Please click on a teacher’s name to see their biography and class descriptions
Rachel Bertone is an active and recognized choreographer, director, performer and teacher in the Boston area. Critics have said that her choreography is “delicious” and “takes your breath away.” They have also raved that when she “directs and choreographs [she] makes story and dancing inseparable.” Recent choreographic credits include: South Pacific, Les Miserables, My Fair Lady (Reagle Music Theatre), Joseph…Dreamcoat, West Side Story—IRNE Nomination for Best Choreography (Turtle Lane), Big River—BroadwayWorld Winner for Best Choreography*, Animal Crackers (Lyric Stage), Company, A New Brain, Lucky Stiff, Floyd Collins (Moonbox), A Little Night Music* (Metro Stage). Over the last few years, she has had the great honor of directing Joseph…Dreamcoat (Turtle Lane’s farewell production) and Assistant Directing for Broadway veterans such as David Hugo (Les Miserables), Kirby Ward (Fiddler), and Larry Sousa (Bye, Bye, Birdie). This fall she will be directing/choreographing The Musical of Musicals (The Musical)! with Moonbox Productions. Holding a BFA in Dance from The Boston Conservatory, she has performed with several theaters and companies such as Lyric Stage, Reagle Music Theatre, Fiddlehead, Liars & Believers, Boston Ballet, and Prometheus Dance. She serves on faculty at The Boston Conservatory, Boston Ballet, The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, and Artbarn Community Theater.
Beginning/Intermediate Musical Theatre
Rachel fuses her ballet, modern, jazz, and musical theater backgrounds to create a stimulating dance class for all levels and ages. With an emphasis on placement and alignment, she focuses on the development of technique through her challenging exercises that will strengthen the entire body-particularly the core, arms, and legs-and increase stamina. Combinations typically include original Broadway choreography or works inspired by legendary theatrical choreographers and performers. These routines will encourage students to work on expression, acting, and movement quality while building self confidence in their own personal style. Rachel stresses the importance of artistry, musicality, and positive-thinking but most importantly, she wants you to have FUN!!
Sean Bjerke started tapping into his body’s capabilities in 1991 as a Tae Kwon Do student, and still trains to this day. His teaching experience dates back to when he was 10. Even in his pre-teen years, Sean could understand and communicate basic body movement patterns to his peers, and has been teaching ever since. He currently teaches Tae Kwon Do at the JH Kim Tae Kwon Do Institute in Cambridge, and still actively competes in Olympic sparring competitions.
Sean began dancing in 2001 and has studied Hip Hop and related street styles for over 10 years. He has focused primarily on learning Hip Hop, Locking and House, and, in addition to his martial arts background, draws upon these styles when creating choreography for his students and for dance companies.
He served as an Artistic Director of Unyted Stylz from 2006-2012, teaching choreography, leading rehearsals, and producing numerous full-length stage performances. He currently choreographs for and trains Concept Artists (2012 – present), with whom he has won several performance awards in the Northeast. His style of movement can simply be described as “athletic” and is strongly influenced by native Boston teachers, Carl Alleyne and Ricardo Foster Jr. as well as Hip-Hop pioneer Buddha Stretch. Sean has taught at the Jeannette Neill Studio in Boston since 2010, and has recently focused his teaching on showing students the basics of Hip Hop.
“A person can take a basic step, practice it, understand it, change it, and invent something completely different. That’s what makes Hip Hop dance culture develop, and teaching this mindset is my contribution to aiding its growth in Boston.”
House Dance 1-2
House dance originated in New York clubs, but the music originated in Chicago during the disco era. The elements found inHouse music, such as jazz, African, Latin, soul, Hip Hop, R&B, funk, etc, drive a dance style typically characterized by intricate footwork, fluid torso movements and floor work.
In this class, students will learn foundational house technique, and use this foundation to develop an extensive vocabulary ofhouse dance steps and combinations, practiced and performed to various types of House music. Classes begin with a warm-up consisting of basic movement exercises and follow with additional techniques and longer combinations. Because House is a freestyle dance first, students will also be given opportunities to improvise and dance openly with each other.
Through practice, students will not only learn extensive vocabulary, but the FEELING associated with House music. BecauseHouse dance draws from so many other dance styles and rhythms, dancers and movers of all backgrounds and skill levels are invited to this class.
“If the music moves you, you can DANCE. If we can all dance together, we can LIVE together.” – DJ Savuth
Lillian Carter is creator and artistic director for the performance group Greenglass Dance Theater. She has received critical acclaim for her work as a performer, teacher and choreographer throughout New England and New York. She received a BFA in Choreography from the Boston Conservatory in 1990 and continues to teach locally at the Boston Conservatory, and the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio. Lillian provides dance workshops and master classes for many local studios and institutions. She was a guest choreographer at Regis College, Merrimack College, Bradford College and the Walnut Hill School Summer Theater Program. She developed and presented a dance performance and education series sponsored by Borders Books that was presented at the World Trade Center in Manhattan, Downtown Crossing in Boston, and throughout Long Island, New York.
Lillian Carter’s Jazz 1 class is a culmination of jazz, ballet and modern techniques. All three styles are utilized to create a well rounded dancer. This is a fast paced class that requires prior experience in basic movement techniques. Combinations presented in class range from a fast paced classical jazz style to a contemporary lyrical to musical theater. All combinations will explore performance techniques as well.
Tyhgita (Tyh) Céspedes is a dancer, choreographer and fine arts educator who focuses on hip hop. She seeks to share her expertise with individuals eager to learn the diverse culture, history and technique of dance.
She studied Dance at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. During her time in Kentucky she coached the Showstoppers Dance Team.
She was a member of Phunk Phenomenon’s hip hop dance team where she performed many major events including Celtic’s games. Tyh has been teaching Hip Hop and Jazz-Funk in and around Boston for years. She also created and facilitated a series of dance-movement therapy and community engagement workshops as an intern at The Dance Complex during the summer of 2014.
Tyh has performed and collaborated with Reggie Wilson, and has also placed first at Prelude Urban Dance Competition while dancing with Thee Slap Bracelets.
Hip Hop 1
Hip hop 1 is a high-energy class that introduces the 3 fundamentals of hip hop dance: breaking, popping and locking. We infuse the fundamental dance vocabulary with the latest social dance styles to encourage students to step outside of the box by bringing their own movement style and personality to class. Class includes warm up, stretches, technique drills and combinations. You can expect to build coordination, rhythm, flexibility and improvisational skills…and to have fun in this class!
Cristóbal Márquez is a native of Santiago, Chile. His dance training began at the Teatro de Municipal de Chile and the University of Chile. He came to the United States at the invitation of Houston Ballet and later had professional dance contracts with Colorado Ballet, Columbia Classical Ballet, and as soloist for Nevada Ballet Theatre. Mr. Marquez went on to guest for Roswell Ballet Theatre, Queen City Ballet, Ballet Fantastique and Denver Ballet. Representing the Republic of Chile at the Lincoln Center in N.Y.C. In 2005, he danced the pas de deux from La Fille Mal Gardee. He has worked with directors Ivan Nagy (retired from Ballet Santiago), Ben Stevenson (Texas Ballet Theatre), Martin Friedman (Kirov Academy, Washington D.C.), Ricardo Bustamante (San Francisco Ballet). Cristobal has danced under Hector Zaraspe (retired as Director of Juilliard) and choreographers Michael Pink (Milwaukee Ballet), Christopher Wheeldon (New York City Ballet), Peter Anastos (Idaho Ballet) and many others.
Cristóbal still performs as a guest artist and has served as guest faculty for ballet intensives while also privately coaching students for international ballet competitions. His passion for teaching began in Chile while working for Remolino Dance Theatre and the Ministry of Education for the Performing Arts. In this capacity he performed at international festivals throughout South America and had the honor of performing for the President of Chile. In 2009, Marquez was an advisor at the American Ballet Competition. In Salt Lake City, Cristobal began as co-founder of both the Salt Lake Ballet Conservatory and the Salt Lake City Ballet Conservatory in Utah. In April 2007 he opened his own Ballet Conservatory of Salt Lake City bringing a new vivaciousness to the dance community.
In 2014 Marquez was selected to be a part of the Dance South Africa Project, which is part of the LEAP program at Saint Mary’s College of California. While Marquez was in South Africa, his talent as a dance teacher and choreographer was feathered in two newspaper,”The Cape Argus” and “The Vukani.” It was there that Cristobal was connected with the Boston Arts Academy, where he began teaching in September 2015.
Heather Myers has been teaching Hip Hop dance in the Boston area and Southern NH for the past 10 years. A graduate of Framingham State University, Heather’s teaching experience is quite varied. In addition to a variety of local dance studios, she has also taught workshops for local schools and community programs, including The Charles River School and the Cambridge Dance in the Schools Program. She has also taught a Hip Hop dance course at Northern Essex Community College. In addition to her extensive teaching background, Heather has performed with several crews in the Boston area including: Static Noyze Dance Company, Project Nailz, and CONcept ARTists. Most recently, Heather has choreographed several pieces for Impact Dance Company in Cambridge, MA.
Hip Hop 2
This high-energy class is geared towards the intermediate level dancer. Heather’s choreography will focus on musicality, quality and texture of movement as well as groove and performance. Class will start with a warm-up and progressions across the floor. Drawing inspiration from a broad spectrum of music, the combinations range across different styles and tempos each week. Heather prides herself on creating a positive classroom environment where dancers can feel challenged by choreography while developing the confidence to explore their own skills as an artist/performer.
Stephanie Heroux has toured internationally as Dance Captain for Royal Caribbean International cruise line, and performed locally with the The Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, Lorraine Chapman The Company, and as a principal dancer for ACE Entertainment. She studied under the instruction of Matt Mattox and Chet Walker at The School at Jacob’s Pillow, and holds a BA in English Literature and Business Administration from Boston University. In 2005 Stephanie founded Jazz Inc., a production company specializing in contemporary dance and commercial theatre. Clients have included 28 degrees, Pearl Vodka, Bacardi, the Boston Bruins, The Webster Company, the Latin Pride National Awards, and several local theatre companies and dance festivals. She has choreographed regional theatre productions of Fiddler on the Roof, The Wiz, Fame, and On the Town, and worked for the Lowell House Opera Company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She teaches company class and choreographs for Harvard University’s Mainly Jazz dance company, in addition to teaching master classes across New England. Currently, Stephanie is on faculty at The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, Ballet Arts Center of Winchester, and Emerson College.
Challenge yourself physically and artistically! Class begins with a half-hour warm up focused on alignment, rhythm, stretching and strengthening, and employs elements of ballet, modern, and jazz. Adagio and progressions build and challenge rhythmic and technical elements. Combinations are taught quickly, span a variety of jazz styles, and incorporate turns, leaps, and floor work. Artistic variations and performance elements are encouraged throughout the class. This class is aimed at the intermediate to advanced dancer who yearns to be challenged technically and artistically, and to hone performance skills.
Jumps and Turns 2-3
This class is intended for the intermediate and advanced dancer looking to heighten their technical skills in jumps and turns for ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, and theatre dance. Class will consist of a Jazz-styled warm up, strength and flexibility exercises, and progressions focused on executing jumps and turns from the everyday to the unique. Technical emphasis will be not only on execution but proper alignment, increasing flexibility and core strength, and rhythm.
SKooJ is the Former Artistic Director of the Bostonbased Static Noyze Dance Company (World Of Dance:NYC/NJ Champions and Finals Best Theme Team), whom are a Theatrical Hip Hop Company that have guest performed for Governor Devaul Patrick, Harvard Business School’s New Venture Competition, and for colleges throughout the country. SKooJ’s organic approach toward movement created the Boston Community Dance Project (BCDP), a professional collective expressing their passion of story telling through contemporary and fusion movements. BCDP’s work can be seen at the Massachusetts Dance Festival, NYC Dance Week, NYC Carnival, Boston Contemporary Dance Festival and our annual BCDP show every August!
Her choreography and direction has also been featured on the HGTV series “Spontaneous Construction”, NESN, The Dr. Oz Show! and on the most recent WayFair.com Holiday and Spring Commercials! Her talents have also paired up with TedX Boston/ Philadelphia, New Balance, Broadway in Boston, The Pulse On Tour, Hot 96.9 Boston, AV Media, IDEXX, and LA’s own Club Jete and Carnival Choreographer’s Ball Anniversary Show!
SKooJ is also part of the adjudication world being on the judges panel for Prelude Urban Dance Competitions, Turn It Up Dance Challenge, Kids Artistic Revue(KAR), and Diva Dance Competitions. She also travels the country and teaches at their conventions and nationals locations setting productions on their selected elite dancers throughout the season! Most recently, SKooJ is on faculty of the new craze Artistic Dance Exchange!
SKooJ CorE-O entered the Music Video scene with choreographing for International Pop Artist Tamara Rodriguez, Pop/R&B Artist Erene, and Lucia Marie’s House of Blues Tour! Other credits include “Digital Love” by Makio, “Dance With You” by Bad Rabbits ft. Clinton Sparks, “Stay With Me” Cover by Keith London “Medicine” by Jack Newsome and her own dance concept videos with McCarthy Visuals, Moonculture Films, and Kuto Films.
Lastly, SKooJ partnered up with Salty Bovine Films with setting artistry for their past three short films ADONIS, MOSDEN, and TRENT while most recently showcased her acting talent in movies Basic Math starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel, TED2 with Mark Wahlberg, and Patriots Day coming out in 2017!
Hip Hop 2-3
This is class is made to elevate your technical skills to a performance quality level! Challenging the dancer though a stimulating grooves warm-up, complex rhythms, and intricate choreography, SKooJ will motivate you and have you exceed your own expectations. Comfortability in Freestyle is a must in addition to letting the musicality lead your movements.
This class illustrates the important to explore, invent, and express. Fusing the right amount of emotional attachment and technical strength will be evaluated through the choreography as well as the improvisational scenarios performed. Music selections range from Indie Rock, Acoustic, Soul, and even Electric House. This class will teach you the importance of being a “story teller” and how we can connect to all people through our body language
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Victoria Fraza Kickham
Victoria grew up dancing at her local dance studio in Massachusetts and went on to study dance at the University of New Hampshire, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English. She has a long affiliation with the Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, where she teaches in the adult and children’s programs and is also on the faculty of Boston Youth Moves, the studio’s non-profit teen dance program. She has studied with renowned jazz teachers Jeannette Neill and Lynn Simonson, and incorporates principles of the Simonson Technique—an anatomically aware approach to movement—into her adult and teen classes. Victoria also works as a freelance writer and earned her master’s degree in English from Northeastern University.
Contemporary 1 blends Jazz with Ballet and Modern techniques in a fun, fast-moving class for beginner and intermediate-level dancers. We start with a thorough warm-up, adagio, and progressions across the floor and end with a lyrical combination inspired by classic and contemporary blues as well as popular music.
Vicki’s Jazz 1 class is based on the Simonson Technique, an anatomically aware approach to movement developed by master jazz dance teacher Lynn Simonson. A thorough warm up, adagio, and progressions across the floor are followed by a jazz combination inspired by classic and contemporary blues as well as popular music. This all-level class is designed for both beginner and more experienced dancers, incorporating exercises that can be tailored to all levels.
Jeannette Neill is an enduring and moving force in the Boston dance and cultural community. She is the Founder and Artistic Director of The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, one of the oldest and most respected studios in New England and that has served as a supportive and encouraging training ground for aspiring dancers since 1979. She is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Boston Youth Moves, as well as one of the Artistic Directors of the Boston Summer Dance Festival.
Jeannette has an extensive teaching background that includes The Boston Conservatory, Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts and residencies at many New England Universities. Nationally and internationally, she has taught at Broadway Dance Center in New York City, The Milan Opera Company in Palermo, Italy, Danschuset in Goteborg, Sweden and the AIC Studio in Tokyo, Japan.
As a choreographer, Jeannette has choreographed for ABC Television’s Spencer for Hire, and for numerous industrial film and business theatre presentations, including Digital, IBM, Skyr, Bose, Hasbro and Citicorp. Jeannette has been a guest artist in New Directions in Tap, starring Gregory Hines and with JAZZDANCE: The Danny Buraczeski Dance Company.
Jeannette was the first person in the performing arts ever to be recognized by the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston when, in 2000, they honored her with a Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2002, she was the cover story of Dance Teacher magazine, an international dance publication, and in 2008 the Boston Dance Alliance presented her with their Dance Champion Award.
Jeannette’s careful, methodical and thorough warm-up is based on many principals of Simonson technique, which maintains that with mindful and careful attention to the body, a dancer can dance safely well into their mature years. Warmup begins standing with pliés, tendues and isolations. Careful stretching on the floor is also included. Experience Jeannette’s mantra “the secret of jazz is plié” in choreographed adagio and sequences across the floor, including turns and leaps. Her combinations can be funky or bluesy. Her style is classic jazz.
Classic Jazz Basics/Jeannette Neill Technique
Perfect for the new dance student and for those more advanced students who wish to further strengthen their dance abilities. This class offers students the opportunity to learn and understand the fundamental techniques and vocabulary of the classic jazz dance vernacular– all through movement. Featuring the tried and true warm-up and philosophy of master dance educator, Jeannette Neill, students will be taken through Ms. Neill’s comprehensive warm-up, including stretch and strengthening exercises, followed by fundamental across the floor progressions and a fun and lively dance combination.
For more than 35 years, Ms. Neill has honed her class to offer students a clear, inviting, safe and yet challenging dance experience. With a focus on rhythm and energetic movement, this class imparts students with the fundamental and important physical knowledge of classic Jazz dance.
Jenny Oliver has spent the past decade navigating a dance career in performance, teaching and research. A Magna Cum Laude graduate with a BA degree in Dance from Dean College and having received the Excellence in Achievement Award from the School at Jacob’s Pillow, Jenny has used her years of extensive training in Ballet, Modern (specifically Horton), Jazz, Tap (specifically Hoofin’) and Haitian Folkoric Dance, to create interesting choreographies and develop integrated teaching practices. She has trained at the Garth Fagan Summer Movement Institute and recently completed the Horton Pedagogy Program at the Alvin Ailey School in NY. She is currently on Faculty at Emerson College, The Dance Complex and Deborah Mason School of Dance, teaching Modern Dance. At Esh Circus Arts, she is teaching Dance for the Professional Preparatory Program and is a Guest Artist at Tufts University, teaching Haitian Folkloric Dance.
She was the Assistant Artistic Director and Principal Soloist for Jean Appolon Expressions (JAE), The Dance Captain/ Co- Choreographer for the Boston Tap Company (BTC), collaborating with Sean C Fielder (of the National Tour “Noise Funk”), has performed in Brenda Bufalino and Josh Hilberman’s Clara’s Dream: A Jazz Nutcracker, danced for Nailah Randall-Bellinger’s company Roots Uprising, performed with Tezz Yancey, Danny Swain and choreographies created by Adrienne Hawkins, Director of Impulse Dance Company. She’s worked in Residency with Brigette Dunn Korpela, Lane Gifford and Reggie Wilson and has taught for the Alvin Ailey Summer Camp Boston and Boston Ballet’s ECI Dept. She has also taught in Haiti and helped to establish a dance studio in Delmass 33, Art Locus Studio. She has been recognized by the International Dance Council CID and scouted by RAW, an LA-based talent showcase company.
Modern Connections is a Horton based modern dance class taught at a pace designed for the students in the room. Class begins with sequential and consistent warm-up,continues with center phrases that are designed to promote competence and growth of proper technique. Students are encouraged through proper corrections that are focused on alignment and detailed explanations of the initiation of movements. This is important in reducing injury to both new and seasoned dancers. Across the floor phrases that are poly-rhythmic in progression promoting a sharp mind and allowing the skill of acquiring information quickly and accurately to develop. Class finishes with a choreographed phrase that will use the Horton technique as a way to express emotion and movement quality.
Jim Viera has been a leading teacher and choreographer in the Boston area for more than twenty years. In addition to The Jeannette Neill Dance Studio, he has served on the faculties of The Boston Summer Dance Festival, The Boston Conservatory, Jacob’s Pillow, Walnut Hill School of Performing Arts and The Harvard Summer Dance Festival. Jim was also Associate Artistic Director of the Wheaton College Dance Program.
As a choreographer for ACE Entertainment, he has choreographed opening numbers for Rita Moreno, Gregory Hines, Grace Jones and Harry Connick, Jr. Jim has also choreographed industrial films for Digital Equipment, and live industrial presentations for Intellution, Champion Sportswear, Pioneer Investments, PUMA, Jordan’s Furniture and EMC Corporation. It was Jim’s vision of providing positive, professional, non-competitive dance training for young people that was the catalyst for the formation of Boston Youth Moves in 1990.
Jim Viera teaches a fast Jazz One class that incorporates many elements of Horton Modern technique, including flat-backs and full-body isolations. A lengthy abdominal workout and an adagio are also included. Across-the-floor sequences are next, followed by dance combinations that are usually blues or slow lyrical.