What could be more important to a student's progress and enjoyment of dance than a fabulous teacher?

At The Dance Connection we make sure our students receive the best instruction available. All our teachers have extensive experience as professional dancers or as dance teachers. Many even continue to work as professional dancers while working for us. Furthermore every single faculty member has an understanding of children and a passion for teaching.

David Kieffer (Owner/Director) has had an extensive and diverse career as a teacher, dancer and choreographer. He has taught students of all ages at various studios throughout the tri-state area. He guest teaches at Peridance center in NYC and is on the faculty at CAP 21 as part of NYU's musical theatre program. David brings with him an understanding of the professional dance world along with an enthusiasm for children and their boundless energy.

Throughout his career David has worked in many genres including ballet, modern, jazz, hip-hop, and musical theatre. He has performed with both domestic and international companies, such as Pascal Rioult Dance Theatre, Peridance Ensemble, Bat-Dor Dance Company of Israel, The Israeli Opera, Noemi Lafrance, New Jersey Ballet and Ballet Theatre of Scranton. David has also appeared in the feature film "Center Stage".

David has a degree in Theatre Arts from the State University of New York at New Paltz and has received ballet training from Boston Ballet, Igal Perry and Joseph Albano.

David has received critical acclaim for his dancing and choreography. Tim Martin of Dance Europe wrote that David's work "engaged the eye ...engaged the mind". While Roslyn Sulcas of the New York Times says "Mr. Kieffer has an extraordinary ability to move with pantherlike smoothness..." Most recently David has choreographed for the Belle Mead Ballet Company of N.J., which is in residence at The Dance Connection. David is also the director of his own dance company David Kieffer Dance Theatre based in New York City.

David is excited about sharing his experience and his love of dance with all the students of The Dance Connection.

Samantha Kempton Wyland graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Dance from DeSales University. She had many opportunities to study ballet and modern with a wide array of dance professionals such as David Parker, Elizabeth Strebb, Charles Moulton and Claire Byrne. Samantha received her early ballet training at New Jersey Ballet with Carolyn Clark, Eli Lazar and Natasha Girshov. In 2002 she joined the Belle Mead Ballet Company choreographing and performing in Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, The Wizard of Oz, and the Nutctacker. Her original piece, Pandora's Box was performed by the Hunterdon Repertory Ballet Company. In 2005 Samantha became assistant director of both the Belle Mead Ballet Company and The Dance Connection.

The Dance Connection is very fortunate to have Christina Cherry as the director of our Little Dancers program. Christina has danced all her life and has attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in NYC. She has a BS in psychology from Wilkes University and is certified in early childhood and elementary education in the state of New Jersey. She taught first grade from 1991-1998. Christina has been a staff member at The Dance Connection since 2004 incorporating her passion for dance with her love of teaching young children.

Corinne Mucha trained with Princeton Ballet School and later Joined American Repertory Ballet where she made her debut in Children of the Drum by Elaine Kudo. She performed in many pieces with ARB such as Silkscreens, by Graham Lustig, Nightingale in the "Nutcracker", "Concerto Borocco, by George Balanchine, "A Midsummer's Nights Dream", "Romeo and Juliet", by Septime Weber, and many others. She later became a guest artist with many companies where she preformed many great roles including Snow White, Cinderella, Aurora in "Sleeping Beauty", Mina in "Dracula", Pas de Trios and Little Swans in "Swan Lake", as well as many contemporary roles. She worked with many great choreographers like Septime Weber, Alan Hineline, Adam Miller, Kate Thomas, Graham Lustig and Stuart Loungeway. Corinne is excited about passing on her knowledge to her students at the Dance Connection.

A lifelong Hillsborough resident, Nadine Belnay began dancing locally at the age of 3. Nadine was an original member of the Belle Mead Ballet Company, dancing roles such as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella and the Sugarplum Fairy in The Nutcracker. When an accident and back injury forced Nadine to take a step back from dancing she pursued and earned a BS in Environmental Policy from Rutgers University and is now a full time Public Health Professional. When she was presented with the opportunity to return to dancing and teaching at The Dance Connection in 2005 she was thrilled: Nadine's true passion is not only for the art of dance itself but in sharing this passion with her students and young dancers. Nadine is dedicated to teaching high-energy, engaging and interactive classes where students learn proper technique while smiling, laughing and having fun. Nadine is also committed to nurturing well rounded young ladies and gentlemen; taking advantage of opportunities to get students involved in activities outside the dance studio within the community. Nadine's energy, love of dance and rapport with children motivates her students and passes on her enthusiasm for the art, inspiring young dancers to continue dancing.

Tabitha Boulding Ayers was born and raised in Eden, North Carolina and has been dancing since the age of three . Tabitha received her BFA in Dance (with a concentration in jazz) from East Carolina University. Her New York City performing credits include, The Miss New York Metropolitan Pageant, Culture Shock of NYC, the 2003 Elan Awards, Dancers Responding to Aids, "Confessions of a Dance Teacher" and the Off Broadway play, "Invisible Child." She recently returned from Gyeonggi English Village in South Korea where she choreographed, danced and appeared in a children's TV series. Upon her return, Tabitha was thrilled to perform at the 2007 bergen-PAC Spring Gala, opening for Chaka Khan and Stephanie Mills! Tabitha loves to choreograph and her work was seen in "Stripped", a cabaret in the heart of the New York City Theatre District, in "110 in the Shade" and "A Cole Poter Party" at the Players Guild of Leonia. In the midst of her busy performing schedule, Tabitha works as the junior marketing director of The Martha Graham Dance Company and also assists Roberta Mathes at The School At Steps and at American Ballet Theatre's Summer Intensive. At present she is happy to be performing with The Complete Theatre Company in Manhattan and teaching at The Dance Connection!

Angela L. Brackett, a native of Hillsborough, NJ, began dancing at the age of 12. She has studied dance at Raritan Valley Community College and continued her dance education at Hunter College in New York City. While at Hunter, Miss Brackett toured with the Hunter College Dance Company, and had the privilege of working with many well known choreographers such as Ronald K. Brown, Robin Dunn, and Randy James. Currently Angela is touring with Soul Steps, LLC. Aside from her dancing career Angela has extensive experience teaching little children in various organizations around New Jersey. "Miss Angela" teaches with confidence and sensitivity and she is excited to be part of the Dance Connection where she can combine her love for children and her love of dance.

Cory Pinto graduated from Westminster Choir College with a Bachelors in Music Education and a Minor in Music Theater. He has performed with various symphonies from around the country and the world in such venues as Carnegie Hall, and the Kimmel Center. He has also performed in Westminster's Music Theater Ensemble and appeared in their production of "The Baker's Wife". Aside from his performing side, Cory belongs to C.A.S.T. (Community Actor Student Theater) in which he is on the board of directors and helps produce a musical every summer.

Karen Callaway Williams the Producer of Rhythms for Ruby and the author of Gabriella's Tap Shoes and Rhythms for Ruby (audio book) is known for being both the first African-American female tap dancer and dance captain in RIVERDANCE - THE SHOW and the only African-American female tap dancer and dance captain in RIVERDANCE - ON BROADWAY. Other Broadway credits include the Tony Award nominated Duke Ellington musical PLAY ON. She is currently featured on the cover of Flow Magazine and in the wonderful current documentary BEEN RICH ALL MY LIFE the story of the Silver Belles, having now received the honor of being a Second Generation Silver Belle.

Karen has toured extensively having recently returned from The United Arab Emirates (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Al Ain) with the Duke Ellington Big Band, Armenia and Romania with TAP CITY ON TOUR thru the Unites States Embassy, the ALL THAT TAP TAIPEI festival in Taiwan, on Canadian soil with TAP GIANTS and Tap TEL AVIV and in Beijing, China, Canada and North America with the RIVERDANCE Flying Squad and RIVERDANCE, Boyne Company.

She was featured in a Black History edition of ESSENCE Magazine, which highlighted four female African-American tap artists. She was also interviewed on BOJANGLES THE LEGACY for SHOWTIME as well as in a special guest spot on "SESAME STREET". A graduate of Spelman College, Atlanta, Georgia, she is also an alumna of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center (AAADC) in New York.

DANCE MAGAZINE heralded her as "a graceful dream with taps as happy as a song" and the New York Times called her "a gifted traditionalist with laughing eyes". She was a featured tap solo artist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for their YULETIDE CELEBRATIONS, a special guest solo artist in AN INVITATION TO THE DANCE with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and in ALL THAT JAZZ and the BSO HOLIDAY SPECTACULAR with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra among others. In addition she was a soloist and special guest choreographer for the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. Two memorable performances were held at THE HOLE IN THE WALL GANG CAMP for Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward and at the APOLLO THEATRE with the Silver Belles for President Bill Clinton.

As a member of DancEllington Dance Company under the direction of Mercedes Ellington, Karen danced with the Duke Ellington Orchestra under the direction of Mercer Ellington and later as a soloist for Paul Ellington nationally and internationally. She was the lone female tap artist in THE MAJESTY OF TAP at Lincoln Center featuring Jimmy Slyde, Lon Chaney, Chuck Green and Bunny Briggs in Lincoln Center's Reel to Real Series, including YANKEE DOODLE BOYS, THE BROTHERHOOD OF TAP and STORY T'ELLINGTON.

In addition to performing, Ms. Williams has established herself as a prominent tap instructor teaching statewide on a weekly basis. Her teaching history includes Spelman College, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Poly-Ethnic Preparatory Country Day School, the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan, The New Jersey Performing Arts Center Dance Academy, the New York City Dance Alliance, national and international tap festivals, dance camps, master classes and enrichment programs. When not on Broadway, Karen is a soloist and original member of the NEW JERSEY TAP ENSEMBLE, performing in their high energy shows A STOP ON THE A-TRAIN, THE NEXT STEP, RHYTHM IS OUR BUSINESS, BY GEORGE IT’S GERSHWIN and PASS IT ON. She also gives lecturer/demonstrations and educational assembly programs in elementary, middle and high schools for the Paper Mill Playhouse on "Living Legends of Tap Dance" and other tap dance topics in addition to being involved with "Living Life to its Fullest", a program promoting a drug and alcohol free life style. Look for the upcoming release of her third children's book "Gabriella and the Tap Dance Floor.

Guest Teachers

Steven Williams was born at New York Hospital, a true native of Manhattan. He began dancing at the tender age of 9, when an organization decided to take children attending inner city schools and give them a sense of direction, taking them off the street and into a studio. Training was given in Modern, Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Voice, etc... It's called the National Dance Institute (NDI), founded by Jacques d'Amboise, of the New York City Ballet. Steven's love for the arts continued to grow as he not only continued his education at the prestigious La Guardia High School for the Performing Arts. He graduated from S.U.N.Y. New Paltz with a degree in both Technical and Performance Theatre. After College he had an opportunity to dance for Mariah Carey and go on tour with Jamie-Lynn Sigler. Only a year out of college, he had the privilege, to travel to Russia and study at the acclaimed Moscow Art Theatre. An experience he will never forget. Steven has worked with many wonderful and amazing choreographers. One of whom being Rhapsody James and Co. Currently, he is dancing background for a new artist named LOLA, her single "No Strings." Steven has also worked on several films including 25th Hour directed by Spike Lee, The Royal Tanenbaums directed by Wes Anderson and Undefeated Directed by John Leguizamo

Thomas Graham has been working professionally since he was 8 years old. He attended the Performing Arts High School and went on to N.Y.U. Tisch School of he Arts where he graduated with a B.F.A. He has danced with several prestigious ballet companies including the Netherlands Dance Theatre and the Australian Dance Theatre. He has done everything from TV to Broadway and music videos to recording contracts. In London he was in the original West End casts of Chicago, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Contact. He has taught workshops, classes and choreographed throughout Europe and the U.S.

Kambi Gathesha is a street dancer who specializes in popping and waving (two dance forms of the Funk style dance genre). A lifelong performer, Kambi brought his talents to the Juilliard School (as a drama major). While in New York, Kambi honed his craft as both Actor and dancer immersing himself in New York's street dance scene seeking to understand its chief aesthetic. He earned the moniker "kinetic" for his energetic style. As a dancer and choreographer, Kambi performed in and helped stage pieces for PMT seasonal showcases, C.R.O.W.D. theater company, Nitestar theater company, MTV (specials featuring Beyonce and The Neptunes), Lincoln Center, NYU, and NYC slam AIDS benefit. As an actor, Kambi's credits include Williamstown: Paul in The Marriage of Bette and Boo," Hardy in "The Burden of Solitude," and Oed in "Big Love," Juilliard: The Three Sisters, Architecture of Loss, The Winter's Tale, and As You Like it.

Most recently, choreographer Matt Williams received the New York Musical Theater Festival Award for Best choreography for his work in Platforms starring Ted Levy (Jelly's Last Jam) and Deborah Yates (Contact). Matt is the resident choreographer for the New England Tour of Circus Smirkus. Matt is also a resident co-producer for the Broadway choreographic showcase, "Dancebreak," in which he was also a choreographer in 2004. In 2006, Matt's choreography debuted at the Tony-Award winning Alley Theatre in Scott Schwartz's production of Much Ado About Nothing. Matt also worked with Mr. Schwartz on the world premier of Rooms at the New York Musical Theatre Festival.

On Broadway, Matt interned for and assisted Jerry Mitchell on the revival of Gypsy. Matt's choreography has also appeared at Lincoln Center, Irish Reparatory Theatre, La Mama, The Rubicon Theatre, and the Stamford Center for the Arts. Matt holds a BFA in choreography from UC Irvine where he studied under the tutelage of David Allan (Nat. Ballet of Canada) and Donald McKayle. Matt was a Tierney and William J. Gillespie Scholar. Matt also graduated from the professional actor training program at PCPA Theaterfest. Currently, Matt has the title of "Big Piano Choreographer" at FAO Schwarz Toy Store in New York City where he continually recreates and reinvents the world famous piano dancing scene from the hit film, Big.

Currently, Matt is developing his first full length dance play, Ward 9 in collaboration with Jerome Robbins Foundation archivist and dance historian, Gregory Victor. Click here to visit Matt Williams website.

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