our instructors

Our instructors teach a variety of dance forms, from ballet to belly dancing. They are caring dance teachers with professional dance experience who share the joy of teaching. Our instructors provide students with superb dance discipline while fostering a positive, nurturing environment. We believe that participation in dance builds self-confidence, social skills, a healthy body and a positive self-image.

Joan Kilgore
Beginning dance with training at the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet under the direction of Sandra Carlino, Joan later studied at the Conservatory of Dance at SUNY Purchase and graduated with a BFA, receiving the President's Award for Achievement in 2005.  She was a member of the Cedar Lake Ensemble's second company, and performed with the Ballet Contemporaneos de Burgos.  Most recently, Joan was a member of the Philadelphia Dance Company (Philadanco) for six years.  She has performed many roles in classical and contemporary ballet, and in modern dance.  Joan has worked with and performed works by many world renowned choreographers including,  George Balanchine, Hinton Battle, Talley Beatty, Zane Booker, Hope Boykin, Camille Brown, Daniel Ezralow, George Faison, Nicole Fonte, Luis Fuente, Jeffrey Gribler, Renee Harris, Robert Hill, Christopher Huggins, Milton Myers, Jonathan Phelps, Tony Powell, Benoit-Swan Pouffer, Dwight Rhoden, Gene Hill Sagan, Bradley Shelver, Paul Taylor, Stanton Welch,  and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar.

In addition to performing, Joan is also an instructor.  She taught master classes for Philadanco during their touring season, as well as regularly teaching company class.  Joan has also been on the faculty at several dance schools including the Pennsylvania Regional Ballet (formerly Cumberland Dance Company), Next Stage Dance and Drama Academy, Saint Paul VI High School, and the School of Dance Arts.  Through the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, she taught for an arts outreach program “Teach in Schools” where dance as well as other arts disciplines were brought to inner city schools.  She has also guest taught for many summer intensive dance programs.  This fall she will be joining the ballet faculty at the School of the Arts of the National Museum of Dance.


Cristiane Santos
Cristiane danced and taught ballet and tap for seven years at Ballet Vera Bublitz, Porto Alegre, Brazil. After moving to New York, she danced professionally with the Dance Theatre of Harlem for four years. She trained to be a certified instructor of GYROTONIC® and GYROKINESIS® under the instruction of Leda Franklin and Juliu Horvath. GYROKINESIS® is a dynamic workout invented by Juliu Horvath, a renowned Romanian dancer, gymnast, swimmer, and yoga master. Blending elements of Yoga, Tai Chi and Dance, GYROKINESIS® works the spine, shoulders and lower body in gentle circular movements in sitting, laying and standing positions. It releases tension and chronic stiffness and keeps you moving. A single class will relieve muscle stress, leaving you feeling invigorated and more aware of your whole body. GYROKINESIS® on a regular basis will revitalize your body's natural energy, strengthen your core, increase flexibility and help create an overall sense of well-being.

Laurie Zabele Cawley
Laurie is an alumnus of Kent State University where she majored in Dance. Before moving to the area in 2000, she danced professionally for fifteen years with Harbinger Dance Company, People Dancing, Whitley Setrakian and Dancers, Ann Arbor Dance Works, Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, and as a guest performer with many other artists. Laurie has trained with Dan Wagoner, Bill Evans, Diann Sichel, Joann Danto, Lynn Deering, Lisa Nowak, David DeMarie, and Luigi. She has performed alongside artists from companies including Bill T. Jones, Martha Graham, David Parsons, Mark Morris, Alvin Ailey, Netherlands Dance Theatre, and Akron Ballet. Ms. Zabele was Director of the Dance program at Oakland Community College, and has taught at Marygrove College, Oakland University, American College Dance Festival, and several private studios. She was an Artist in Residence at La Dance, and also taught in the Detroit, Troy and Bloomfield, Michigan school districts as part of their Artist in Residency programs, and has choreographed concert pieces, industrial shows, and musicals. She teaches modern dance, jazz and zumba for School of the Arts.


Anny Holgate
Anny DeGange Holgate began her career in the performing arts as a student at The Juilliard School. While there she worked with Jose Limon, Anna Sokolow and many luminaries of the modern dance world. Upon graduation she became a member of The Martha Graham Dance Company. She also performed in the companies of Kazuko Hirabayashi, Hannah Kahn, Raymond Johnson and the American Dance Festival Repertory Company and Lincoln Center Arts Outreach Program. Having been inspired as a child by the televised Peter Pan with Mary Martin, Anny began serious vocal and acting studies. On Broadway she was in the original companies of Evita, Raggedy Ann, Roza and Les Miserables. In regional theaters across the country some roles she played were Maria in West Side Story, Marian in The Music Man, Lily in Carnival, Marsinah in Kismet and Ado Annie in Oklahoma.Her studies led her into the opera world and she did roles with The New York City Opera, Cleveland Opera, Opera for a New City and many concert tours in the United States and in Italy. In Florence she starred opposite international ballerina, Carla Fracci in "Orpheus." Anny and her family moved to Saratoga Springs in 2002. She performed with the New York State Theater Institute in Troy. Her favorite roles there were the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, the Abolitionist in Reunion, and Abigail Adams in 1776. She also choreographed and directed with the company. She is on the faculty of The Creative Place International and teaches and coaches privately.

Terri Hughes
The Wild Irish Acres Dancers, under the direction of Terri Hughes, have been entertaining audiences since 1994. The dance group derived its name from the farm in Montgomery County, New York, where Terri and her daughters, Kim and Kristen, started teaching traditional Irish dance classes for children and adults. Terri and the girls had spent many years competing in local, regional, and national dance competitions. They started their own dance group with the specific purpose of continuing the legend, culture, and beauty of the dance in a non-competitive environment. They also wanted to continue the tradition of Irish dance as a family activity. Parents are encouraged to stay for dance class and learn the steps of the Irish jig, reel, slip jig and hornpipe, as well as the traditional Ceili or social dances. Terri choreographs original steps and routines for all levels of experience. Terri moved to Saratoga Springs, New York, in 2000 where she and her daughters continue to teach children and adults in a non-competitive, family-oriented environment.

Terri trained under the direction of Joey Flynn in Brooklyn, NY. After relocating to the Washington, DC area, she and her daughters danced with the O'Neill James School of Irish Dance. The family's subsequent relocation to Chicago allowed them to attend classes with Mark Howard of the Trinity Dance School.

The Wild Irish Acres Dancers have performed for countless audiences over the past 15 years. Their performances include traditional steps as well as original choreographies. The group travels to Ireland regularly and entertains audiences in multiple cities and towns. Terri also conducts an annual summer dance camp for a select group of dancers during which a new and original choreography is taught.

Christie Handley
Christie's training includes instruction with Melissa Hayden (NYCB principal), Elisabeth Carroll (Harkness Ballet principal), David Howard (Royal Ballet soloist) and Michael Steele (NYCB soloist). She taught ballet at all levels since 1982 in various dance school including Ballet Regent. Christie works each summer for the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Since 1978 she has assisted the wardrobe departments for several companies including the New York City Ballet. She holds three New York State teaching certifications and teaches World History in South Glens Falls Senior High School.


Leanne Sweet
Dance Major,Adelphi College. Studied with Felia Dubrovska from School of American Ballet
Taught 10 years at New School of Ballet,Schenectady
Taught 15 years at Ballet Regent under Michael Steele and Tomi Vukovich
Taught 4 years at Saratoga City Ballet


Formally from Boston and New York City, Elaina is a well know professional performer, choreographer, and instructor of Middle Eastern dance with many years of teaching experience in the style of elegant classic American and modern Egyptian belly dancing. Prior to relocating to the Capital District, she performed as a soloist in the finest hotels, clubs, and resorts all over the U.S and Canada. Currently the director of Showtime Belly Dancers, Elaina teaches all levels from beginner to advanced.


Johnny Martinez

Johnny holds a BME in engineering from Pratt Institute and before joining forces with Diane, was a concert dance and musical theatre performer. He performed in the National and European tours of "West Side Story", "Damn Yankees", and "Fiddler on the Roof". He was a member of the Nanette Bearden Contemporary Dance Theatre and the associate choreographer of the Anabella Gonzalez Dance Theatre


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