CURRENT VOLUNTEER TEACHERS FOR 2016-17 SCHOOL YEAR
Tal Adani, Volunteer Coordinator and Yoga Teacher
Dance to Unite Meetup organizer
Tal Adani holds a Masters Degree in Education and Special Education. She is an ABA ( Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapist and has vast experience working with young children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities. Tal has been a devoted practitioner of Dahn Yoga (Korean style) for the past 8 years. Her passion for working with children as well as for the philosophy and practice of yoga sparked her interest in getting certified as a Yoga instructor by ‘YogaKids’; an internationally accredited program. Tal is not only our volunteer Yoga teacher but also our Dance to Unite's coordinator of volunteers' recruitment and orientation. Tal’s mission is to foster a sense of acceptance and unity among children with special needs and their peers and to promote peace by helping children connect with themselves, their community and the world around them!
Kayla Armstrong, Hip Hop and Jazz Teacher
Kayla Armstrong is a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College majoring in Business Management and minoring in psychology and Dance. She is currently working and facilitating classes at R.E.C.E.S.S in Brooklyn, studying Hip-Hop with dance crew Pivotal Action Crew and is the Senior Ad Director of a publication called Fresh U Marymount. Kayla is always open to trying new things and is not afraid to reach out eagerly for a newer and richer experience; from a very young age, she has enjoyed expressing herself and exploring various forms of arts from painting, sketching, playing instruments to choreographing her own original dances.Kayla has an adventurous, mature and outgoing personality that can brighten up a room, with her cheerful smile, infectious positive attitude and enthusiastic spirit, she has touched and enriched the lives of our Dance to Unite students for the past 3 years.
Madelyn Sher, Modern Dance Teacher
Madelyn Sher was born and raised in New York City. She attended LaGuardia High school of Music & Art and Performing Arts where she was a drama major, and has continued to act professionaly since High School. Madelyn has studied dance for many years, including Ballet, Graham-based Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hop and various other styles. She has trained at the Staten Island Ballet, The Ailey School, Lehman College and participated in many workshops and summer intensives. As the daughter of a visual artist and jazz musician, she envisions her future in the arts; she also hopes to travel, discover, and give back to the community (both locally and globally) as much as she can. She is currently a philosophy and dance major at the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY Lehman. Madelyn begun volunteering with Dance to Unite in spring 2014 and she is thrilled to continue working with such a fantastic organization that brings the joy of dance to the children of New York.
Femmel De La Rosa, Social Latin Dance Teacher: Salsa/ Bachata and Merengue
Femmel De La Rosa specializes in social Latin dance such as: Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue. She has a minor in dance with a concentration in modern dance and choreography from Lehman College. Also, she organizes and choreographs dance routines for talent shows in her Hispanic community and participates in various dance clubs; where the focus is on helping each other to get better and learn more while having fun.
This is the third year that Femmel joins Dance to Unite as a volunteer teacher.
Juliya Abdullayeva, Jazz Teacher
Juliya Abdullayeva was born and raised in Uzbekistan. She came to America when she was 22 years old. She graduated a professional ballet school in Uzbekistan, Tashkent city, and has performed in Big Opera and Ballet Theater of Tashkent for several years. Juliya has experience in ballet, Uzbek national dance, waltz, jazz, belly dance, modern and many other dance styles. She is licensed as a home health aid, real estate agent, personal trainer and this year she is working on her esthetician license. Juliya's part-time job is as a background actor for tv shows and movies. She has an 8-year-old daughter that loves to dance just as much as Juliya loves it. Last year She started as an assistant at Dance to Unite and absolutely loved it. This year Juliya is coming back as a teacher and is very excited about that.
Renee Royles, Modern Dance Teacher
Renee Royles is a sophomore at Marymount Manhattan College, and is studying Speech Pathology and Audiology with a double minor in Dance and Social Work. She moved to New York from Los Angeles last year, in the hopes of dancing and thriving in the best city in the world! Renee joined the Dance to Unite family last year, and was an assistant for Tal Adani at P.S 140 teaching "hip-yoga." In addition to working with Dance to Unite, Renee works a part-time retail job as a sales associate at Dylan's Candy Bar. Renee has been dancing since the age of 3, and has experience in the following styles: ballet, contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, salsa, musical theatre, and tap. Renee was a member of two dance teams at her high school over the span of three years, as well as the Visual Kapture Dance Company in Los Angeles. She has experience dancing in large groups, medium groups, trios, duets, and as a soloist. Renee was also a dance teacher and assistant coach for the Visual Kature Dance Company for four years. Dance to Unite has given Renee the opportunity of a lifetime, and she cannot wait to spread the Dance to Unite message throughout New York!
Alexa Lissie, Jazz Teacher
Alexa Lissie is studying Psychology and Dance and Marymount Manhattan College in NYC. She is aspiring to earn her Masters of Psychology in child psychology and wants to open her and operate her own dance studio. As well as volunteering for Dance to Unite in East Harlem and being a full-time student, she is also a Peer Leader at MMC and works 2 jobs at Biscuits and Bath and Mark Restaurant. Alexa began her dance career in 2009 with Ballet and Contemporary. Since then, she has picked up Lyrical, Modern, Jazz, Theater, Hip Hop, Tap, and Pointe and has been dancing ever since. It was when Alexa was offered her first reaching opportunity in 2013 that she realized she wanted to continue to pursue it, as she is passionate about dance and inspiring others to dance the way she was.
Adelina Bracero, Teacher Assistant
Adelina is a native New Yorker who started dancing at 2 and-a-half years old. She has trained in tap, ballet, jazz, acro, modern, hip-hop and lyrical, although she considers jazz her favorite. Adelina is also a member of her school's dance team. When not dancing, Adelina attends high school and enjoys spending time with family and friends. She is also an ambassador Girl Scout working towards her Gold Award. This is is her second year with Dance to Unite and she is really excited. She loves teaching kids the art of dance. She hopes to have her own studio someday, to continue her new love of teaching.
Kohtaro Kosugiyama, World Fusion Teacher
Kohtaro is an undergraduate at NYU, studying Global Liberal Studies. He was born in Tokyo, Japan, but he also spent last two years of his high school in an international boarding school called Pearson College UWC (United World College) in Victoria, Canada. He spent those years with friends from over 80 countries, and the great multicultural experiences he got there made him a passionate changemaker to achieve a more peaceful world. He worked as a dance director at Pearson College learning and teaching dances from many different cultures around the world, especially Ukrainian dance. He is thrilled to share his love to dance and the beauty of diversity with students!
Alexa Mamoulides, Ballet and Lyrical Teacher
Alexa Mamoulides is from West Texas where she has been dancing for most of her life. She has trained in ballet, lyrical, and modern and attended several intensives with Ad Deum Dance Company and Webster University. She danced with a Christian fine arts studio for the last six years which introduced her to dance ministry, showing her the uniting power of dance. After doing some assistant teaching in high school, she had the opportunity to teach several classes including ballet and dance ministry during her senior year, and that experience really solidified her desire to teach dance in the future. She is currently a student at NYU majoring in linguistics and minoring in dance and global education. Alexa is so grateful for the opportunity to use her experiences to work with an organization like Dance to Unite that shares her passion for using the arts to improve kids' lives.
Emma Winkley, Teacher Assistant
Emma Winkley is a first year student at New York University, studying Global Liberal Studies. Emma began her journey as a dancer at the age of 5, taking classes in tap, ballet and Irish dance. After studying ballet for most of her childhood, she began training in modern, jazz, and hip hop dance as a young adult. In high school she danced on her high school’s dance team, preforming at school events and at competitions. She loves working with kids and and believes that doing good in the world originates with empowering today’s youth. For Emma, dance is an escape from reality, a moment of Zen, and she hopes to inspire the children she teaches to see and appreciate dance in the same way.
Allegra Preuss, Contemporary and Ballet Assistant teacher
Allegra Preuss is currently a senior at New York University as a dance and journalism double-major. She began studying dance at the age of eleven and attended New World School of the Arts High School where she developed her interests in dance choreography. Allegra has choreographed many of her own pieces as well as performed in dance works by world reknown choreographers. Throughout her life she has worked with kids as a dance teacher at studios and summer camps. She is interested in the intersection between dance and all other art forms as a way to draw interest to dance and bring dance to people who may never have imagined it to be a part of their life. Allegra believes that dance is a meditation that can be enjoyed by anyone who is open to it.
Keanan Pucci, Teacher Assistant
Keanan Pucci is a 1st year Game Design student at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. He grew up in Connecticut and started his experience working with kids there as a local theatre camp counselor. Keanan was heavily involved in theatre, dance, and volunteer work throughout high school and has been trained in hip hop, tap, jazz, and ballet. While looking for a new dance outlet here in NYC, Keanan heard of Dance to Unite and saw an incredible opportunity to combine his passions.
Bailey Everett, Teacher Assistant
Bailey Everett is a student at Pace University in NYC. She started dancing at a young age at the Dance Theatre of Dalton in Dalton, Georgia. There she trained in multiple styles of dance: ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop, and contemporary. In the summer of 2015, she got the opportunity to train with the legendary Rockettes in NYC. She was an assistant dance instructor at her studio in Dalton, Georgia and loved to share her passion for dance with other students. She is absolutely thrilled to begin her journey with Dance to Unite and looks forward to what is to come!
Stephanie Davis, Teacher Assistant
Stephanie Davis is a student at Marymount Manhattan College pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Relations and Communications with a doube minor in Dance and Arts Management. She has been dancing since the age of three and has been trained in all major styles of dance. She is a graduate of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston and when at home spends her time teaching at the studio she grew up at. Aside from studying, Stephanie spends her time taking classes at Broadway Dance Center, participating in her university’s Hillel chapter, and exploring New York City with her friends. Stephanie is honored to be part of the Dance to Unite family and is thrilled to share her passion with the next generation of dancers.
Lynn Zilka, Ballet Teacher
Lynn is a new addition to the Dance to Unite family, and is working with students in East Harlem on the foundations of Contemporary Ballet. She graduated from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Dance, where she focused on Modern and Ballet techniques, and Postmodern and Modern Choreography. She has studied Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Modern, Ballet, Hip Hop and African Dance. The proud mother of a school-aged daughter, Lynn’s approach to teaching children is instinctual and incorporates her passion for dance, her love of children, and her enthusiasm for sharing fundamental concepts that build character and enrich life. Lynn is the Corporate Secretary of First American International Bank, which serves the Chinese American immigrant communities of Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
Carolina Alvarez Pusterla, Bollywood Fusion Teacher
Carolina Alvarez Pusterla is excited to join the Dance to Unite family! At the age of 12, she was introduced to dance as part of her school’s physical education program in Queens; she then went on to study at the Martha Graham School of Dance. Today, dance (in particular, Latin styles such as salsa) still plays an important role in her life. Carolina has worked in fundraising and marketing in the non-profit and private sectors for approximately 15 years. She attended Fordham University and has a master’s in public policy.
Elizabeth Earhart, Teacher Assistant
Elizabeth Earhart is an actress and swimming instructor here in NYC and has grown up with a passion for dance and knack for kids. She is so excited to be working with a program that supports such a beautiful message and really allows us to teach our children well the lessons of unity and togetherness.
Ilana Michaelson, Jazz Teacher
Ilana Michaelson joined Dance to Unite upon moving to New York City this fall. She is a student of Ballet, Jazz, Modern, and Contemporary, and spent several summers teaching dance in her hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. Ilana is currently a freshman at New York University. She is excited to be part of this wonderful organization!
Born and raised in New Jersey, Nirali was always surrounded by diversity. There she was able to embrace and fall in love with her ancestral Indian culture. Starting with tap at a young age, she eventually traded in those tap shoes for bells and trained in the north Indian style of Kathak. Along with the classical training, she became acquainted with the world of Bollywood. This outlet allowed her to see just how universal the language of dance is. In college, Nirali danced with a team in the Indian Fusion circuit that gave them opportunities to travel around the nation and perform pieces that told stories through different dance styles. While working in Boston, she joined Nazar Bollywood Dance Troupe to keep dance a stable part of her life. Now in NYC, Nirali hopes to share her passion by showing the children just how joyous and intertwined dance cultures can be. Dance to Unite is an amazing combination of everything Nirali is passionate about and an incredible way to expose children to universal values and diversity. She is excited to grow and become more involved with the program for the years to come!
Katie Gaydos is a Brooklyn-based dance artist and writer. Since graduating from UC Berkeley she has danced with Yannis Adoniou’s KUNST-STOFF, Robert Moses’ Kin Dance and most recently with NY based choreographer Madeline Hollander. Katie has presented her own choreography at KUNST-STOFF Arts (SF) and Triskelion Arts (Brooklyn). Her writing appears in The San Francisco Bay Guardian, In Dance and on the blog Culturebot. She is also the co-editor of Ugly Duckling Presse’s performance publication Emergency INDEX. Katie is honored to be apart of an organization, like Dance to Unite, that offers dance as a vehicle for compassion, unity, and empowerment.
PAST TEACHERS WHO ARE STILL INVOLVED
Jacqueline Mizrahi, Volunteer Coordinator and Zumba Teacher
Jacqueline Escava has been a Dance to Unite volunteer teacher for the past three years. She is passionate about helping others and working with diverse cultures. Dance has been part of her life since she was a child, her dance styles include Hip-Hop, Jazz, and Zumba. Jacqueline is currently a student at the Fordham Graduate School of Education purusing a Masters Degree in mental health counseling. Her combined interest of psychology and dance has made her a great fit for the the Dance to Unite community.
Mehrnoush Mirzaei-Reyes, Belly Dance Teacher
Mehrnoush Mirzaei was born in Tehran, Iran and raised in Germany. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Business and has worked in the advertisement field. Mehrnoush grew up with Middle-Eastern dance and music. While her artistic work is mostly influenced by her culture, she has explored other beautiful styles like Salsa and Flamenco. She started dancing 12 years ago and has performed as a soloist or part of ensembles like Raqsa (Nuremberg, Germany) as well as La Caminada (Berlin, Germany). She studied Belly Dance with great artists such as Enussah, Laila El-Jarad and Antonio Rodriguez. Five years ago, a dance instructor asked her to take over a class for a day. That was the moment she discovered her love for working with children and instilling excitement in them for the beauty of dance.
Vaishali Sinha, Kathak/ Bollywood Teacher
Vaishali Sinha is a professional Indian Classical (Kathak) dancer from India. Her roots in the classical arts were embedded in her since the tender age of 5, her inspiration came from her mother who is also a professionally trained classical Indian vocalist. Vaishali has trained in Kathak for over 14 years and understands the importance and benefits of following a regimented arts program especially for children. Vaishali is also well versed in the dance styles of Bollywood and Flamenco. She has traveled the world and has given performances in India, Dubai, Madrid and the US. She has experience working with both children and adults from all around the world, traversing boundaries of cultural differences while using dance as an equalizer to bring people together. Although Vaishali holds an MBA in Finance her true calling has been in the performing arts sphere, she is excited to follow her true passion and bring her unique dance style as well as her message of peace to the children of Dance to Unite!
Namrata Patel, Bharatanatyam Teacher
Namrata Patel is so excited to be working with Dance to Unite this year. She is currently a medical student at Tufts University conducting public health research at Columbia and working with the the organization: Harlem Children's Zone. Although it's her first year teaching for Dance to Unite, she is an experienced dance teacher. Her teaching experience begun nearly 10 years ago as an assistant dance teacher in Indian classical dance. In undergrad she was a choreographer and secretary for the organization: Dance Ensemble. With that organization, she learned a multitude of dance forms including hip hip, salsa, swing and step. Dance has always been a passion of Namrata's and that's why she is excited to share it with the students of Dance to Unite.
Emily Anton, Ballet Teacher
Emily Anton has been dancing, performing and teaching for most of her life starting with tap dance lessons at the age of 3 and transitioning to ballet at age 9. She has performed ballet professionally in California, Oregon, Washington, North Carolina and New York as well as currently touring the country as a soloist with Ballets with a Twist. Emily graduated with a BA in Dance and Movement Studies from Empire State College, and continues to further her education with trainings in the Franklin Method, BodyTalk and Hellerwork Structural Integration. Ms. Anton loves sharing her love of ballet and the movement of the human body. Emily feels so blessed to be involved with Dance to Unite!
Monica Lee, Latin Ballroom Teacher
Monica Lee was born in Taiwan but now lives here in NYC and lives her life full of passions. She studies at Parsons the New School for Design as an interior designer, works as a part time costume designer, and has been dancing almost her entire life. She began her dance journey as an aspiring ballerina but found her true personality and passion in ballroom dancing. She now competes regularly with her partner in the country and trains with three times world champion Ina Jeliazkova and Troels Bager. She believes that contributing to society and sharing her passion for dance will bring more happiness to her life and that is why she decided to join Dance to Unite.
Thomas Clayton, Hip Hop Teacher
Thomas is both a singer / songwriter / producer and the founder of NEONIC, a neon streetwear company launching this summer. He enjoys dance immensely, and sees it as one of the immutable, undeniable truths that binds all of us together. His mantra is: "we don't dance because we are happy, we are happy because we dance.
Brooke Stoker, Teacher Assistant
Brooke Stoker is currently a sophomore at Pace University, majoring in Film & Screen Studies and minoring in Peace & Justice Studies and Business. She has grown up dancing and has aspirations of one day pioneering a traveling dance company that lives, works, and creates out of a caravan of Volkswagen buses. When she is not daydreaming about living a nomadic lifestyle, she is working on writing her debut novel and making weekly videos for her YouTube channel, entitled "Bohemian Brooke." Brooke has been an assistant dance teacher for nine years and loves to choreograph works for dancers of all ages and styles. She is also a devoted yogi who strives to incorporate the healing and spiritual practice of yoga into her daily life. Brooke is ecstatic to be joining the Dance to Unite family and looks forward to learning and growing along with the yoga class that she assists!