FACULTY

Gina Solimando

Gina has always had a love for dancing and teaching.  Her passion was noticeable at a very young age.  She has had the pleasure of training with some amazing instructors throughout New York and New Jersey.  These instructors helped to shape her into the dancer, teacher, and person that she is today.

When Gina was first out of high school, she was approached by many people in the dance world about becoming a professional dancer. She had the training and technical skills needed to be successful in many different areas: Ballet, Lyrical or Jazz Companies, Broadway or Touring Companies.  Gina knew where her passion lied and that was in teaching.  She wants to pass on her knowledge, passion, and love for the arts.  She wants to inspire young dancers to follow their dreams.  Her success speaks for itself.  Gina's students have received dance scholarships to: North Carolina School of the Arts, Boston Conservatory, Mary Mount Manhattan, Northwestern, Suny Purchase, Point Park, Hofstra, Amherst, Northeastern, and Boston University to name just a few.  Many of Gina's students have been accepted into such prestigious summer programs as: The Rock, SAB/ABT, Joffrey, Ballet Academy East, Nyssa, and Alvin Ailey.

Gina always dreamed of having a dance studio of her own.  Finally, her dream has become a reality.  She is so excited to share this with all of you and looks forward to many, many years of inspiring others to reach for the stars.  Dreams really can come true. 

Carolyn Ockert

Carolyn began her training at both the Houston Ballet Academy in Houston, Texas, and with the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle, Washington.  She continued on to receive her BFA from the University of Arizona.  After college, she moved to New York City, gave up her pointe shoes, and tried something new, Broadway.  Some of her favorite credits include the Broadway productions of: Shrek the Musical, The Pajama Game starring Harry Connick Jr., Wonderful Town starring Brooke Shields, The Music Man starring Eric McCormack, Annie Get Your Gun starring Reba McEntire, Footloose, CATS, and the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.  She has had the honor of working with such legends as: Susan Stroman, Kathleen Marshall, Tom Wopat, Bernadette Peters, and Marilu Henner.

In addition to performing, she has been an instructor for over 10 years offering classes nationwide as well as being on faculty at the Joffrey Ballet School, NYC for their Summer Intensive Program. Her teaching style focuses on a positive atmosphere that is full of energy and is inspiring for all ages.  Classes emphasize musicality, clean lines, character interpretation, and execution of style; all of which are performance tools needed to equip and motivate young performers. 

Michael Rios

Michael is a native of NYC, born and raised in Brooklyn.  National tours: CATS (US, Canada, Costa Rica, Columbia, Panama, Venezuela), The Wizard of Oz (Dance Captain), Hello Dolly! (50th Anniversary Tour starring Sally Struthers).  Regional Theater: Peter Pan (Northern Stage), Fiddler on the Roof (Syracuse Stage).  Benefits: Bozarts Ball, Hospice (Syracuse Stage). Film: ABC Upfront (Stand-in for George Stephanopoulos).  Voice over: "Mass Transmission" by Mason Bates (speaker/singer).  Michael has also been seen in the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as concerts at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall (Lincoln Center).  Training: BFA Syracuse University, Steps on Broadway, Broadway Dance Center. Ballet: Ballet Hispanico, Igal Perry's Contemporary Dance.  Michael is also summer faculty at Brooklyn Ballet and a guest choreographer for Broadway Bound Dance Center (Dumont, NJ), and he has taught master classes across the country while on tour, including at Syracuse University.  Michael is a proud member of the Actor's Equity Association and joined their historic 100th year of operation.  To learn more about Michael, visit michaeljrios.com

Nick Hendricks

Nick began his dance career in Carlsbad, California, performing with his high school dance team in regional and national dance competitions.  He went on to get his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of California, Irvine.  There he was able to work with many notable names in the dance community such as Donald McKayle, David Allen Brown, Jodie Gates, and other major dance company choreographers.  While in college, he also received a full scholarship to the American Dance Festival where he performed with companies such as Hubbard Street, Shen Wei Dance Arts, Trisha Brown, and many others.  During his senior year at UCI, Nick took the opportunity to become an apprentice for River North Dance Chicago, where he was able to continue learning and performing with the company. While in Chicago, he performed as a guest for other dance companies in the area and began his teaching career at the School of Performing Arts in Naperville, Illinois.  He then was given the role of jazz dance director at the Joffrey Ballet Academy in its first year, teaching both youth and professional classes.  Exactly one year to the day, Nick received a contract with Celebrity Cruiselines as a main stage performer touring across the southern Mediterranean Sea as well as in the Caribbean Islands.  After 6 months at sea, Nick received an offer to join the North American tour of CATS as a swing covering the roles of Mr. Mistoffeles, Mungojerrie, Tumblebrutus, and Pouncival.  He continued on the tour for a second year as an onstage swing playing the role of Pouncival.  Based in New York City, Nick is very excited to continue teaching here at New York Dance Center! 

Sean Haythe

Sean Haythe began his career as a Break-dancer with the Connecticut State champion Break dancing team “Almighty Rock Force”. He continued to work on his dance technique with the Hartford Ballet. At the age of 18, he was offered a full scholarship to study at the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

Sean was an original cast member in the Broadway Production of FOOTLOOSE. He has also performed at Madison Square Garden in “A Christmas Carol” starring Hal Linden and Roddy McDowall. Other performance credits include the National Tour of Annie Get Your Gun; The Wiz and West Side Story. Some of his favorite credits include performances with: C&C Music Factory; Martha Wash; After 7; and Crystal Waters. He has had the pleasure of working with Susan Stroman, Marilu Henner, Tom Wopat, Susan Stroman, A.C. Ciulla, Dan Karaty, Carmen Electra, and Freedom Williams. He has appeared on/at: BET; The Apollo; Madison Square Garden and Regis and Kathy Lee to name a few. 

Nicole Brusca

Nicole has had a love for dance since the young age of 2, when her parents signed her up for creative preschool. In the years to follow, it was obvious that she had the natural-born talent to dance.  She dedicated her time to an intense dance schedule, long rehearsals, and constant volunteering for her studio.  She began her teaching career as an assistant at the age of 11 and had her first class by the age of 16.  Nicole continued her love for dance through college, at East Stroudsburg University where she led her school's dance team in their performances during basketball games and recitals every year.  Her passion and desire to continuously learn brings her to classes at Broadway Dance Center every chance she gets.  She always absorbs what she learns and it constantly reflects on her enthusiastic teaching.  After all of her outside experiences, Nicole has found herself back doing what she loves.  She excels in Lyrical, Jazz, and Hip Hop and loves working with young dancers building their foundations in dance. She loves being a part of the NYDC team, especially as one of the directors for the competition team.     

Pedro M. Gonzalez

Initially a street dancer from the Bronx, Pedro managed to broaden his dance background and artistic creativity with training in Modern, Jazz, African, Hip Hop,  Salsa, and Ballet.   He majored in dance and choreography at Lehman College of Performing Arts.  Pedro has performed with Joan Millers Dance Players, Forces of Nature, Alpha Omega Theatrical Dance Company,  and was the founder, premier choreographer, and artistic director of the Just Us Dance Company.  His choreography reflects currents trends in the urban communities; while fusing the diverse styles influenced by his former mentors.  A result of his style of choreography is a mutual appreciation of the performing arts within different generations, ethnic cultures, and urban communities.  Pedro has appeared in music videos and choreographed/directed several off-Broadway Hip Hop productions in NYC such as "Full Out" and  "Dansical."  Pedro is a former Hip Hop instructor for Pathways for Youth, Jubilee Multicultural arts Center, Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club, and the Paraclete's Arts Center. 

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Alyssa Balarezo

Alyssa Balarezo is a recent graduate from George Mason University with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Business.   Alyssa grew up in Goshen, New York dancing here at New York Dance Center. Prior to college, Alyssa attended the Joffrey Ballet School Summer Intensive (2012) participating in the ballet program, jazz program, and pre-professional track as well as The Rock School West Summer Jazz Intensive (2012 and 2013). While at Mason, Alyssa was honored to have received the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Scholarship in 2016.  Throughout Alyssa’s collegiate career she had the pleasure of working with choreographers such as Nick Pupillo, Roger Jeffrey, Christopher d’Amboise, and Durrell Comedy as well as perform in many student choreographed pieces.  Alyssa also had the opportunity to choreograph two pieces for Harris Theater “Una Noche en la Ciudad” in 2017 and “Medially” in the spring of 2018. Shortly after graduating, Alyssa performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. for the American College Dance Association Nationals. 

In the summer of 2018, Alyssa attended New York Dance Project’s Summer Intensive in New York City for four weeks in addition to the Bounce Summer Intensive. Alyssa is thrilled to be back in her hometown.  She is honored to choreograph and share her love for dance with all of the students and the dance team at NYDC.  

Keeko Nakadai

Keeko Nakadai grew up in New York City with a love for performing arts from a young age.  Her first love being music, she always dreamed of finding a way back to playing music.  It was only after her theater acting and writing journey with MCC Theater's Youth company that opened up her palette to tap dancing later on.  She started studying and taking classes at American Tap Dance Studio, Broadway Dance Center, and Steps on Broadway.  Throughout her journey, she has been fortunate to learn from and dance with Claudia Rahardjanoto, Germaine Salsberg, Lynn Schwab, Derick Grant, Mark Albrecht-Mitchell, Sarah Reich's Tap Music Project, Andrew Nemr, and Bessie award winners Michelle Dorrance and Nicholas Van Young at The Institute for the Rhythmic Arts in Chicago.  She hopes to bring tap dance to more people and is very excited to be part of the future of the art form.

Kat Bark

Kat Bark is coming to us straight from the University at Buffalo where she graduated with a BFA in Dance. While at the University at Buffalo, Kat was a part of the Zodiaque Dance Company for three years.  Throughout Kat’s college career she had the pleasure of working with choreographers such as Tom Ralabate, Jennifer Golonka, BAIRA, Danielle Lydia Sheather, and Rich Ashworth, as well as perform in many student choreographed pieces. Kat also had the chance to spend a summer training at Broadway Dance Center in their Professional Semester Intensive where she got to work closely with Phil Orsano, Nick Kenkel, and Rachel M. Hettinger. Before graduating from the University at Buffalo, Kat had the opportunity to study abroad for five months in Israel where she trained with the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company; where she got to work with Rami Be’er, Nadav Gal, David Warren, Yamit Kalef, Gali Kalef Hayun, along with performing in the Zichri Theater. Kat has also performed at the Ailey CitiGroup Theater with the BalaSole Dance Company and was a part of the DUMBO Festival while working with upcoming choreographer, Moriah Markowitz.  Kat also had the opportunity to choreograph for the Zichri Theater, “7.38.1939” in 2018, and two pieces for The Katherine Cornell Theater, “human.” in 2017 and “Paralysis” in the spring of 2019. Kat is very excited to be joining the New York Dance Center team and sharing her passion with her students. 

Abby Siegel

Abby began dancing at the age of three when she started ballet and tap. During her years at NYDC, she spent countless hours in classes and long rehearsals, dedicating her time at the studio. Abby began her teaching career as a student assistant and started teaching her own classes upon graduation. She enjoys working with young dancers and helping them perfect their art through the importance of technique and performance. She hopes children are able to learn dance in a fun and structured environment, focused around their passion and love for dance.  

Darrigan DeMattos

      

Darrigan’s love for dance began right in the heart of Orange County. She trained under the direction of Marya Kennett and knew she wanted to someday follow in her steps as a dance teacher. Darrigan received her BFA in Dance Performance with dual minors in Marketing & Performing Arts Management from the Hartt School, University of Hartford. Darrigan currently dances with Awaken Dance Theater in New York City and has worked with the Hartford Dance Collective, One Day Dance, and The End Ensemble. She has performed works by Jose Limon, George Balanchine, Stephen Pier, Adam Barruch as well as student choreographed works. 

Darrigan’s own choreography has been selected to perform throughout Connecticut and New York City. Darrigan is a certified yoga instructor and is currently working at Orange Regional Medical Center Foundation. She is very excited to teach her passion to the community.

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Katie Hatfield

Katie discovered her passion for dance at a young age. Ever since, she devoted her time to participating in as many classes, competitions, and performances as possible. During her time as a student at NYDC, her love for dance grew and she developed a passion for teaching as well.  At the age of fifteen, Katie was given the opportunity to become a student choreographer for New York Dance Center’s competition team. She choreographed multiple award winning dances and won a choreography award, all before the time she graduated high school. Katie is currently training with Broadway Dance Center and plans to attend college for dance in the future. She has had the opportunity to perform at venues such as Lincoln Center, Disney World, and Bethel Woods. Katie loves teaching and is excited to work with the amazing students at NYDC.

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Student teachers

We love giving our talented students the opportunity to further develop their passion for dance. Their hard work and dedication is passed on through the young students they teach. Our student teachers are incredible role models and we are so proud of them! 

This year we are proud to announce...

 

Megan Amante & Anna Fitzgerald as our student teachers.