early Morning Show (“Solar Power Dance Team”), IDO World ShowDance Championships (Reisa, Germany), and the Rascal Flatts “Bob That Head” Concert Tour.  In 2011, Brittany traveled to Los Angeles, California to work as a hip hop dance instructor for Sky High Dance Inc. and trained with choreographers such as Nicco O’Connor, Kyle Hanagami, and Kevin Maher. While in California, she became inspired by the pop dance culture and returned to Massachusetts with a renewed passion for the style. She has since developed the “Fresh Kix” after school hip hop dance enrichment program for Worcester Public Schools and surrounding areas. Brittany has taught at Jeannette Neill Dance Studio in Boston, MA and choreographed for their Repertory Showcases and “Boston Youth Moves.” Currently, she teaches ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and modern at several studios throughout New England, and choreographs solos and group routines for competition dancers.

Joyce Baldwin

Musical Theater, Acro, Tap, MT Ensemble, Competition Team Choreographer

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Joyce has moved here from New York City where she was a professional musical theater actress. Some of her credits include “Velma” in Scooby Doo, Live! at Radio City Music Hall, “Olga” in Petya at the Danny Kaye Theater, and “Jan” in both the National and European original company of Grease! She has worked with such names as Frankie Avalon, Chubby Checker, Eric Estrada, Dan Fogler, Mark McKinnley, and Judge Wapner. Joyce holds a BFA in Musical Theater from the Shenendoah Conservatory of Music. She is the founder of the Summer Seminar on the Performing Arts. Summer Seminar is a musical theater camp which ran in upstate New York for 20 years and has now found its home at TDC! She has taught for many years at studios in NY, VA, and NH. Joyce lives in NH and is thankful to be enjoying The Dance Center experience with her daughter, Bunny.

Jennifer Conlon

Creative Movement, Jazz

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Miss Jen received her Bachelor of Arts in Education from the University of Massachusetts and her Masters in Education from Clark University. She has been dancing at The Dance Center since age 5 and teaching at the studio since 1995. She has performed choreographer duties for various school musicals over her years of teaching in Fitchburg and Worcester.

Amanda Couturier

Contemporary, Jazz, Ballet, Lyrical, Pilates, Competition Team Coordinator, Competition Team Choreographer

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Amanda received her Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Science from Fitchburg State University in January 2012. Prior to that, Amanda studied Athletic Training and Dance at the University of South Florida in Tampa where she danced in part with the USF Modern Department. She has also undergone extensive Pilates instructor training with the renowned teacher trainer, Clare Dunphy. Amanda completed the Peak Pilates Level I Certification this fall. Amanda grew up dancing at The Dance Center studying many different dance disciplines, learning as an assistant teacher, and being mentored by Miss Nancy and TDC Staff. She was a part of the competition team for 7 years. She has continued her education by participating in a variety of workshops and taking classes at The Boston Dance Company, Jacobs Pillow, Dance Teacher’s Summit, Broadway Dance Center, NYCDA, WCDE, Dance  Life Retreat Center, and more! Amanda has received many awards for her choreography and her dancing regionally and nationally. Among these awards, Amanda’s pieces have won the Young Choreographer’s Award twice at the American Dance Awards in 2009 and in 2011, the Diamond Choreographer Award in 2013, and the Onstage NY Critics Choice Award in both 2013 and 2014. Amanda is an assistant, dancer, and choreographer for Jennie&Company. In 2013, she co-collaborated with Jennie for the performance “Tangled Roots”. This will be Amanda’s 23rd year with TDC, and 10th year as a teacher and choreographer.

Debbie Falconer

Competition Team Choreographer

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Debbie received her formal training in classical ballet, tap, and jazz at Michelle Goodwin’s School of Dance in Townsend, MA. Further education has included courses through Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston and numerous dance seminars and master classes through the New England area. She began teaching at age 17 and has taught at studios in Townsend, Pepperell, Gardner, and Fitchburg, MA. Debbie owned and operated Peterborough Dance Academy in Peterborough, NH from 1993-1999.

Nicole “Nikki” Grady

Tap

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Nicole has been teaching for over 20 years in Worcester County. She is a graduate of Dean College, achieving high honors in Dance. She also has a degree in Early Childhood Education and is a licensed lead teacher of preschool. She has created many production and performance pieces for holiday and recital shows. Nicole has choreographed for Peter Pan Players, Grafton Middle School, and Leominster High School. Nicole studied dance at the Denise Day Dance Centre since childhood and also has taught there for many years. Recently, Nicole has studied dance at Jeanette Neill Dance Studio in Boston and at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. She has studied dance with many great artists such as, Judith Jamison, Shane Sparks, Jamie Jackson, Dianne Walker, Josh Hilberman, Frank Hatchett, and others. Nicole is the proud mother of three boys and loves dancing and spending time with her family.

Jennie Membrino-Nano

Modern, Competition Team Choreographer

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Jennie received a BFA in Dance from The University of The Arts, Philadelphia College of Performing Arts. While attending the university she focused strongly on choreography and choreographed several dance pieces, which were performed in Philadelphia. Jennie has 20 years of teaching experience throughout the New England area teaching modern, lyrical, jazz, & hip hop. She has continued her training by observing conventions and attending workshops. Jennie has choreographed several local musicals and numerous competition pieces which have received overall high scores and special awards at the regional and national level. She has been the founder and artistic director of Jennie & Company, a modern/jazz dance company based out of Massachusetts, for the past 20 years. Jennie currently runs the modern program and is a competition team choreographer at The Dance Center. She is looking forward to another great year at TDC.

Dede Recko

Ballet

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Dede received a BFA in Dance from the Boston Conservatory of Music. She has owned and operated her own studio in Shirley, MA. She is certified by the Royal Academy of Dance to enter students in ballet examinations. Dede writes, narrates, and choreographs delightful story ballets!