Julie Rizzo (Director)
Julie Rizzo is a graduate of Gloria Jean Studio of Dance, Danstarz Dance Team, and was member of the United States Tap Dance Team. She competed in Germany where the U.S. Team won the silver medal in the World Championship. Her expertise in tap has won her many high score awards in national dance competitions. She has won pageant titles such as America's Teen Yankee Miss and Teen Miss New Haven County. Julie recently graduated from Saint Joseph College where she was the president and choreographer of the Saint Joseph College Dance Ensemble. Julie represented the college at the Ted Hershey Dance Marathon and choreographed a piece for the 5x5 Dance Festival where she had the opportunity to work with Lorelei Chang. She is very excited to continue her work as a dancer and choreographer through Dance City and The Arts.
Elisa Wharton was born in West Virginia and started dancing at the age of three. She trained at Inwood Performing Arts and the Frederick School of Classical Ballet before leaving home to attend high school at the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy for three years on scholarship. She spent two summers at North Carolina Dance Theatre and one at Boston Ballet's summer program. Elisa earned her BFA cum laude. in ballet at the College Conservatory of Music in Cincinnati. While there, she enjoyed dancing roles in Paquita, La Bayadere, Swan Lake and Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht and Pas de Dix, as well as original works created by CCM faculty. She also choreographed two pieces that were chosen to be performed in the Choreographer's Showcase at CCM. Additionally, Elisa performed as a guest artist in Dayton Ballet's performance of The Nutcracker. After college Elisa joined the Charlottesville Ballet in Charlottesville, VA. She was a company member as well as choreographer for two years. In 2012 Elisa also performed and choreographed for Concor Dance Contemporary, a brand new contemporary company in Crozet, Virginia.Elisa joined DCA in 2012 and joined Dimensional Dance in Hartford CT in 2014.
Ari Girelli (Ballroom Instructor and Tumbling Coach)
ARI GIRELLI (Ballroom Instructor and Tumbling Coach) is both a competitive gymnast and ballroom dancer. In Ballroom, he has placed first in Regional Fred Astaire competitions, collegiate competitions and NDCA events in latin, rhythm, and standard categories. He has trained with top coaches including Christa Cote, Jennifer McCalla, Tony Dovolani, and Emmanuel Pierre-Antoine. As a gymnast, Ari was a competitive gymnast for both Winingers Gymnastics and the Gymnastics Training Center for 10 years. He currently is on an Xtreme Martial Arts team that incorporates music, acrobatics, and strength training. The team is ranked 1st in the world for the third consecutive year. Currently Ari teaches Acro and coaches Xtreme Martial Arts Ari is in the process of developing a Competitive Ballroom Dance Team.
Mackenzie Sherman has been dancing for the last 17 years, and is a graduate from Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts. She is currently a junior at Central Connecticut State University where she is the Vice President of Dancentral, the modern dance company on campus. Through her years of dance she has taken masters classes with choreographers like Victor Smalley and Angel Armas of Stars Dance Studio/ Dance Moms Miami, and Jennifer Muller/ The Works company. In 2016 she performed at 5x5 at Saint Joseph's college with a piece choreographed by Muller, and will soon be dancing for Denzel Taylor at the 2017 5x5 and American College Dance Festival. Mackenzie specializes in Acrobatics because teaches dancers to work hard, be confident, and gain strength.
Katrina was born in Southington, Connecticut and began her classical ballet training at the age of eleven at the Hartt Community Dance Division of the University of Hartford. At age fifteen she received the Francine Goldfarb Scholarship for talent and potential toward a professional dance career. While at Hartt she attended high school at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, Dance Department, Hartford Connecticut. To further her training, in 2010, Katrina traveled to New York City to study privately with Peter O'Brien. Katrina moved to New York City when she was sixteen to train at the Joffrey Ballet School in the trainee program directed by Robert Ray. While there she was asked to return to the Hartt Community Dance Division and dance the lead role of Dew Drop as a guest performer in their Nutcracker. She was also featured in the Joffrey Ballet School's production of Cinderella as Cinderella. The following year she joined the Joffrey Concert Group directed by Davis Robertson and Brian McSween. Katrina danced in works by Africa Guzman, Larry Keigwin, and Dwight Rhoden. Katrina also danced in works by Donald Byrd, Jennifer Archibald, Margo Sappington, and Daniel Gwirtzman as part of the Joffrey Jazz and Contemporary program, directed by Michael Blake. This past year she had the opportunity to work with SYREN Modern Dance, directed by Lynn Peterson and Kate St. Amand. Katrina is currently dancing and teaching at United Rhythms, directed by Fernando Alers.
Carey L Simone
Miss. Simone has earned her degree in Arts Education from the Central Connecticut State University. Miss Carey received Best Teacher Choreographer award from Nexstar Dance Competition Miss. Carey has been dancing since age three and a former member of the Dance City & the Arts dance team awarded first place nationally. She has always chosen to updated her teaching techniques and current materials. By attending Broadway Dance Center's Teachers Workshop in NYC as well as years of conventions with So You Think You Can Dance choreographers. Miss Carey offers positive and creative lesson plans which spark interest, joy and a sense of belonging, resulting in advanced development for all ages and levels. Miss. Simone realizes the importance of giving to those less fortunate, and has always devoted a portion of her performance year to charitable events. Ms. Carey's current students are first place award winners in their categories as well as wonderful examples of a great team spirit!
Brandon is a Hip Hop and urban dancer from the Hartford area who has been training in dance for the past 10 years. He got his start dancing as a praise dancer in church. From there, he moved onto Stepping when got to college, where he competed in the NYC area for 4 years. During this time, he also attended The Artist Collective's summer youth program and started learning African and modern dance. Also, he was selected to participate in a showcase at The Ailey Citigroup Theater under the direction of Bev Brown. Upon returning home, he immediately started to train in hip hop, popping, modern technique and ballet at Studio 860 and Island Reflections Dance Theater Company. He is currently a member of 860 Senior Company (formerly Team 860) and still regularly travels to compete in competitions such as World of Dance and Hip Hop International.