Teachers


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.

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.

 

Madison

Madison Bennett spent 14 years at Dance City and the Arts training in ballet, jazz, tap, and contemporary. She achieved many group and solo awards while on the competition team. In her high school years she studied ballet and modern at the Greater Hartford Academy of Arts. There, she performed pieces choreographed by Margo Sappington as well as repertoire from the Limon dance company.

 

 

 

 


Brandon

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.

 

 

 

Rachael Gnatowski

Originally from Frederick, Maryland, Rachael began her dance training under the direction of Joyce Morrison at the Frederick School of Classical Ballet. While performing as a member of the Urbana High School Dance Company under the direction of Stephanie Weigelt, she was named a Maryland All-State Dancer. She furthered her dance training attending summer intensives at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, North Carolina School for the Arts, the Kansas City Ballet School, and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Rachael then went on to graduate from Mercyhurst University in 2013 with a BA in dance. It was during her time at Mercyhurst where she was given the chance to perform with Lake Erie Ballet and Mercyhurst Ballet Theatre. Since graduation she has danced professionally with Ballet Fleming, Fort Wayne Ballet, and Ballet Hartford, and has had the pleasure to work with artists such as Christopher Fleming, Silas Farley, and Cameron Basden. Rachael has also performed as a guest artist with Albany Berkshire Ballet, Deos Contemporary Ballet, and Three Rivers Dance. In January 2020 Rachael co-founded a new professional ballet company, New England Ballet Theatre.

Victoria Manning

Victoria Manning is a company dancer with New England Ballet Theatre of Connecticut. She grew up in Plymouth, MA and trained with Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre in Cambridge, MA from the ages of 3-18. She attended summer intensive programs across the country and trained with Pennsylvania Ballet, Boston Ballet, Orlando Ballet and Washington Ballet, to name a few. After high school Victoria attended Indiana University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Ballet Performance and an Outside Field in Marketing while teaching in the pre-college and adult dance programs. There she had the privilege of working with Kyra Nichols, Carla Korbes, Michael Vernon, Shawn Stevens, Sarah Wroth, and Sasha Janes. After college, she danced professionally and taught for Virginia National Ballet and School. She has performed in Balanchine's Walpurgisnacht Ballet and Valse Fantaisie, Jerome Robbins' The Concert, Fanfare and Antique Epigraphs, Sandpaper Ballet by Mark Morris, Giselle by Petipa, Cinderella by Rafik Hegab, and The Nutcracker. Victoria is thrilled to be joining the Dance City and the Arts community to continue to pass down the legacy of our art.

 

 

 

 

Get in Touch

  • Address:
    1 Factory Square, Suite 202
    37 West Center Street
    Southington, CT 06489
  • Phone:
    860-628-4433
    Fax: 860-329-0355