Alyson Monaco is celebrating her sixth season with NMDP! She grew up dancing in New Jersey, and went on to become a dance performance major at the Boston Conservatory. There, she performed excerpts of Jose Limon's Psalm and Misa Brevis, as the Hosana Solo dancer. Alyson has choreographed fifteen plus musicals, and has performed numerous leads, highlights being Mayzie LaBird in Seussical and Victoria in Cats. She has been working alongside Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy and William F. Halloran School #22 in Elizabeth for the past eight years as a dance teacher, choreographer, and costumer, and is looking forward to joining TJAA as a full-time dance educator in the upcoming year. Alyson acts as NMDP's rehearsal director, and is thrilled to welcome the new dancers this season!
Jenna Familletti grew up in New Jersey where she trained as both a dancer and competitive gymnast. She became a gymnastics coach for the Madison Area YMCA Rosettes, where she coached team USAG compulsories as well as progressive classes. Jenna went on to graduate with a B.F.A. from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she studied animation and dance. She was a member of the SCAD Dance Theater Company for 4 years, where, under the direction of Choreographer Vincent Brosseau and Qianping Guo, principal dancer of the Liaoning Ballet of China and The Pacific Northwest Ballet, she performed in several modern and contemporary works as well as appearing in a dance film, The Photographer. Most recently, Jenna performed “Russian” in Lustig Dance Theater’s pro- duction of A Jazzy Nutcracker. With her illustration and animation background Jenna has worked as an artist at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where she taught guests how to draw Disney characters as well as performed in the show “Drawn to Animation.” She now works as an Art Director at Mccann Echo, where she has won industry awards for her design and illustration work.
Lauren Raffaelli, a native of New Jersey, received her Master’s degree in dance education (Ed.M) with a New Jersey teacher certification at Rutgers Graduate School of Education. In this program she learned to educate students about the variety of styles and areas of dance. Raffaelli completed both her part-time and full-time teaching internship at Middlesex County Vocational and Technical High School with Cleo Mack. She has taught at various studios including HeART Motion, Serova School of Dance, and Washington Rock Dance as well as community-based programs such as Bayonne High School’s Community Dance Program and the Youth Service System program at Lincoln Annex School in New Brunswick. In these experiences, Raffaelli enjoys teaching ballet, jazz, modern, lyrical, and creative dance classes as well as choreographing solo and group works for students. Currently, Raffaelli teaches dance at Teaneck High School and directs their Dance Ensemble, which produces a spring performance at the end of the year. In addition to her teaching career, she is currently performing professionally with Nikki Manx Dance Project at various venues in New Jersey. Raffaelli grew up in Midland Park, New Jersey and started dance from an early age at Art of Motion, where she studied under Lynn Needle and Olivia Galgano. She went on to graduate with her BFA in dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. During her time there she had the opportunity to work with choreographers Keith Thompson, John Evans, and Jodi Melnick and was able to premiere her own solo and group choreography at various Mason Gross dance concerts. In the fall semester of her junior year she studied abroad in London, England at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance where she continued to study dance technique, creative dance, Laban Movement Analysis concepts, and dance education. In addition to her study abroad experience, she travelled to Yucatán, Mexico in January of 2018 to participate in a community-based teaching experience that involved leading English language workshops to elementary, high school, and university aged students.
Jacquelyn Michaels is a dancer and dance educator from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey. She holds a BFA in dance from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the arts and an EdM in Dance Education from the Graduate School of Education at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. During this time, she worked with choreographers Keith Thompson, John Evans, Ellen Cornfield, and Pamela Tanowitz. These varied experiences helped Jacquelyn grow into the artist she is today. Michaels has her teacher certifications in Polestar Pilates in Mat Level 1-3 as well as Reformer Levels 1-3. She also has her 200 Hour Vinyasa Yoga Teacher Certification from Om Factory. She is now working as a dance teacher at Jose Marti STEM Academy in Union city and is enjoying her first season with NMDP.Running a holiday sale or weekly special? Definitely promote it here to get customers excited about getting a sweet deal.
Caitlin Knowles graduated from Montclair State University with a BFA in Dance and Theater and continues her education at Gibney and Peridance. While studying, she had the pleasure of training with artists such as Earl Mosely, Christian Von Howard, Nancy Lushington, Maxine Steinman, and Karen Gayle and performing works by José Limòn, Bill T. Jones, and Doug Varone. After graduation she has had the opportunity to dance with Marked Dance Projects, Meghan Daly, David Ingram, Mei Yamanaka and Stephanie Beauchamp amoung others. She strongly believes in inclusivity and using dance to educate and connect with her community. She continues to grow as an educator and artist through participating in programs like the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s Summer Teacher Training, AXIS Summer Intensive and BergenDanceMakers.
Dane Burch began dancing at 19 years old during his sophomore year at Montclair State University. He had always wanted to dance, among many other things, but never had the time. Once he had left his first dance class in college, taught by Beatrice Capote, he was hooked. The following semester, he was enrolled in Ballet, Modern Dance, Tap, and Theatre Jazz. In his spare time, he continues to take classes at Art of Motion Dance Theatre, Peak PAC, and Broadway Dance Center in order to continue learning and growing as an artist. Now as a college graduate, Dane has performed with Freespace Dance Company, The Kennedy Dancers, and has begun working in New York City with another dance company, MaChristianDance&Co. Aside from being a performer, another passion he follows is teaching dance to young artists. Dane teaches Tap, Ballet, Contemporary, Modern, Acrobatics, Stretching Technique and Leaps and Turns to his students! Being able to express himself in ways that he never could through movement has brought his life new meaning! Dane is beyond thrilled to be performing with Nikki Manx Dance Project and cannot wait to continue his future in dance alongside his amazing colleagues!