Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance
Staff

photo Yansen Abreu

Yansen Abreu - Intro to Hip Hop, Hip Hop I & II

Raised as a "New Yorker", the idea of dance was something Yansen randomly stumbled upon. Gradually falling into dance through life experiences, it just felt like a natural talent. First starting off as a B-Boy, he then branched off to other styles; such as House and Hip-Hop, including choreography.
Most envision B-Boying as dynamics and high flying moves, but what makes him stand out is his burst of energy and high level of confidence while on the dance floor.
In the course of 13 years, he's been in music videos, commercials, and live performances. He's also competed in numerous major international dance competitions and is also featured in the blockbuster TV show "THE GET DOWN", starring Justice Smith, Shameik Moore and Jaden Smith. Currently representing super B-Boy crew "X-Fenz", Yansen is now traveling the world displaying his talent and inspiring others through competitions; and shows. Although much has been accomplished, he still has a long career ahead of him.
     
photo Andrea Beeman

Andrea Beeman - Belly Dance

Andrea Beeman is a performing artist, teacher & choreographer whose versatile performance palette ranges from the traditional dances of the Middle East & India to technologically savvy multi-media performance art. Since 1987 she has performed in theaters, concert halls, cabarets, restaurants, nightclubs, museums, & universities in NYC & abroad. Whether it’s baladi, Bollywood or bioluminosity, she combines a love of ethnic music & dance with a reverence for tradition and a search for new expressive frontiers. She joined the post-punk/new wave electronic dance band Crash Course in Science in 2009 & is a founding member of the electronic/folk hybrid band Light Dream Trio (2015) . Andrea’s choreography has been presented in venues ranging from New York City’s Town Hall to burlesque reviews in nightclubs. In 1999 she created her performance persona the Enchantress of Bioluminosity to present her innovative, light imbued choreography & in 2010 expanded her vision to include her dancers the Sparks in the Dark in theatrical settings. Her ensemble the Dancing Rubies has performed at NYC cultural events since 1999.
     
photo Lauren Blankstein

Lauren Blankstein - Slow Yoga Flow w/ Modelâ® Therapy Balls

Lauren began her yogic journey in 2005. Her primary intention as a teacher is to help safely guide students into a state of balance so they can experience the transformative effects of the practice. Lauren teaches an even-paced Hatha yoga class that is appropriate for all levels. She integrates elements of Vinyasa, Kundalini, pranayama (breath work) and meditation. She is also certified to teach the Roll Model® Method and ELDOA (Étirements Longitudinaux avec Decoaptation OsteoArticulaire), a ground breaking spine realigning technique developed by the renowned French osteopath Guy Voyer DO. Lauren is so happy to share the beautiful practice of yoga in her community of Roosevelt Island.

     
photo Marietta Clark

Marietta Clark - Tap, Creative Pre-Ballet, and Pre-Ballet

Marietta has an education degree from Ohio State University, where she majored in music education and dance education. Before coming to New York, she taught in the elementary school's Arts Impact Program and also at the Performing Arts High School in the Columbus Public Schools and was in Ballet Met where she was a featured dancer. Marietta performed in the First National Tour of 42nd Street, Ann Mller's Salute To Ruby Keeler, and other shows. Her acting credits include American Repertory Theatre and numerous TV shows and commercials. Marietta performs with Rod Ferrone as half of Feet To The Beat. She has been a guest in his one-man show, Bustin' Loose, and has been his dance partner at festivals in the U.S. and throughout Canada as well as dancing on the Asuka cruise ship and at Town Hall in the Tap Extravaganza.

     
photo John Curtis

John Curtis has performed in regional theaters, with choirs, bands, and dance ensembles for nearly 20 years. John is a University of Tennessee alumnus where he performed at the Clarence Brown Theater, with the UT Singers, and the UT Dance Company. John co produced and performed with the Call Me Crazy jazz band and the Call Me Crazy Dancers. John's choreography has recently been seen in the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the Capital Fringe in Washington, DC. John has written and produced his own songs, including his Day For a Dream album and other songs for the Call Me Crazy Dancers' shows. John enjoys teaching tap to children and adults at MST&DA. John's Call Me Crazy Dancers performed inOn the Eve at MST&DA in December, 2016. John's tap classes emphasize creativity, musicality, and fun in both the Broadway and hoofer styles. The classes are great for beginners, those who haven't tapped in awhile, or those looking to challenge themselves. 

     
photo Kara Curtis

Kara Curtis - Broadway Tots Dance & Performance Jazz

Kara Curtis has performed professionally since she was 13 years old. Some of her favorite roles include Ermengarde in Hello Dolly at the Maltz Jupiter Theatre under the direction of Marcia Milgrom Dodge, Shelly inHairspray at the John Engeman Theatre in Long Island, and Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music at Syracuse Stage. She learned to dance and teach from the renowned Anna Marie Leo, and then continued her dance training, earning a BFA in Musical Theatre from Syracuse University. A proud Actors Equity Association member, Kara emphasizes the importance of strong technical dancing and discipline. She is now a stay at home Mom to her tiny dancer, Leah. 

     
photo Jackie Lucid-Cusick

Jackie Lucid-Cusick - Teen Theatre Spring Musical, and Adult Musical Theatre Studio

Jacqueline Lucid-Cusick is a theatre director, instructor, and actor with over 30 years of experience both on and off stage. She currently teaches and directs Adults, Teens and Children at the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance, where she also served as Executive Director for three seasons. Her musical theatre directing credits include Side by Side by Sondheim, Cole, The No-Frills Review, Songs for a New World, Working, The World Goes Round, Guys and Dolls, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Damn Yankees, Little Shop of Horrors, Forbidden Broadway, Annie Jr, and Xanadu. She was a founding artistic associate of The Present Company, the producing organization of the NY International Fringe Festival. At the Present Company she performed in several productions including Brian Parks’ Americana Absurdum, winner of The Edinburgh Fringe First 2000 award. Jacqueline holds a BFA in Theatre from Southern Methodist University where she received the Greer Garson Award for Outstanding Achievement. As a professional actor she has appeared at Ubu Rep, Primary Stages, Nada, The Present Company Theatorium, Royston Theatre Company, the Riverside Shakespeare Company, the Scotsman Assembly Rooms, the Wayside Theatre, Creede Repertory Theatre, The Dallas Theater Center, New Arts Theatre, Stage #1 in Dallas, Stage West, Fort Worth Shakespeare in the Park, and The Texas Shakespeare Festival.

     
photo Joan Marie Cusick
Joan Marie Cusick - Teen Theatre Fall Drama
 
Joan Marie Cusick is an actress, director, choreographer and acting teacher/coach. Joan directs the Teen Theatre Play at MST&DA. She holds a BFA  in Acting with a minor in dance from the State University of New York at Fredonia. She has been trained in Shakespearean styles, Commedia dell’arte, improv, stage combat, Meisner and Stella Adler technique, directing and choreography. While at Fredonia she assisted underclassman in her major with preparing monologues, scenes, and barrier presentations. She has choreographed several student projects, including her own work, which has been featured at The Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance. She is thrilled to return to Roosevelt Island and be able to contribute to the artistic growth of island youth. Recent directing credits include Christmas Present by Amy Herzog. She has performed extensively in Fredonia and New York City including at Carnegie Hall. She is a graduate of the Professional Performing Arts School, and the Stella Adler Summer Conservatory in New York City. Joan is a proud alumnus of the Main Street Theatre and Dance Alliance.
     
photo Jonathan Fadner

Jonathan Fadner - Music Director for Children/Teen Theatre, Mini Musical Theatre, Writer & Composer for Children's Theatre

Jonathan is a composer, arranger, music director, teacher, and rock and roller who grew up in southern California.   His work has been produced by Barrington Stage Company, Naap New York, Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance, 23 Elephants, and many other companies. His songs have been heard in such Venues as 54 below, Don't Tell Mamma's, Sardi's, The Duplex, and other cabaret spots in New York City. He has had his classical music performed at several colleges, choral groups, and choruses. Jonathan's arrangements and orchestrations have been heard at San Francisco Playhouse, Berkeley Playhouse, MSTDA NY, and several other venues. Jonathan also teaches piano, guitar, songwriting, composition, and is a freelance music director.  He is a teaching artist that specializes in helping large groups in and out of the classroom write their own theater pieces and music.  He has a music degree with honors from UC Berkeley, and a Masters of Fine Arts from NYU Tisch in Musical Theater Writing.  Jonathan gives all the credit for everything he does to his loving wife Kim, whom he runs the theater company Common Man Musicals, and whom without, nothing could get done. Jonathan lives in Queens, NY with Kim and his two wonderful children, Jack and Charlie.

     
photo Kimbirdlee Fadner

Kimbirdlee Fadner - Playmakers Toddler/Preschool Drama Class, Mini Musical Theatre & Children's Theatre

Kimbirdlee graduated with honors from Mills College in Music: Vocal Performance and Dance. She is the founder of the Millismas Opera Club. She continued her training in acting, voice, musical theatre and dance at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. Kimbirdlee embraces the opportunity to develop and promote arts education and share her love for the arts with children.  In 2014, she founded “Superstars”, a preschool theatre class, at Kon Gen International Preschool in which she created original music, stories, art and choreography.  She brought this class to MSTDA this past year as the new “Playmakers”class!   It is her mission to encourage everyone to follow their dreams and she strives to instill her belief that everyone is an inspired creative being.  

     
photo Jenny Gruby-Watkins

Jenny Gruby-Watkins - Dance Staff and Choreographer Teen Musical

Jenny Gruby Watkins started performing as a kid dancing and singing at Walt Disney World, which opened the door to opportunities on Broadway and touring companies of Will Rogers Follies and Crazy For You. She also can be seen in numerous commercial, television, and film spots, including The Producers. She has danced in Las Vegas and all over the world.

     
photo Makiko Ishimori

Makiko Ishimori - Ballet I, II, and Advanced Ballet

Originally from Japan, Makiko Ishimori started dancing when she was five years old. She participated in Asia Pacific Ballet Competition & All Japan Ballet Competition when she was teenager. After she finished her High school she entered the Shiki Theatrical Company (the biggest musical company in Japan) acting school. In 1997 she graduated from that school and joined musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera (over 350 stages in Tokyo & Nagoya), Musical Hans Christian Andersen (1998 in Osaka) and Japanese Ordinal Musical Lee Kou Ran (1997 in Tokyo & Osaka). Makiko moved to United States in 2000 and in 2001 she joined Michael Mao Dance in NYC. She later joined the company Chinese version of Nutcraker which was called Firecracker (2002-2003 in China). In 2004 she started to study Pilates at Pilates on fifth and that November she received full certification from Stott Pilates.

     
photo Yvonne Marceau

Yvonne Marceau - Ballroom

Yvonne Marceau is an American ballroom dancer, choreographer, and instructor. She holds a B.F.A. from the University of Utah as well as an Associate degree from the Imperial Society of Ballroom Dance. In 1984, Marceau co-founded American Ballroom Theater with her dance partner, Pierre Dulaine. Together, Marceau and Dulaine won numerous ballroom dance contests and were four time winners of the British Exhibition ballroom competition. Marceau is the recipient of various awards, including the Astaire Award and the Dance Magazine Award. Along with Dulaine, Marceau co-founded the Ballroom Theater’s Dancing Classrooms program, which is featured in the documentary Mad Hot Ballroom. Marceau has been on the faculty at The Juilliard School since 1993 and has taught at the School of American Ballet as well as for numerous New York City social groups, including the Union Club and cotillion societies.

     
photo Mary McCatty

Mary McCatty - Choreographer & Assistant Director Adult Musical Theatre Studio

Mary McCatty has appeared on Broadway and National Tours of My One and Only, The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public, Sophisticated Ladies and more wonderful musicals. She was a Radio City Rockette for many years and continues to dance with the Rockette Alumnae Dancers, most recently at City Center in NYC. Other favorite dancing appearances include The David Letterman Show, Can Can, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parades, Funny Girl, Guys and Dolls. Mary’s choreography has been seen all over the US and world from stage to industrials. She won the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award-Outstanding Choreography for Steel Pier. She continues to teach and choreograph but spends most of her time as an Educational Liaison for Dancing Classrooms NYC (Madhot Ballroom).

     
photo Chana Meltzer

Chana Meltzer - Assistant Director Theatre

Chana Meltzer began working at the Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance in 2007.  She helped with stage crew for the teen production of A History of the American Film. In 2010, she went on to work as a director’s assistant for the children’s show Guys and Dolls Jr.  From 2010 to 2014 she took a break from theater but continued working as stage manager for the Spring Dance showcases, as well as assisting Deborah Orenstein with the toddlers in ballet. In 2014, she returned to the theater, working as an assistant director for the children productions’ of Little Shop of Horrors Jr. and Annie Jr.  In 2016 she was stage manager for the production of Common Man Musicals and worked as part of the stage crew for the teen musical of Xanadu. This year she is working as an assistant director for the teen productions of Almost, Maine and the musical Pippin. She’s very excited to be working for her third year with Jackie Lucid-Cusick. This year she has the honor of working with Joan Marie and couldn’t be more thrilled to study under such wonderful mentors.

     
photo Mihaela Mihut

Mihaela Mihut - Adult Acting

Mihaela Mihut received her B.A. from the Academy of Theatre and Film in Bucharest in 1994. At the National Theatre, she played May in Sam Shepard’s Fool For Love,Carol in Tennessee Williams’ Orpheus Descending, Mrs. Martin in Eugene Ionesco’sThe Bold Soprano (for which she was awarded Best new Actress in 1994) and Sasha in Anton Chekhov’s Platonov.

Mihaela received her MFA from the Actor’s Studio Program at the New School in 2000. In 2002, she was accepted as a lifetime member of the Actor’s Studio, where she has appeared as Popva in The Bear and Anka in Hunting Cockroaches, which is her favorite play. At Theater for the New City, she played Marquise in Macaire. Off-Broadway, roles include Inez in No Exit, multiple characters in Art People at the Player’s Theatre, and Cristina in Manipulation at the Cherry Lane Theatre. Mihaela was last seen in the films Ben Again, directed by Tony Giordano and Perkins 14,directed by Craig Singer.

     
photo Debra Orenstein

Debra Orenstein - Little Dancers, Creative Pre-Ballet, Pre-Ballet, and Creative Drama

Debra Orenstein has been teaching at MST&DA since the 1990’s. Her background is richly steeped in the arts and education as well as health and fitness. At MST&DA she has helped develop and promote classes in dance, movement, yoga and theatre for toddlers – adults. Debra is very proud to be on the Dance, Fitness and Theatre Faculty at MST&DA teaching dance, yoga and creative drama. Debra holds a B.S. degree in Interdisciplinary Arts for Children/Dance Emphasis from The State University of New York – College at Brockport and a Master’s Degree in Education (Special Education) from The City College of New York – Hunter College. Her post graduate work includes pre-school and elementary education and dance therapy. Debra is permanently certified in Pre-school, Nursery, Elementary Education and Special Education in New York City, New York State and New Jersey. Debra has been a Special Education classroom teacher, Teacher Trainer and Adaptive Physical Education teacher for The New York City Department of Education. She has been a Creative Arts Specialist and Movement Specialist for nursery schools in New York City and is also an Early Intervention Therapist. Debra continues to provide enrichment programs in movement, yoga and theatre through Teaching Artist Residencies in New York City Public Schools. She works with toddlers - young adults with Special Olympics and Expressive Arts Programs. Debra has been on the Dance Faculty at Mason Gross School of the Arts Extension Division at Rutgers University providing dance programs for children and training for dance education undergrads. Debra is a member of The Isadora Duncan International Institute Dancers and is a master teacher of the Isadora Duncan Dance Technique. Combining the joy of natural movement and technique has helped to shape and create classes that are sound physically as well as satisfying creatively for all ages. Debra is thrilled to be sharing her love for artistic expression and teaching of mind-body awareness at MST&DA.
 
     
photo Barbara Parker

Barbara Parker - Pilates, Bab's Boot Camp & Teen Hip Hop and Choreography

Barbara Parker is a fitness/dance instructor as well as a personal trainer. Her experience as a dancer, teacher, and  choreographer spans over 25 years, with the Bernice Johnson Dance Studio, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Harlem School of the Arts and the Clark Center, extensively in African Dance, Jazz, Modern and Ballet, as well as Alvin Ailey and the Broadway Dance Center in Jazz and Modern, Ballet, Theatre Dance and Hip Hop.  She has performed at Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center and the Harlem School of the Arts. At the Main Street Theatre, she teaches AERO/Body pump and IM=X Pilates adult classes and Teen Hip Hop & Choreography. She also participates in the dance productions and theatre shows at MST&DA. 

     
photo Joselito Placio

Joselito Placio - Zumba

Since a very young age, Joselito's life has been defined by dance and fitness.  He is trained in ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, ballroom dance, and methods of aerobics and cross training.  A certified ACE (American Council on Exercise) instructor, member of IFTA (interactive fitness trainers of america) and a licensed Zumba instructor, Joselito says opening a new career here in New York is one of his greatest achievements.  He birngs knowledge and passion for dance and fitness to this community.

     
photo Jax Schott

Jax Schott  - Vinyasa Yoga & Barre Workout

Jax believes in Yoga as a way of life, which inspired her to expand her trainings from Hatha & Vinyasa styles, in order to teach Yoga for all: Pre/Post Natal Yoga; Mom & Baby; Children’s Yoga; and Ayurveda for Yoga, and has been teaching all styles for the past 10 years.

In 2011 she continued her path of Wellness and became certified as a Birth Doula. Seeing life, and witnessing a family being born has been one of her greatest joys! Supporting others through mind/body connection and awareness, is her dharma.

Jax is committed to serving others by teaching the healing properties of Yoga, using dynamic movement, and opening the body to allow you to begin to develop your own practice starting with your own inner teacher. She brings a lot of heart, inspiration, and creativity to her classes encouraging to unite both the body and the breath, moving past the mind and focusing on your “Core” to help you discover your own center of truth. She guides you through the breath, which will help allow you to flow through the asanas (postures) that follow. She is grateful for her teachers that continue to inspire her, and is honored to work with the Community of Roosevelt Island.

     
photo Tylar Spencer

Tylar Spencer - Ballet I

Tylar Spencer is a former Garth Fagan Dance company member, an alumna of Wayne State University, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BFA from the College of Fine, Performing, and Communication Arts in 2015, and a current Independent Study student at The Ailey School. She received her dance training via The Zone Dance Center in Southfield, Marygrove College Intensive, Howard University, Debbie Allen Dance Academy Intensive, Complexions Contemporary Ballet Intensive, and Martha Graham School for Contemporary Dance Intensive. Tylar has performed for The James Tatum Foundation, The Woodward Dream Cruise, Wayne State University's Company One, Jeff Rebudal, Amy Chavasse, and TJ Hemphill's Perilous Times. 
Tylar loves dance! In her youth, it was her only means of freedom and communication. She loves the ability to express herself while simultaneously having the opportunity to influence the culture of society. She believes dance is a vehicle of social commentary that helps the artist learn about oneself but also how each one of us is connected and mutually affected. It allows one to become more in tune with the connection of body, spirit, and mind. It facilitates an understanding and practice of crucial life skills and indispensable ethical and moral values. Tylar loves to spread love and positivity which is why she wants to share this passion that dance has impressed upon her heart with others.  She is excited to partner with MST&DA to facilitate great experiences and memories for the children in her charge.
     
photo Peña Verde

Peña Verde - Capoeira (ages 2 and up)

Pena Verde is from Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. He started playing Capoeira when he was 15 years old with Mestre Sabia, the coordinator of The Association of Ginga Mundo Capoeira. Pena has been teaching Capoeira for 9 years. He taught Capoeira classes to children and adults in Salvador, Brazil; Barcelona, Spain; Berlin, Germany; and Paris, France. Currently, he teaches in New York City, at Community Roots Charter School, The Co-op School, and Essex Street Academy High School. He has also taught at Bronx International High School, P.S. 372-the Children’s School, Brooklyn Friends School, and the Tribeca Community School. Pena believes that Capoeira has been responsible for transforming the lives of people all over the world. For this reason, he is thankful for the opportunity to teach Capoeira on Roosevelt Island.

 
     
  Dance Staff

Adult Dance Workshop - rotating dance staff based on technique and specialty.

     
  Fitness Staff

Various instructors depending on staff of particular class. See instructor list above.