NSPAC has amazing teachers who believe in our core values. They each bring with them a passion to teach, the ability to help each student progress with their technique, the desire to explore the diversity of performing styles, and positive energy.
TEACHER & COMPETITION DIRECTOR
Kelli-Ann Camacho enjoys teaching her love for dance and is thrilled to be working at NSPAC. While Miss Kelli has substantial training in a wide variety of dance genres her passion is teaching jazz, contemporary, lyrical, musical theater and technique. Kelli grew up dancing in Syracuse NY and received her early training from one of the top 50 dance studios in the country. As a student she has competed and won many high score/ titles in several regional and national competitions throughout New York. Later, Kelli moved to MA where she received a bachelor's degree in Dance from Dean College. She is also a member of Dance Masters of America and Dance Masters Chapter 5 of New England. Kelli has taught in several dance studios throughout New England. As a teacher her choreography has won numerous high score awards and special awards throughout New England which include, Outstanding Choregraphy and Technique awards. Throughout Kelli's dance career she has been honored to perform in national tours such as Star Power's original Power Pak Tour and VEE Corporation's Sesame Street Live, in Out of this World, both East and West Coast Tour. Other performances include opening for the musical group Blessed Union of Souls and Evan & Jaron as well as being featured dancing in a national commercial. In addition, Kelli was a dancer with the Dean College's Dance Team. Today Kelli can also be seen choreographing as well as singing and dancing for local theaters. Kelli is our very own triple threat!
"To dance is to be yourself. Larger, more beautiful, more powerful. This is power on earth and it is yours for the taking." - Agnes De Mille
TEACHER, CAMP DIRECTOR, & STUDENT ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
Kelly Chadwick began her dance training at the prestigious Dance Inn in Lexington where she was accepted as one of the first team members of The Legacy Dance Company. As a Legacy dancer, she had the opportunity to perform at numerous venues both locally and nationally and competed in many local and national dance competitions. In 1996 Kelly earned her Dance Teacher's Training Certification from the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston where she was awarded a full tuition scholarship. In 2004, she founded The Next Step Dance Company under the direction of Pamela Caira at Step-By-Step Dance Studio in Waltham, where she managed and coached the team to numerous first place trophies at numerous local dance competitions.In addition to her dance credentials, she holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia in Interdisciplinary Health Services and earned a Masters of Arts degree from Lesley University in Cambridge in Counseling Psychology, with a specialization in School Guidance grades 5-12.
TEACHER & BALLET MISTRESS
Christina Banacos Ackley, daughter of a jazz pianist and classical pianist was destined to follow a life in the arts. At the age of 5 she was immersed in music, dance, and visual arts. Beginning her dance training with ballet tap and jazz at a local studio, her parents quickly saw her love of the art form and she went on to study ballet more seriously as a teen at the Boston Ballet School and the Marblehead School of Ballet. She then attended college at The University of Hartford’s Hartt School where she received her BFA in Children’s Dance Pedagogy in 2003. At Hartt, Christina was fortunate to work under the direction of former Martha Graham principle dancer Peggy Lyman, as well as numerous gifted ballet faculty members such as Alla Osipenko, Hilda Morales, Adam Miller, Christine Busch, Elaine Werner, and character teacher Alla Nikitina. She assisted classes in the afternoon and evening as part of her teaching internship at the School of Dance Connecticut (formerly The School of Hartford Ballet) where she learned their pre professional program’s complete ballet syllabus. Upon graduation Christina was awarded a full tuition scholarship and graduate teaching assistantship at the University of Oklahoma where she received her MFA in dance in 2006. During her three years at OU she studied under ballet masters Mary Margaret Holt, Jeremy Lindberg, Donn Edwards, and Steve Brule. She was also honored to study modern dance with former Pilobolus dancer Austin Hartel and guest faculty members Jeff Rebudal, and Derrick Minter. She’s performed many amazing works but her favorites include Martha Graham’s “Steps in the Street”, “Arabian Coffee” in the Nutcracker, “The Desperate Heart” by Valerie Bettis, George Balanchine’s “Concerto Barocco”, and “West Side Story”. Her lifelong dream was to become a choreographer, and with the guidance and direction of her mentors she was able to learn the tools of composition and pursue that dream. In graduate school, her thesis piece “Mechanical Goddesses” (a fusion of Middle Eastern dance and modern dance) won the modern dance choreography award and was selected for showcase at the American College Dance Festival in Austin TX later that year. Christina then became committed to pursuing her training in Middle Eastern dance and danced professionally for several years in and around Boston. She founded her own dance company, Bellybeat in 2009 and produced and directed 5 full length productions. Christina is thrilled to teach at NSPAC. While she loves being on stage, her true love is being behind the scenes with her students, creating choreographies, and passing along the many gifts she’s received from her mentors to her own students. Christina is also a fully certified Pilates instructor and owns a small Pilates studio in Lexington MA where she’s been teaching for the past twelve years.
Andrew Sentongo began dance at 17 years old and, when the step team disbanded, he started his own dance crew called New Life Dance Crew which has performed at many local events. He further trained and taught at Phunk Phenomenon and has been teaching for over 8 years at various studios in and around the Boston area. Andrew also has a love of music and has studied audio engineering at FL Institute of Recording, Sound, & Technology and works professionally producing music. He creates his own music and loves creating choreography that brings a visual representation of his music. Andrew's classes are fun-filled and packed with his style of hip hop!
TEACHER & ACROBATIC ARTS CERTIFIED
Amanda Westcott received her Associates in Dance Education from Northern Essex Community College. While at NECC she participated in and choreographed American College Dance Festival and continues to be invited back to set choreography. She has taught in the Southern New Hampshire area for over 5-years which includes creative movement, ballet, jazz, hip hop, strength & conditioning, and modern. Her early studio training comes from Carlene Nazarian Dance Center in Salem, NH where she studied all forms of dance and was part of their competitive team. Amanda is a former comp kid who has become passionate about teaching and positively influencing her students.
Kristen has been teaching dance for over 30 years. She believes in instilling a love of dance balanced with proper technique. She received her training at the Boston Ballet School, where she studied with Bruce Marks, Anna Marie Holmes, Laura Young and Kristen Beckwith. She studied under and assisted Donna Miceli. She also studied under Roseanne Ridings and Adrienne Hawkins. Kristen enjoys choreographing for high schools and local musical theatre companies, has cross-trained local gymnasts and skaters and has shared her love of dance through daycare and preschool programs. She is proud that many of her students have become professional dancers, teachers, and studio owners, themselves. She has taught at dance schools throughout MA and NH. Miss Kristen has an early childhood background and believes that the educational process in the classroom is equally important as the finished product we enjoy on the stage.
TEACHER, ACRO DIRECTOR, & ACROBATIC ARTS CERTIFIED
Passionate about dance her entire life, Kelly's trained in Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Pointe, Acro, and Lyrical, Contemporary. She's completed her first level of Dance Masters of America Teacher Training and taught in Vermont and the greater Boston area for 10 years before taking a hiatus to have a family. Watching her daughters receive such thoughtful and caring training at NSPAC, she's excited to jump back in to teaching and join our family in her new role.
Ruthanne Paulson received her BA in Writing and her AA in Theatre Arts from Pine Manor College where she earned the President’s Cup Award and Excellence in Voice Award. Upon graduation, she received her Elementary Education Certification and has been a teacher in public and private schools to students K-12. A lifelong theatre geek, Ruthanne has sought out every musical theatre performance opportunity from high school, college, community theatre, dinner theatre, including the Hyde Park Opera House. Sharing her love and passion for musical theatre, Ruthanne founded Performing Arts Inspirations working with infants thru adults providing an age-appropriate, happy, and imaginative environment to explore singing, dancing, and acting. Moving to the North Shore, she became the Musical Theatre Instructor at the North Shore Music Theatre teaching a Triple Threat class for ages 7-10 including tap, ballet, jazz, musical theatre dance, voice, music theory, acting, and audition preparation.
TEACHER & ASSISTANT CAMP DIRECTOR
Maggie Chiffer is a passionate dancer and teacher who received her Dance Education Training certificate in 2018 from the Dance Teachers' Club of Boston. She completed the program at the top of her class, earning the Lilla Frances Viles Award, given to the student with the highest cumulative score over the course of the two year program, as well as the Dance Teachers’ Club of Boston Award for Tap, which is awarded to the graduating student who displays the greatest aptitude for teaching tap. Maggie is an inducted member and officer of the NSPAC Chapter of the National Honor Society for Dance Arts. In addition, she is the 2013 Terese Award recipient for excellence in tap dance, the 2016 Priscilla E. Scott Memorial Award recipient for positive attitude, passion, and determination in dance, and the 2016 and 2018 Stand-Out Student at NSPAC’s annual Dance Intensive. Maggie has been a Company dancer since 2013 and a Company Leader since 2017. She is trained in tap, ballet, jazz, pointe, modern, and lyrical, with tap being her first love. In 2018, Maggie founded Dance Out Dementia: Train Your Brain With the Beat of Your Feet , first her Girl Scout Gold Award Project and now a business devoted to helping people reduce their risk or slow the progression of dementia through dance. Each week, using her original choreography and curriculum, she teaches 25 senior citizens. In 2017, Maggie was both a cast member and understudy in Bellybeat Dance Company’s production, Five. She was also a cast member in Methuen Ballet Ensemble’s 2018 production of The Nutcracker as well as its 2019 production of Swan Lake. Additionally, Maggie is an annual participant in Boston’s Beantown Tapfest. Currently a senior in high school, Maggie is a member of the National Honor Society, the president of her school’s Best Buddies Club, and a Peer Leader, mentoring freshmen throughout their first year of high school. One of Maggie’s favorite dance quotes is the Hopi saying, “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak.” Maggie believes dance is transformative and it is her absolute joy to pass on her love of dance to students of all ages.
Chloe is in her 5th year of training with the Acrobatic Arts program and has also been an Acro Student Assistant during that time. Her focus, reliability, and ability to connect with students has led to additional training as a Teacher Assistant to further aid our Acro Director in the classroom. Chloe received NSPAC’s 2014 Priscilla E Scott Memorial Scholarship and has been a Company member since 2013.
CHRISTINA R; SHAYLA P; MADISON B; ABIGAEL B; JESSICA C; TIA S; ABIGAIL R; DEVYN A; TAYLOR C; LINDSEY D; OLIVIA B; MADELEINE F; DANNY C
NSPAC Student Assistants aid teachers in the 3-7 year old classrooms. NSPAC maintains age appropriate teacher-to-student ratios to maximize our dancers' learning experience.
All Student Assistants are part of our Student Assistant Training Program and are mentored by NSPAC faculty member, Kelly Chadwick. They are assigned to specific classes for the year based on their prior and ongoing training and are committed to being a positive role model in the classroom.
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