Brittany DeStefano

is from upstate New York. She began dancing at age seven studying ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop. As a competitive dancer, she earned numerous regional and national titles, high scores and scholarships for her talents. At age 16 she began dancing professionally as an apprentice, and now current company member of Tap Kids, an international touring tap show, and studying at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center. Since then, Brittany has studied and worked with Derick K. Grant, Michelle Dorrance, Lisa LaTouche, Chloe Arnold, and Cartier Williams. Alum of the School at Jacob’s Pillow Tap Program 2012, she performed with Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s “Juba! Masters of Tap” at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater in Washington, D.C., Other performing credits include performing in Ayodele Casel and Sarah Savelli’s Tappy Holidays, performing with Dorrance Dance at American Tap Dance Foundation’s Rhythm in Motion and the 5th Annual Tap Dance Extravaganza, and American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap Internationals with Lisa LaTouche. As a contemporary dancer, Brittany has performed as a guest artist for Exhale Dance Tribe’s “Binocular” in 2010 and “Vinyl” in 2011. Currently, Brittany continues to study in New York City at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center and hopes to pursue her career in dance.

Jess Lee

 has an extensive dance and musical theatre background and has been performing since she was 4 years old. Jess began her dance career at Pinewood School of Dance and American Stardom in the Hudson Valley, receiving extensive training in jazz, ballet, tap, modern, and hip hop. With a focus on modern dance, Jess has had the opportunity to perform throughout New York City, taking professional classes at Alvin Ailey, Dance New Amsterdam, and Broadway Dance Center while performing with Floorwork Dance Company and Staten Island Modern. As a graduate of Wagner College’s Musical Theatre Performance program with a concentration in Dance, Jess has extensive training in choreography, partnering and musical theatre styles, including those of Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Susan Stroman, and Jerry Mitchell.  Jess has used her musical theatre dance skills regionally at Wagner College and TriArts Sharon Playhouse, with performances in Footloose, Aida, Annie Get Your Gun, Fiddler on the Roof, Threepenny Opera, Grease, Hairpsray, West Side Story, Chicago, and various dance projects.

Alyssa Lemons 

is originally from Dallas, Texas and started dancing at the age of 5. She predominantly trained in classical ballet with Texas Ballet Theater before going to the University of Oklahoma as a ballet performance major. However due to an injury, she moved back to Dallas to finish her degree in Kinesiology and got yoga certified. After graduating, she performed in seasonal shows at Six Flags Over Texas for two years. In the summer of 2012, she moved to New York City to attend Broadway Dance Center’s Summer Internship Program and Fall Professional Semester, where she focused on musical theater. Through the connections she made with BDC, she’s had the honor of dancing on Good Morning America, Good Afternoon America with Liza Minnelli, and most notably the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!  Since then, Alyssa got a job working at Broadway Dance Center. Alyssa is also training to be a Radio City Rockette. She has attended the Invitational Rockette Summer Intensive two years in a row, and was just hired as a Rockette Assistant.

    Through her extensive ballet and Rockette training, she brings a lot of technique and discipline to the classes she teaches. She has realized that her strong technical background has helped her immensely in learning and dancing in all styles of dance, and strives to pass on that knowledge and foundation to her dancers.

Angela Maffia 

is a graduate of Eugene Lang College, a division of The New School. Maffia is a professional dancer who has had the opportunity to perform with Lynn Barr Dance Theater and Ben Munisteri Dance Projects. She has performed extensively throughout New York City, in venues such as St. Mark's Church, Judson Church, New Dance Group, The Museum of Art and Design, and The Ailey Citigroup Theater. Maffia has also had wonderful performance opportunities outside of New York City, including Byrdcliffe Theater in Woodstock, NY and Kaatsbaan International Dance Center in Tivoli, NY. Outside of New York, Maffia has performed at The Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.  She has also had the opportunity to perform abroad in the Czech Republic, both in Prague and Cesky Krumlov. Maffia has had the honor of learning choreography and technique from choreographers Lynn Barr, Ben Munisteri, Rebecca Stenn, Takehiro Ueyama, Karla Wolfangle, Joao Carvalho, Ori Flomin and Juliette Mapp. Maffia's modern class will be a combination of modern and post modern ideas and techniques presented in a non-stressful and fun environment. She believes that dance is expressive and individual and will focus on each student's unique abilities, while concentrating on proper placement and anatomy.

Melissa Nagelhout has an extensive background in dance. She began her dance training at the age of five at Estelle and Alfonso's Performing Arts Complex. She trained in jazz, tap, Russian and Classical ballet, pointe, lyrical, gymnastics, and rhythmic gymnastics. Melissa was a dancer with and Captain of the Mid-Hudson Ballet Company. As part of the company, she performed with the West Point Military Band and Jazz Knights. Melissa was privileged to receive training and guidance throughout her years of dance from Estelle Weinlein.            

Melissa was a competition team member and was awarded numerous trophies and honors. She was selected for three consecutive years as a Junior Sweetheart for I Love Dance and performed with them in New York, Los Angeles, and Lake Tahoe. Melissa was featured, “In the Spotlight,” in Dancer Magazine as an outstanding teenager and dancer. (July 2003)            

After graduating from high school, Melissa attended Point Park University and graduated Cum Laude from the Conservatory of Performing Arts in May 2009. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a concentration in ballet as well as a minor in Business Management. During her college years, Melissa performed with Impulse, Point Park University's hip hop team. Upon graduation, Melissa performed at Walt Disney World where she is now a seasonal employee. She recently performed with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line's Freedom of the Seas.

Melissa began her teaching career at the age of sixteen instructing young children, teens, and adults. She served as a Director of Estelle and Alfonso's Theatrical Day Camp. She also has choreographed numerous routines for recitals and competitions. Melissa is very excited to return to teaching.

Erin Sheets 

is a dancer/ choreographer/ instructor from New York City. Classically trained, she has a knack for incorporating different dance genres into her lyrical, jazz, and hip hop choreography. Erin has trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Lyrical,Contemporary and Hip Hop all over the U.S. making her a well rounded performer and teacher. She has performed for Nike, Adidas, Pepsi, R&B artist Lee Charm, MTV, Reggaetone artist Tyna Q, Bloch, Angel Feliciano's "The Movement" and much more. She recently danced in the promos for the hit TV show "Americas Best Dance Crew" with Randy Jackson as well as the new movie Step Up 3D.

Sofia Britos

started dancing at 5 years old in Wappingers Falls, NY. During her teen years she continued her training at Dutchess County Performing Arts Center where she was a member of their Performance Company.  Since graduating Sofia has performed all over the East Coast including a solo at the Apollo Theatre, performances in Dover Beach with the Sarah Michelson Company, earning a Bessie Award then later appearing on Good Morning America while she was studying with the prestigious Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center.  She has worked with amazing choreographers such as Aaron Tolson, Neil Schwartz, and other NYC choreographers. Sofia focuses on all styles including Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Acro.


Amanda Maine 

Amanda is a graduate of Dutchess Community College where she earned her Assosciate’s Degree in Performing Arts with a focus in Dance. She is a former student and has been teaching dance now for over 6 years all over Dutchess County.  Ms. Maine was chosen as a senior in high school to tour the US as a prestigous Dance Olympus VIP.  She has also performed at such venues as Disney World, Eisenhower Hall Theatre and The Rhinebeck Performing Arts Center.  Ms. Maine has been a member of “Ethnie”, a hip hop company under the direction of Steve Blackmon.  During this time she performed with Cascada, Theory and Neo. Amanda is proficient in Modern, Ballet, Hip Hop, Jazz and Tap.

DAWN L. PLASS has performed locally as a member of the “Performers’ Club” at many political affairs, non-profit fundraisers and the Dutchess County Fair, as well as the Hyde Park Playhouse Summer Stock Theatre and the Cecilwood Summer Stock Theatre in Fishkill.  Dawn auditioned for the New York City Radio City Music Hall Rockettes and was invited to attend their summer camp in New Jersey.  She also appeared on Channel 6 in Schenectady, N.Y.  with her tap and jazz classes, as well as a solo pantomime and dance routine.

    Dawn and her husband, Ronald operated the “Plass School of Dance” in Pleasant Valley until the passing of Mr. Plass in 1988.

    In the Fall of 1988 Dawn returned to Estelle and Alfonso Performing Arts as an instructor in tap, jazz, ballet, pre-school and ballroom.  Dawn has choreographed routines for several competition groups including an adult tap class,  as well as solo competition routines, all earning awards in either Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum in both Local and National competitions.  A male student of Dawn’s auditioned and was admitted to the World Touring Group, performing in “42nd Street” throughout the United States and China.

    Dawn was also President of the Mid-Hudson Ballet Company, and Production Manager of the end of the year show for the past five years.

Byron Tittle 

started dancing at the age of five.. Byron got interested in dance because of his older sister. He used to sit outside her dance classes always wishing he could be in the classroom learning with her. When he was 11, he achieved one of his biggest goals when he starred in a commercial. In May 2006, he filmed a commercial for the Happy Feet Toys, related to the movie “Happy Feet.” In the following year, Byron started dancing for the Knicks City Kids, a dance team for the New York Knicks basketball team. He was involved with the New York Knicks for two seasons and also danced with Lil’ Torches for the WNBA’s New York Liberty. Since then Byron has danced at Broadway Dance Center every week, trying to improve his skills and become the best dancer that he can. He hopes to be a dance icon one day.  Currently Byron is dancing as an Elite Protege for “The Pulse”, working with Mia Michaels, Laurie Ann Gibson, Brian Friedman, Wade Robson and Tyce Diorio.  

Jackie Fama

iis a dancer/choreographer/instructor from Westchester,  NY.  She holds a Bachelors Degree in Childhood Education and Special Education as well as a Masters Degree in English as a Second Language and Spanish.  She is a graduate of SUNY Oneonta where she was a member and Captain of the Oneonta Dance Team as well as a member and choreographer of the Terpsichorean Dance Company.  She has competed at numerous Regional and National Dance Competitions winning High Score Awards as a performer and Choreographer.  Jackie is the Company Manager of the Dutchess County Performers Company at DCPAC as well as the Preschool Program Director.  

Lisa Muraco 

Started dancing 14 years ago. She studied dance at Seven Star School of Performing Arts in Brewster, New York under the direction of Nicole Aravena. She won numerous high scores and titles both regionally and nationally. She performed on the Black Watch Cruise Line. From dancing all these years Lisa grew a strong passion for teaching. She teaches in the New York and Connecticut area, and she feels that there is nothing better than sharing her own passion with other dancers.

KRISTI   L.  PLASS started dancing at the age of three at her parent’s studio PLASS SCHOOL OF DANCE in Pleasant Valley, New York.

    Kristi performed at venues throughout Dutchess County before heading to college at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire where she received her Bachelors Degree in Business. In college Kristi continued to take dance classes and choreographed several cheer/dance routines as cheerleading captain.  After graduation from college, Kristi began her career in the mortgage field, where she continues to work full-time while still teaching dance part-time.

    In 2001, Kristi began teaching for Estelle and Alfonso Performing Arts Complex as a dance instructor at their Poughkeepsie and Fishkill studios. Since then, Kristi has taught tap, jazz, beginner hip-hop, adult hip-hop, tap clinics and pre-school (3, 4 and 5 year olds) combination classes. She continues taking classes in her free time at Broadway Dance Center, NY and at The Pulse in Atlantic City NJ. 

    On screen, Kristi played a nun in an Asian movie as well as performing in several local plays and tv commercials. She was the Recording and Corresponding Secretary for the Mid-Hudson Ballet Company Board of Directors from 2009-2011 as well as Treasurer for the Competition Booster Club.

    Kristi was recently certified as a Zumba instructor as well in May 2011.

Inna Yureneva

 is a Russian-born graduate (2002), of the Bolshoi Ballet Academy. 

While a student in Moscow, Inna performed in numerous productions for the Bolshoi Theater. 

After completing her studies, she moved with her family to the United States in 2002. 

Since then, she has performed with numerous national ballet companies, including the Metropolitan Opera, Connecticut Ballet, Ballet New York and Lynn Barr Dance Theater among others. 

Inna is a Certified Teacher in the American Ballet Theater (ABT) National Training Curriculum, and has extensive experience teaching ballet to students of different ages and skill levels, in national and international contexts.Inna maintains her relationship with the Bolshoi Ballet Academy as Director of the Academy’s annual Summer Intensive program in Conneticut.

Howard Johnson

started his dancing at the age of 16 in Newburgh, NY.  He continued his dance training at Broadway  Dance Center in NYC.  In 2016 at the age of 19, he attended dance conventions such as 24Seven where he was awarded the Non-Stop Dancer honor and Nuvo where he was named Breakout Artist.  These conventions then lead him to compete at The Dance Awards in Orlando, FL, at which he was a Top 10 Dancer of the Year finalist.  

Howard then went on to perform the opening number in the 7th Annual Young Choreographers Festival in 2016 as a part of Derek Mitchell Dance Company.  Howard is currently touring with Revel Dance as a Pro Faculty Assistant.  Howard most recently can be seen in the Top 20 of Season 14 on the hit tv show "So You Think You Can Dance".

Leona Pcolar

ITheresa Bruno

© 2023 by Dutchess County Performing Arts Center. 

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