Staff Teachers

 
Susan McLain
Susan McLain,
M.A.
Associate Director
Modern, Ballet
Betty Seibert
Betty Seibert,
FISTD, Dip.
Artistic Director
Ballet/Pointe
Karyn O'Toole
Karyn O'Toole,
M.A.L.S., LCUSA
Associate Director
Ballet, Tap
 
 
Joan Christensen   Ren Hansen   xi.JPG

    Joan Christensen

  Ren Hansen   Xi Wang
Tap   Hip Hop   Classical Chinese 
 
 
 
 

Student Teachers

Teaching Assistants

Taylor Caldarella 

Francesca Guarnieri

Kendra Hall

Monica Mulligan

Stephanie Thompson

 

Sophie Kozak

Ava Pulisciano

Amelia Purpora

Isabella Purpora

Sofia Valentin




 



Betty Seibert
Betty Seibert
FISTD, Dip.

Artistic Director

Ballet/Pointe

Betty Seibert is a Fellow of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, London, England and was awarded the Maestro Cecchetti Final Diploma in 1988, the highest classical ballet qualification obtainable.

She has been an examiner certified under I.S.T.D. guidelines since 1993 and currently serves as Director of Examinations of Cecchetti  USA, and in 2008 was elected Chair of CECCHETTI INTERNATIONAL - Classical Ballet serving the seven Cecchetti organizations world-wide.

As a principal dancer with the Florida and Maine State Ballet Companies, Ms. Seibert performed over a dozen leading roles in the classical repertoire, where favorites included Giselle, Coppelia, and Swan Lake.  She was featured dancer for the Sarasota and Asolo Opera Companies before founding her own company, the Florida West Coast Dance Company.  As a member of Actors Equity Association, favorite roles included Lola in Damn Yankees, Claudine in Can-Can, Dream Laurie in Oklahoma!, and Emilie in Les Liaisons Dangereuses.

She has choreographed over 40 musical theatre productions.  Before leaving Florida she restaged the original choreography of A Chorus Line.  Audiences responded enthusiastically to her inspired choreography of The Snow Goose.

Her teaching experience includes owning and operating the Seibert School of Ballet and Theatre Dance in Florida from 1978 to 1992; directing Barrington Ballet from 1992 through 1998; and owning and operating the Cheshire Dance Centre since 1995.  She has also taught at numerous national and international seminars hosted by Cecchetti Societies in the Canada, England, and the United States, including Pennsylvania Ballet Theatre’s summer school.  She has trained more than 1,000 students ranging from pre-kindergarten to adult, beginners through professionals, preparing students for professional companies, national tours, and performing arts colleges throughout the United States.

Ms. Seibert continues to emphasize the necessity of combining a sound syllabus for instruction with an emphasis on the theatricality of dance.


Susan McLain
Susan McLain,
M.A. 

Associate Director

Modern, Ballet

Susan McLain received an M.A. in dance with an emphasis in performance and choreography from George Washington University and a B.A. in dance and psychology from the University of Iowa.  Before coming to Connecticut in 1981, she performed in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Ms. McLain has been teaching modern and ballet for over 30 years, spending many of those years studying and performing with Ernestine Stodelle, one of the original members of the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company.  Her modern dance classes are based on the use of gravity, breath and fall/recovery of the Humphrey-Limon tradition.  She also teaches beginning & intermediate level Cecchetti ballet classes.

In addition to teaching at Cheshire Dance Centre, Ms. McLain is an adjunct faculty member in the dance program at NVCC and a member of the Kiva Dance Collective.  She is married to Dr. Michael Kellogg and is the mother of two sons, Alex and Will.


Karyn O'Toole
Karyn O'Toole,
M.A.L.S., LCUSA 

Associate Director

Ballet, Tap

Karyn O'Toole began dancing at the age of three with Gertrude Francis Holmes in Cromwell.  There she studied many forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, acrobatics, ballroom, and baton twirling.  She enjoyed assisting with classes and productions, and, eventually took over the school, expanding the programs offered and creating student productions of many classical ballets.  Ms. O'Toole received a BA from Saint Joseph College in Special and Elementary Education, with minors in Spanish and Dance.   She was employed by the State of Connecticut at Long Lane School as a Reading Specialist, and implemented therapeutic dance and movement programs to enhance academic and social growth.  Ms. O'Toole earned a MALS degree from Wesleyan University in Dance and Movement Studies, completing a program of diverse explorations within the dance and movement field.  Her final thesis combined research on historical perspectives with personal experience in offering dance as a form of prayer within the liturgical rite of Christian churches.

Ms. O'Toole began her Cecchetti ballet training with Jacqueline Anderson, and has been qualified as a Licentiate with Cecchetti USA (CUSA).  She continues to study with Mrs. Anderson in weekly classes and participates in Fellowship seminars led by Betty Seibert.  She has successfully entered over 250 candidates for examination in levels from Standard 1 to Grade 9.  For several years, she has attended International Summer Schools sponsored by CUSA and has served as their Head Chaperone.  For the past two decades, Ms. O'Toole was the Lead Teacher for the Berkshire Dance Theatre in Adams, MA, and was their Artistic Director for the past six years.   There she initiated a planned program of study for dance students from pre-school through high school, with progressive curricula in ballet, pointe, acrobatics, jazz, and tap.  She designed and directed seven original productions and was instrumental in bringing dance to many community groups.  Many of her students have continued their studies to become performers, teachers, choreographers, and therapists in the movement field.

Ms. O'Toole serves on the East Coast Committee for Cecchetti USA and is on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Dance and Affiliated Artists.  She has developed therapeutic programs for children with special needs as well as senior populations, and enjoys working with faith communities as a Liturgical Dancer.


 

 

Joan ChristensenJoan Christensen

Tap

Joan Christensen has been dancing since the age of four.  She would put on her black patent leather shoes, and after watching Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly, or Eleanor Powell, would use the fireplace hearth as her stage and tap away.  When the constant noise made her parents crazy...they sent her to dancing school.

Mrs. Christensen has studied with Charles Kelly, Judy Bassing, Lesley and Patti Lockery, and Aaron Tolson.  Her inspiration comes from watching Fred Astaire, Ruby Keeler, Eleanor Powell, and Gregory Hines.  As she reminds her students, "Articulation!  Articulation!  Articulation!  Use all parts of your feet!  Tap isn't just about stomping!  Keep your movements fluid; it should come back to your ears as bells and music."

Mrs. Christensen believes that tap should be fun.  There are rhythms all around us - listen and it will make you move your feet.  She is happy to be part of Cheshire Dance Centre and the wonderful teaching staff.


Ren Hansen
Ren Hansen

Hip Hop

Ren Hansen began dancing at age five by mimicking Michael Jackson moves. Dance has always been a hobby for him and he never thought it would lead him to a professional career. He ventured to many dance clubs in the early 90's to be a part of the circle dancing, also known as "the cypher." Mr. Ren entered and won his first competition at a high school dance party. This victory sparked enthusiasm to enter community competitions and seek out more Hip Hop.

In 2001, Mr. Ren co-founded Poetry in Motion with Red Supreme.  He is responsible for educating the rest of the Poetry in Motion crew to a great extent in Hip Hop history and dance technique.

Mr. Ren has lived in places such as Washington DC, New Hampshire, New York City, Connecticut, Philadelphia, and currently lives outside Boston, Massachusetts. Everywhere he's traveled, he has studied what the area has to offer Hip Hop.  Mr. Ren is passionate about continuing to educate youth about hip hop and propagate its powerful art form.


xi.JPG

 

Xi Wang has had an impressive artistic career that has spanned 18 years and several continents. She is internationally recognized as the premiere dancer and choreographer of Chinese Ethnic Folk dance. During her distinguished career, she has performed an extensive Yunnan ethnic dance repertory ranging from Dai, Wa to Hani, Tibetan ethnic folk dances of 17 minority ethnic groups in Southwest of China. Xi has worked in the prestigious Yunnan Province Opera & Dance Theatre in China lead by world-renowned choreographer Tao Chun, choreographer and director of The Closing Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics

 

   
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