Rockwell Dance Center

Faculty

 
 
 
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Nikole LaChioma - Owner, Director

BALLET – CONTEMPORARY BALLET – MODERN – POINTE

Nikole LaChioma is a Cum Laude graduate from Marymount Manhattan College and holds a BFA in Ballet. Most recently, Ms. LaChioma has become owner and Director of Rockwell Dance Center.  She had previously held the positions of Artistic Director of the Performing Arts Center of Connecticut and Artistic Director of In Motion Dance Company for the past 13 years. In 2007 she became the Founder and Artistic Director of The Parker Project a contemporary dance company.  Nikole is an ABT ® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT ® Teacher Training Intensives in Pre Primary through Partnering of the ABT ® National Training Curriculum.  Ms. LaChioma is proud that three of her pieces have been invited to the Youth American Grand Prix 2015 and 2017 Finals in New York. In 2017 YAGP named her Outstanding Choreographer and her ensembles placed 2nd overall in Boston.  Her choreography has also been set on the professional company, Florida Dance Theatre, and she has had pieces accepted at the International Dance Festival-NYC, “Dance Under the Stars” professional dance festival in California, Solstice In Times Square (BCEFA/DRA) and CT Meets NY Dance Festival. Her works with The Parker Project have been performed at many venues in Connecticut and New York.  Ms. Lachioma is an instructor and choreographer in the disciplines of ballet, pointe, modern, jazz, musical theater dance, and also teaches dance composition, improvisation, contemporary partnering and tap.

Ms. LaChioma feels fortunate to have had many wonderful performance opportunities. Most recently with BalaSole Dance in NYC, where she received this review from Dance Europe Magazine: “She’s a personable performer whose expressions create a connection with the audience…. On top of this acting ability, her clear and easy technique make her a joy to watch.” Nikole has had the privilege of dancing with Hartford Ballet under the direction of Kirk Peterson, Raymond Lukens and Franco DeVita as both their student and as Clara in their American Nutcracker. Other roles include Snow Queen with Connecticut Dance Theater, the privilege to dance with Wayne Sleep and the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain in Kent, in Scotland at the Aberdeen Youth Festival, with the Scottish Ballet (Ken Burke) and at His Majesty’s Theater. Locally she has performed in many musical theater productions and has served as choreographer for both area high schools and theater organizations.

Nikole has had the pleasure to study at the Complexions Summer Choreography Intensive with Desmond Richardson and Dwight Rhoden, SAB, Boston Ballet, Hartford Ballet with Raymond Lukens Franco DeVita and Kirk Peterson, Pedro Ruiz, Katie Langan (Ballet) Beth Goheen (ballet), Karen Festog (ballet), Denise Vale (Graham), Kristina Berger (Horton), Max Stone, Jana Hicks, Dominique Kelley (tap and hip hop) and Manwe Saul-Addison (Hip Hop). Ms. LaChioma has studied voice with Melissa Hart (Cabaret, Candide), Scott Handley and Joyce Erickson.

 
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CAROLINE FERMIN

Modern – Improvisation - Ballet

 

Caroline Fermin graduated from New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts and later, the Juilliard School with a BFA. She has performed all over the world for a variety of ballet and modern companies. She is a founding member of Gallim Dance where she was a company member for six years and served as Rehearsal Director and Education Chair. As a choreographer Caroline works collaboratively with clowns, actors, sculptors, painters, filmmakers, and fashion houses. She has created work for actors at NYU Tisch, actors/dancers at Western Wyoming Community College, and for the playwright Daniel Talbott.  

Ms. Fermin was a teaching artist in NYC public schools and is a proud member of Artists Striving to End Poverty, a non-profit dedicated to empowering young people through the Arts. With ASTEP she sat on the organizing committee for the Artist As Citizen Conference, a summit for young arts leaders held annually at the Juilliard School. 

This year she has been commissioned to create a new work for Stockton University’s dance program. As an advocate for social justice, Caroline works extensively with community engagement programs. She brings her expertise in arts and youth leadership to organizations such as New York City Center, Dancewave, and Artists Striving to End Poverty. Caroline has run dance education programs at Snow College in Utah and in collaboration with the Juilliard School in her hometown of New Orleans. This year will see Caroline teaching at Barnard College/Columbia University specializing in improvisation and classical modern. Caroline lives in New York City with her cat Nell, and they both enjoy bird watching.

 
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JAIME HICKEY

Ballet – Pointe - Variations

 

Jaime Hickey was born in Bayonne, NJ and received her initial training at Ms. Huguette’s Dance Studio, Ms. Neuberts Ballet Institute in Carnegie Hall, New Jersey Ballet, and also competed with the DeNogla School of Irish Step Dancing.

Jaime furthered her training at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts in Natick, MA before attending the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at American Ballet Theatre. Here she studied under the direction Franco DeVita and Raymond Lukens. Jaime also trained privately with Fabrice Herrault.

Jaime was named an American Ballet Theatre National Training Scholar. Upon graduation from JKO, Jaime joined American Ballet Theatre II directed by Wes Chapman during which she travelled both domestic and internationally with the company.  At age 19, Jaime joined the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago under the direction of Ashley Wheater. Here, she performed works by Lar Lubovitch, Frederick Ashton, George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins, Robert Joffrey, Gerald Arpino, and more. In 2013, Jaime joined Ballet West where she performed roles in Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle. Jaime also performed with the Barak Ballet in Los Angeles, CA and RPM Productions in Chicago, IL.

Jamie completed the American Ballet Theatre National Training Curriculum in Pre-Primary through Level 7 and Partnering in 2014.

Ms. Hickey is currently on faculty at the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School at ABT and Mason Gross School of the Arts Extension Division at Rutgers University. In 2017, Jaime co-founded My Ballet Mastered, video analysis coaching. 

 

 
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OLIVER TILL

Ballet – Variations - Partnering

 

Oliver Till, Soloist with Birmingham Royal Ballet, England, was born in Virginia, USA.

He started dancing ballet and tap at the age of 8 and joined The Royal Ballet Schools Junior Associate program at age 10, where he performed the role of Fritz in Birmingham Royal Ballet’s The Nutcracker.At 11 Oliver was accepted to The Royal Ballet Schools White Lodge under the Directorship of Gailene Stock OME.Age 16 Mr. Till joined The Royal Ballet School’s Upper School in Covent Garden, London. He received Distinction at RAD Intermediate level and The Potential Award at The Young British Dancer of the Year

Oliver Till graduated in 2007 with Highly Commended and joined the ranks of Birmingham Royal Ballet, during which time he has performed roles such as; Hilarion, Eros, Dr Coppelius, Dancing Partner in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Coppelia, Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake, Giselle, Sylvia, choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, Sir Kennith MacMillan, Sir Peter Wright, David Bintley OBE and George Balanchine.

Oliver was promoted to First Artist in 2011 and to Soloist in 2016.

Oliver co-founded My Ballet Mastered, video analysis coaching, in 2017

 

RAYMUND LAGDAMEN

Hip Hop – Break Dance -  Dance Crew

Born and Raised in Iloilo, Philippines and eventually moving to the United Sates, Raymund Lagdamen started dancing at Central High School in Bridgeport, Ct. at the age of 15.  Along with a group of his friends, he created a high school dance team called Versus Dance Crew.  A year later he began his dance studies in dance, mostly in hip hop, at thePerforming Arts Center of Connecticut.  With his hobby turning into this passion, he auditioned for Double Up Dance Company’s Team Leggo.  A few years later, after all the hard work and dedication, he became their Assistant Choreographer.   Raymund appears in music videos for such artists as; international singer Kat DeLuna, Rickstarr (London, U), JohnThomas and local favorite Gabriel Brunot.  Mr. Lagdamen has also taught iat many dance workshops, such as “Be Inspired” and “ The Y.A.R.D.”.   Recently he was signed by the Block Talent Agency.  Raymund’s goal is to continue learning and to share his love and passion for dance with his students.

 
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DAISY INFANTAS

Hip Hop – Break Dance

 

Born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut, Daisy is a strong, charismatic individual that shares her love for the arts to others. Dancing at the age of 8, she learned how to dance primarily through her culture of Hispanic dances, which then became the bridge to learning all styles of Hip Hop. She was mentored by Jolet Creary(owner of Studio 860).  Jolet gave her the inspiration to become a leader in the University of Hartford’s Hip Hop dance team, Fenomena later in the years. Daisy is also an actress, a skill she worked at during her four years of training at her Arts High School. Daisy has worked in many of the Hartford Stage productions, such as Breakdancing Shakespeare and Comedy of Errors which was directed by Darko Tresnjak.

 

Ms. Infantas is currently studying Psychology at the University of Hartford, while teaching younger generations the art forms of acting and dancing through the Breakdancing Shakespeare program and at Rockwell Dance Center.

 

Daisy is motivated to continue her passion of dancing and acting while accomplishing her goal with being a therapist for younger children. Through her growth and accomplishments her goal is to share and inspire the younger generation to pursue their dreams and love for the arts. 

 

MARIA CHERNISKE

Hip Hop – Gymnastics - Acro

Maria Cherniske was born and raised in Connecticut where she took her first class at the age of three. Since then, her passion for the arts has continued to flourish. In addition to being a performer, Maria has taught dance to students of all ages for the past fifteen years and is a coach for competitive level gymnastics. Maria was a competitive gymnast trained by 2004 Olympic coach Alan Hatch and 2004 two-time Olympic silver medalist Annia Hatch. Following college, Maria continued her dance education at the Broadway Dance Center in New York. She trained under Rhapsody James in the 2012 winter session of Motivating Excellence. She is also a member of New York based dance companies Jamie J & Co and Humans Collective.

Maria has worked with choreographers such as Lisette Bustamante, James Jackson Jr, Dana Foglia, Rhapsody James, Luam Keflezgy, Kelly Peters, Derek Mitchell and Tanisha Scott. She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall in an ad for Rocawear clothing, with super model Coco Rocha at NYC's Fashion's Night Out, on national television with Icona Pop and in a national commercial for the Wendy Williams show.  She was also recently a principal in a commercial for Affinity Bank. In addition, Maria has done work for Nike and Adidas.  She appeared in Music Videos with popular up and coming artists and performed live with artists Matt Hunter, Carey Nokey, and L Michelle. Maria was the assistant choreographer for Rob Thomas’ music video “I Trust You” and most recently co-choreographed for the Off-Broadway hit “La Cancion.”

Maria travels internationally to teach acro/tumbling and dance. In 2012 she was selected to be a mentor for the program Creating Opportunities (www.creatingopps.com) developed by world-renowned choreographers Lisette Bustamante and Chonique Sneed. Since 2012 she has been an adjunct professor of Dance at Sacred Heart University. Maria is dedicated to perfecting her art and the love of performance. She believes that dance is the universal language and enjoys getting to know others and helping people get to know her through dance. Maria holds a B.A. in Psychology and Masters in Reading Education from Sacred Heart University. She also holds a Connecticut Teaching Certificate and is certified through Fitness, Gymnastics and Acro federations (listed below).  Website: www.MariaCherniskeDance.com

Certifications:

AFAA Group Fitness Certified 

BodyART Certified Instructor 

Adult and Pediatric First Aid, CPR and AED certified 

ACRO levels 1-6 through USA Gymnastics

USA Gymnastics Safety Certified - Artistic Gymnastics Coach 

 

TYLER DUBOYS

Modern – Partnering - Ballet

Tyler DuBoys hold a B.F.A. in dance from NYU Tisch school of the Arts.  In addition, Tyler is pursuing an independent study of Pedagogy and Musical collaboration with the Graduate Dance Department. Mr. DuBoys is an Alumni of the Performing Arts Center of Connecticut where he was a member of In Motion Dance Company and assisted the Director and set several pieces of choreography.

Tyler became a certified AntiGravity Yoga® instructor, which is what initially brought his dance and movement practices up off the ground and into the air. He has been teaching aerial classes in the tri state area for the past five years.

Throughout the years, Mr. DuBoys has had the opportunity to perform works by Larry Keigwin, Deborah Jowitt, Sidra Bell, Takehiro Ueyama (Take Dance), and Andrea Miller (Gallim Dance), just to name a few. In his final year at NYU Tisch he had the opportunity to collaborate with several international choreographers on new works for the Second Avenue Dance Company, and performed Mazurkas by the Jose Limon Dance Company at the Joyce Theatre.  Currently a member Streb Extreme Action Company, which combines virtuosity and technical skill with openhearted appeal.

It is clear to anyone who knows Tyler that he is an intelligent, creative, inspired dancer, choreographer, aerialist and person. It is our pleasure to have him back at the Performing Arts Center for Aerial Silks Classes/Workshops, choreography and teaching this year!

 
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ROBIN PASSMORE

TAP

 

Robin Passmore has devoted her life to the art of tap dancing. Starting out as a competition dancer, her love for performing soon led her to New York City where she is now the dance captain of Chloe Arnold’s Apartment 33, which recently performed at Lincoln Center.

She is most proud to have been a member of Jared Grimes’s Broadway Underground and to have recently worked on the pre-production workshop of his 42nd Street.  She has performed with Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies, most recently for a TEDTalk filming, and has also appeared in segments of both Sesame Street and Good Morning America!  

Robin is the proud owner of passMORE DANCE Studio in Swedesboro, NJ where she continues to pass on the tap dance legacy to her students and competition teams.  She also travels the country extensively, teaching workshops and setting choreography.  

Recently, in 2017 Robin became the New Jersey Director and Mentor for Chloe and Maud Arnold’s youth tap ensemble, #nofilterSoleTalk, and her tap expertise took her to Prague where she taught master classes and participated in tap jams, and to the UK TapFest as both teacher and performer

 
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KEITH LEONHARDT

TAP

A Connecticut native, is a tap dancer and teaching artist who considers himself a disciple to the art of tap dancing. He began his professional training at The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts with Clare O Donnell where he now teaches on faculty. He is a graduate of the jazz music program at The University of the Arts of Philadelphia, PA. He has studied & danced with tap luminaries Dianne Walker, Ted Levy, Ayodele Casel, Jason Bernard, & Corey Hutchins. He has entertained audiences under the Connecticut based tap company OD’N’Tap representing the company at The Ted Hershey Dance Marathon, Jazz Tap Center’s Tradition in Tap & The Big Apple Tap Festival in NYC. He has made appearances on WWLP-22News, The 23rd Foxwoods Resort and Casino Anniversary, Pratt and Whitney’s Anniversary Ball, Hartford Connecticut’s Trashion Fashion Show, RAW Artists of NYC & Boston, DFX Entertainment & Six Flags New England Shows & Entertainment Department.  In 2015, Keith produced & co-choreographed the tap show SHED! which premiered at The Bijou Theater in Connecticut honoring & respecting the history of tap dance.

As a teaching artist, current credits include Sacred Heart University’s Dance Program, The National Association for Dance and Affiliated Arts, The Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Work It Dance Challenge Competition and Convention Tour, and The Performing Arts Center of Connecticut where he now serves as the director of the tap program.  In 2016, Keith founded the PACC Tap Company, an intensive launching ground for serious young tap dancers to answer the needs of his students. Keith continues to teach, inspire, & perform throughout the Northeast honoring his teachers and mentors while perfecting his own craft.  He believes in the principles of pushing his own practices, loving his tap family & community, and always respecting the dance. He is committed deeply to tap dance which truly thrives in his teachings, choreography, improvisation, and musical expression.

 
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KIM SALTZMAN

Pre-Ballet & Tap – Ballet & Tap – Ballet – Modern Jazz

Kim Saltzman is entering her final year at Springfield College as a BS candidate in Health Science and a B.A Candidate in Dance. Ms. Kim was a valuable member of the Performing Arts Center of Connecticut both as a student and member of the “In Motion Dance Company.” She has contributed her talents as a rehearsal, choreography and teacher’s assistant over the years and her accomplishments include various productions such as A Winter Ballet, Peter Pan, Snow White, just to name a few. 

Ms. Kim has danced many lead and feature roles, but her favorite includes Dew Drop in Nutcracker’s Kingdom of Sweets, Snow White in Snow White the ballet, and lead, feature and pas de deux as a member of In Motion Dance Company. Kim has also performed for DRA, CT DRA, Ali’s Angels, Steven A. Merrihew Benefit Concert, Madison Square Garden, Swim Across the Sound, Dancin’ Downtown @ The Joyce, Dancefest, A Winter Ballet, A Spring Ballet, Ideas In Motion as well as at the American College Dance Conference.

Kim has always enjoyed sharing her love of dance with her students. She creates an environment for students where they gain a solid foundation in dance technique, terminology and performance while still having the chance to smile, laugh, and enjoy every minute. Ms. Saltzman is proud to be an alumnus of their school and to be back as an instructor at Rockwell Dance Center sharing her knowledge and love of dance with her students.

 

KELLIE SCHWEON

PreBallet & Tap -  Ballet & Tap - Kidz Bop - Modern Jazz – Int Modern - Yoga

Kellie graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Marymount Manhattan College with her BA in Dance with a concentration in Teaching Dance Arts, as well as with her BA in Theatre with a concentration in Theatre Performance.   As a dance educator, she has gone on to teach ballet, tap, jazz, musical theatre, and hip hop at many studios throughout New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. This summer Kellie received her 200 Hour RYT Yoga Teacher Training Certification as well as her Basic Children’s Yoga certification.

At Marymount, Kellie was selected three times to choreograph for the student choreography showcase entitled Dancers at Work. Her piece, Romp Therapy, was selected to be part of the New York Jazz Choreography Project Fall 2012 show at Manhattan Movement and Arts Center.

As a performer, Kellie is currently cast as Dr. Wink/Alison in Park Playhouse’s touring production of Pinkalicious The Musical. Most recently she was seen in Shelia Barker’s piece at Broadway Dance Center’s benefit performance honoring Frank Hatchett. Other notable regional performances include Monty Python’s Spamalot at Park Playhouse, Chicago with Frederick Town Players, and Cats at Way Off Broadway Dinner Theatre. Kellie was also honored to part of the original NYC musical workshop of Revival, under the direction of Christopher D’Amboise.

 

KATHERINE SARRIS

Ballet – Modern                   

Katherine Sarris has performed on 4 continents of the world, and her choreography has been showcased internationally. She is currently the Artistic Director for le groupe de danse Sky Touch in France. She also has been a solo performer & assistant stage manager with Project Dance in Times Square NYC, London, UK & Washington, DC. Ms. Sarris has moved audiences across the US from TX to MO, FL to NY with her dramatic and original style, performing in schools, churches, shopping parks, art fairs, and on Public Television.

Ms Sarris also has 15 years of experience in teaching dance. She founded the Master’s School of Sacred Choreography in 2001 – an interpretive dance studio which she directed for 8 years here in CT.  Ms. Sarris has also conducted numerous liturgical dance workshops & classes both nationally & internationally. In addition to completing 5 consecutive sessions of the Teacher Training Workshop with Ballet Magnificat! in Jackson, MS. , Katherine Sarris is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 5. Ms. Sarris studied interpretive dance & ballet under Karen Festog (formerly Royal Ballet). She studied ballet with Megan Philipp (Joffrey Academy), modern dance under Maria Colaco, hip hop from George Jones (“The Circus Tour: Starring Britney Spears”), jazz with Geoffrey Doig-Marx (founder of The Elan Awards), and theater dance under Jeff Shade (mentored by Bob Fosse).

In 2010 she relocated to Kansas City to be a trainee with Storling Dance Theater, a neoclassical modern-ballet company. Ms. Sarris was a company member with Dramatic Truth Ballet Theater, performing in adaptations of “The Nutcracker” & “Sleeping Beauty.” She also sang & danced through Tiffany Powell’s musical theater chorus line in “Variety Show KC 2013.” Katherine has been a student, piano teacher and performer for the past 10 years and is thrilled to be part of the Rockwell Dance Center faculty.

 
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JULIA MAGGIOLA

PreBallet & Tap, Ballet & Tap, Kids Bop, Jazz

 

Julia Maggiola graduated Magna Cum Laude from New York University, and since graduation has become a professional choreographer and dance teacher. In addition to teaching dance, Julia is a film and TV actor and currently freelances with an agency and management team in NYC. A Connecticut native, Julia began dancing in her home town of Fairfield, and was lucky to continue studying dance and performing in many locations, such as New York City, Los Angeles, and Florence, Italy. Julia has always had a passion for teaching and hopes to spread the joy and fulfillment that dance can bring to all the students she has the opportunity to have in her classes.

 

Julia has taught primary dance education for the past five years and her students and parents praise her ability making learning dance an enjoyable and educational experience!  Rockwell Dance Center is proud to have Ms. Maggiola as part of their faculty.

 

PADDY JARIT, MS, PT, SCS, ATC

Physical Therapist – Athletic Trainer

Paddy is a high profile Board Certified Sports Physical Therapist and Certified Athletic Trainer, also a competitive athlete, who is equally adept at treating male and female patients.  Under his knowledgeable and professional management, he owns both Physical Therapy for Women, P.C. in Trumbull and Sport & Orthopedic Physical Therapy in Fairfield. 

Paddy recently completed a New York City Dance Medicine Intensive at Westside Dance PT, and as a member of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science has been honored to be invited to speak at this year’s annual conference in Houston, TX.  Rockwell Dance Center is proud to have Paddy on staff for their dancers to educate and guide them to improve in their strength, conditioning and injury prevention.

Paddy’s approach to Physical Therapy is driven by his passion and commitment to provide one-on-one care that enables each patient to get back to doing their sport, hobby, dance or vocation as soon as possible.  The road to recovery begins immediately after the initial evaluation has been completed.  Patients should expect to be educated on their condition and immediately be integrated into their rehabilitation program.  He offers his patients the diverse expertise he has acquired from designing regimens for world-renowned athletic teams.  He is highly skilled in biomechanics and treating both men and women in their specific medical differences.

Paddy lives in Trumbull with his wife Rebecca (also an integral part of the PT for Women family) and have three children, Zachary, Shaina and Harrison (a long time dancer at RDC since age 4).

Rockwell Dance Center is proud to have him as part of their professional dance team!