Amy Cuppett, Owner/Business & Co-Artistic Director, is Mrs. Cuppett’s ‘Grand Finale’. Under her mother’s tutelage, she studied with the Cuppett School of Dance and also with the Washington Ballet School, and attended DMA's Teacher’s Training School at Kent State University. Amy earned a B.S. degree in Finance from O.D.U. in 1992 and enjoyed a successful career in Mortgage Banking and Real Estate. Feeling pulled back to her art, she took her business skills and began managing & promoting the Center in the late 90’s, of which her efforts contributed to more than tripling the enrollment at CPAC. Amy has taught all disciplines at the Center, and her award-winning choreography can be seen on the Cuppett Dance Company for which she oversees. Amy has served as a Master Teacher for Dance Masters of America Student/Teacher Workshops, and was recognized as a Virginia Governor’s School Outstanding Educator in 2004. She is a Member of Dance Masters of America, Chapter 17, and the Cecchetti Council of America. Amy has designed and led every phase of the Center's expansions since 2000, and has brought it to where it is now - an 8,200 sq.ft. facility with five professional studios. Her goal is to continue her mother's legacy by continuing CPAC's more than half-decade tradition of providing the highest quality dance instruction to children and adults in the greater Northern Virginia area. Above all, Amy is proud to be the mother of four beautiful children.
Lisa Grau, Co-Artistic Director & Cecchetti Director, began as a dance student with the “Cuppett School of Dance” at the age of 4. She studied ballet, tap, jazz and Cecchetti as one of Mrs. Cuppett's first students. She received her Teacher Certificate from the Dance Masters of America, Teacher Training School at Kent State University. Lisa graduated Magna Cum Laude from Northern Virginia Community College with an Associate Degree in Applied Science. She worked in orthopedics as a Physical Therapist Assistant for almost 20 years. She is a member of Dance Masters of America and the Cecchetti Council of America, and is certified to teach through Cecchetti Grade V. She is currently the Newsletter Editor for the East Coast Committee of the Cecchetti Council of America. As Cecchetti Director, Lisa oversees and manages the Cecchetti examination process for the Center. In 2014, she was named Co-Artistic Director of the Center. Lisa teaches ballet, tap, Cecchetti, and Combination classes, and oversees the operations of the Center.
Christine Musig, Ballet Artistic Director, began her training with former Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo danseur Oleg Tupine, and his wife Tania Rousseau. She studied in New York at American Ballet Theatre with Leon Danelian, Valentina Peryaslavic, and Patricia Wilde. Other New York teachers included David Howard and Maggie Black. Christine performed with Virginia Ballet Company, Old Dominion Ballet Theatre, Prochotsky Ballet Theatre, Arlington Dance Theater and Fairfax Chamber Ballet. Christine has taught extensively throughout Metro area. Her choreography has been seen in "Fiddler on the Roof", "Hello Dolly", "42nd Street", and other musicals. She has been a Guest Teacher for the East Coast Cecchetti Council and Dance Masters of America Chapter 17. Christine is responsible for directing the full-length ballet each spring (a creative joy) and the Ballet Program. She has been a part of the CPAC family since 1982 and feels blessed to have so much support from the staff, Amy and most of all Mrs. Cuppett, an inspiring mentor and example.
Tyree Rivera, Cuppett Dance Company Co-Director is a dancer and choreographer who's vast experience in Hair, Make-Up, Costume design and Theater work has led her to become a great asset to many of today's top visual and performing Arts companies in New York and here in the metropolitan area.
Tyree has received formal training in dance and theater from various establishments around the metropolitan area and is certified through Dance Masters Of America in Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary and Acro. This summer Tyree will be certified by USA gymnastics and Acrobatic Arts.
Along with her choreographic work, Tyree has performed with companies such as Kathy Harty Gray Dance Company, Fusion Dance Company and Mayzsoul.
Her search to create a better community for visual and performing artists has led her to work along side Ashley Cuppett-Richardson to create Nomadic Artist. Nomadic Artist gives aspiring dancers and choreographers a place to develop. A home for the body, mind and spirit. A place where the performing artist can develop their talents without judgment. Tyree is proud that through Nomadic Artist she and Ashley are able to run a outreach program for underprivileged children.
Tyree is also collaborating with Alix Maya Clymer and has been a member of the illustrious Unicorn tribe. Similarly the Unicorn Tribe is a collective of like minded Artists, sharing concepts, ideas and thoughts within the premise of The Age Of The Artist
Toy Falcone, Ballet Rehearsal Co-Director, holds a BFA in Dance Performance from Towson University and has studied with Arlington Center for Dance, Kintz-Mejia Academy, Maryland Youth Ballet and Joy of Motion Dance Center. She is the former Director of Performance Programming at the American Dance Institute and former Assistant Artistic Director of the Joy of Motion Youth Dance Intensive. Toy has worked as a guest teacher for the American High School Dance Festival, as guest choreographer for Bound 4 Broadway and is certified through Cecchetti teacher’s Grade V. She performed professionally for over 20 years with such companies as Classical Ballet Theatre, Stage Crew Jazz Company, Tony Powell Music & Movement, Dancin’ Unlimited, Arlington Dance Theatre, Jazzdanz/dc, and currently, Mayzsoul. Toy has appeared as a guest artist at the American College Dance Festival, ‘Traveling Through Music History’ with the BSO and “An Evening with The Duke” with the Reunion Jazz Orchestra, to name a few. Toy teaches all disciplines at the Center.
Linda Criscitello studied dance with Ilene Danek in Upstate NY, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s degree in Deaf Education from Gallaudet University, Wash., DC (performing with the Gallaudet Dance Company for 2 years). She has danced since the age of three and has kept on dancing to enjoy a musical theatre career touring in such shows as 42nd Street, West Side Story, A Chorus Line and Singin’ in the Rain. Moving to the DC area in the early 1990’s, she taught Tap, Jazz and Ballet at Chris Collins Dance Studio in Alexandria, and Advanced Tap at Feet First in Bethesda, MD. In 1995, she choreographed for the performing group, Upbeat Unlimited (Musical Theater Center, Rockville, MD--MTC), and the following year moved back to NYC with husband, Doug for four years while he founded and ran a city agency. Linda discovered Music Together, an early-childhood music program while taking a class with her first born. She taught in Brooklyn for two years, then opened and continues to direct her own center locally since January 2002. Music Together of Vienna now serves over 200 families in Vienna, Fairfax, Reston and Herndon (CPAC houses MT classes). She has also enjoyed choreograping 2 productions of Guys and Dolls for Kilmer Middle School and MTC, Rockville, MD. Linda and Doug have three children: Sammy, Kyle and Lyndsay. Linda teaches Musical Theatre and Tap for CPAC.
Talia Davison received her early dance training at CPAC in ballet, Cecchetti, jazz and modern. While attending Virginia Tech to pursue degrees in Aerospace and Ocean engineering, Talia joined The Contemporary Dance Ensemble (CDE), where she taught weekly technique classes in ballet, modern and jazz and choreographed and performed in the semi-annual performances. It was in CDE that Talia began to expand her knowledge of dance outside her technical training to include Chinese folk, Arabian belly dance, hip hop and ballroom. In 2005, Talia was elected CDE Director and took on the organization, management and direction of the company. As Director, Talia pushed the company towards professionalism in their technique and performance quality while stretching the bounds of dance as an art form. After graduating in 2007, Talia accepted employment with the Federal Aviation Administration and returned to teach Modern at Cuppetts. Continuing to expand her own technique and choreography, Talia takes classes in post-modern dance and contemporary ballet and is a regular choreographer for the Xuejuan Dance Ensemble. Talia's choreography has been performed on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Intersections Festival, Miss Asian American Pageant 2015 and Artomatic.
Andrea Jiles graduated from Shenandoah University in 2002 with a BFA in Dance with studies in Psychology and Elementary education. Being a “military brat” has given Andrea the opportunity to be exposed to several different teaching styles which she embraces and uses in her own teaching style today. Ballet was her first love, but she has grown to love all genres. Since beginning to teach dance in 1998, her classes have included, but are not limited to ballet, lyrical, pointe, jazz, tap, hip hop and musical theatre from preschool through adult. One of her dancing life highlights has been performing in the 2002 Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremonies She has had the opportunity to dance the leads in several ballets including Nutcracker, Coppelia, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Giselle, and Sleeping Beauty in the United States, Canada and Mexico. While in college dancing with the Flying Lions Modern Dance Company, she was selected to perform in a gala at ACDFA in a piece dedicated to the tragedies of hurricane Katrina, which is now a permanent part of repertoire at Shenandoah University. Andrea was also a member of a local modern dance company, AriDen, which performed throughout the Metro area and New York.
Jennifer Meyer has danced with Mrs. Cuppett since the age of 7. She performed with the Cuppett Dance Company since it’s beginning, as a soloist in all the Cuppett ballets, and as the lead role in “Gaite Parisienne”. Jennifer received her Teachers’ Training Diploma from D.M.A. Teachers’ Training School at Kent State University. She is a Teacher Member of the Cecchetti Council of America, where she has served on the Board for the past 12 years and is a past Chairman of the Board for the East Coast Committee. She is presently serving as co-registrar. Jennifer is teacher certified through Professional Advanced Cecchetti (Grade VII), and became a ‘Fellow’ of the C.C.A. after passing her Teacher’s Grade VII exam in 2003. Along with preparing students for exams, she is also actively preparing teachers. Jennifer teaches Cecchetti grades II-VII for the Center.
Carly Johnson grew up dancing in Vienna, Virginia at Cuppett Performing Arts Center, where she was trained in ballet, pointe, Cecchetti, lyrical, tap, jazz, musical theatre, and modern. She also was a member of the Cuppett Dance Company and attended many competitions and workshops with them. After deciding that she wanted to pursue dance as a career, she took classes at Fairfax Academy for the Communications and Arts in addition to the ones at CPAC. There, her piece "Popular" won the Black and Blue Choreography Showcase, and the award for Most Outstanding Signature Project in the Dance Academy. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Dance and Choreography, a minor in General Business, and an Honors degree. While at VCU she had the pleasure of performing in pieces choreographed by her peers, faculty members, and guest artists at VCU such as Stephanie Martinez and Doug Varone. She has also worked with professionals in the Richmond community such as Pamela England and the Lyric Opera of Virginia. She has spent the past few summers teaching dance and attending workshops such as the American Dance Festival and the Doug Varone and Dancers Summer Intensive. Carly is currently a performing artist and choreographer with Nomadic Artist dance company. It is such a pleasure to be back at CPAC where her dance career began.
Kellie Payne was born and raised in Fairfax, VA. Kellie started her training at a very early age in the discilines of Ballet (both Vagonova & Cecchetti methods), Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, & Modern with her Grandmother "Mrs. C" and other talented teachers at Cuppett Performing Arts Center. This training was supplemented and enhanced by her work at The Duke Ellington for the Arts and several professional dance companies. She was founding member and ballet mistress of Tony Powell/Music & Movement, and Adrain Bolton Dance Company. With these very successful dance companies, Kellie graced many area stages including such venues as The Kennedy Center and New York's City Center. In addition to being a dancer, Kellie also has over 25 years experience in teaching and choreographing for many studios in the DC, MD, and VA areas. Kellie successfully owned and operated her own dance school, trained & directed two pre-professional groups "Fusion Dance" and "Impact Dance", and is currently training dancers at a pre-professional level through a program called "Set The Barre". Kellie also continues to train privately to those who wish to pursue a career in dance. She has built quite the reputation for herself and is known by the dance community for challenging her students and getting results. When Kellie is not teaching, she is a mother to her 5 beautiful children.
Kelsey Schaefer, originally from Chesterfield, Virginia, began dancing at the age of 2 at Jessica Morgan School of Dance and has studied multiple styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, Irish, salsa, Afro-Cuban, hip-hop along with others. She graduated from high school in 2011 and was accepted into the dance program at George Mason University where she studied modern dance for 4 years. In May, 2015 she graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in dance. While at GMU, she was able to study abroad in Cuba for 2 weeks in January of 2013 and December of 2014. While she was there she studied Afro-Cuban and salsa dance which turned out to be a life changing experience. She was also able to study contemporary dance abroad in London for a month and a half in the summer of 2014. Kelsey is a certified personal trainer at Crunch Gym in Washington, DC. She has been able to continue teaching dance throughout the years at Jessica Morgan School of Dance and at Kinderdance International in Fairfax,VA. Kelsey is currently a member of the DC Casineros Dance Company and Light Switch Dance Theater in Rockville, MD.
Cindy Spishak began dancing in 1984 at Cuppetts, where she studied tap, ballet, jazz, lyrical, modern, hip hop, and Cecchetti, frequently performing and competiting. At age 14, she began teaching and coaching fellow students. Cindy attended the College of William and Mary where she performed with, taught, and managed the dance company Pointe Blank. During the summers, she trained and performed with various modern and jazz companies in Washington, DC, and taught ballet, tap, and jazz in DC, Maryland, and Virginia. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a Business Degree in Operations and Information Technology, and minors in Art and Art History. Cindy rejoined Cuppetts in 2012 as a teacher. She continues to train in dance and aerial arts, and works in emergency management..
Mozelle Karnette Stanton began training with Alzine Cuppett at age 4. She completed 4 years of intensive performing and teachers’ training of ballet at Virginia Intermont College, graduating Cum Laude, with a B.A. degree to teach. While at V.I.C., she was a member of the Bristol Ballet Company, a regional Honors Company with the South Eastern Regional Ballet Association, and performed in annual productions of “The Nutcracker”, “Coppelia”, “Graduation Ball” and other company repertoire. She also received a Teachers’ Diploma from Dance Masters of America’s Teachers Training School at Kent State University. Mrs. Stanton has been teaching beginner through advanced Ballet for the Center since 1982.
Jessica Stibick obtained the Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Diploma in 2008, the highest certification in the Cecchetti method, qualifying her to train both students and teachers through the entire method. In 2011, the East Coast Committee of the Cecchetti Council of America awarded her with the Young Teacher Scholarship. Since 2012 she has been elected as a board member to the East Coast Committee, for which she currently serves as secretary. After assistant teaching for Helen Moore and training as a dancer and teacher primarily by Pamela Moore at the National Ballet, Jessica has since worked with beginning through advanced ballet students in various Maryland dance studios. She is currently a principal dancer with the National Ballet Company and has performed as a principal guest artist with the Niagara Ballet Company and Williamsburg Ballet Theatre. She has also studied as a dancer and teacher at various schools and seminars throughout the United States, Denmark, England, Germany, and Australia. Jessica Stibick is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Pre-Primary through Level 3 of the ABT® National Training Curriculum. Additionally, in 2005 Jessica graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology from the University of Maryland. Jessica is excited to return as a ballet teacher to the Cuppett Performing Arts Center in 2016.
Ava Ann Vrooman began her dance training in tap and ballet at the age of 3 in Conway, SC. She also studied jazz and clogging during her formative years. In high school, she trained in Modern dance and performed with the Panache Dance Company under the leadership of Ms. Dina Perusso, a student of the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance and a member of the dance company. Ms. Vrooman continued to study modern, ballet and ballroom at Mount Holyoke College where she earned her BA in Psychology. In 2005, she found her way back to dance and began studying tap at the Cuppett Performing Arts Center. At CPAC, she focused on tap and ballet while also studying jazz, lyrical, modern, and character. In 2007, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in Digital Technology from George Mason University. She started performing with Tappenstance, an adult tap company led by Heidi Schultz and Michelle Michaels in 2010. In 2012, she began teaching both tap and ballet through the Fairfax County Park Authority, and is now excited to be teaching the same at CPAC!
Alzine Cuppett (5/17/27-8/24/12), Founder & Artistic Director Emeritus, received her early dance training from Gene Kelly, his brother Fred, and their sister Louise. She enjoyed a professional career in New York City, dancing at the Roxy Theatre; in the Broadway Musical “Marinka”; and as a Rockette at Radio City Music Hall. She established the “Cuppett School of Dance” in her Vienna home in 1962, and later moved her growing business to it’s current location in downtown Vienna. Mrs. Cuppett is Past President of Dance Masters of America, Chapter 17. She is Past Chairman of the East Coast Committee of the Cecchetti Coucil of America, and having passed her Advanced Professional Level with the Ballet Council, she is a ‘Fellow’ of the C.C.A. Mrs. Cuppett is the mother of six, grandmother to fifteen girls and one little young man, and great grandmother to twelve!
Nadina Wright danced competitively in Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre, Modern, Lyrical, Ballet, and Hip Hop for 10 years with Academy of Dance in Denbigh, Virginia. She won numerous solo and group awards and was a Ms. Showbiz winner. Nadina studied dance in New York,NY at Destination Broadway for four years and performed on a Carnival Cruise. She is currently studying psychology and dance at George Mason University. She loves to share her passion for dance with young children, teenagers, and adults in a caring, positive environment.
Natalie Lewis Steck began her dance training 26 years ago with Alwin School of the Dance, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico. At age 8 she began extensive ballet training in the Cecchetti method, and completed exams for grades 1 through 6 which heavily focus on proper ballet technique. She also trained in contemporary and jazz, but primarily focused on ballet. Natalie continued her dance education with an emphasis in ballet at Utah Valley University. While studying at UVU, she performed with their dance companies and absolutely loved furthering her ballet training. Natalie was certified in the primary through level 3 American Ballet Theatre National Curriculum, and has 7 years of teaching experience.
Natalie enjoys sharing her love of dance, and strongly believes that the determination, dedication and self-confidence taught in dance are qualities that carry on into every aspect of the student's life.
"Natalie is thrilled to join the CPAC Faculty as a ballet instructor ranging from ages 3 to adult!"
Nikki Ranee Gambhir is a teacher, choreographer, & performer in the DC metro area, currently working in Hip Hop, contemporary, jazz, tap, ballet, creative movement, and Bollywood fusion. Ms. Gambhir is a member of Culture Shock DC and SOLEdarity (a tap company). She is a former director of Hip Hop company DCypher Dance and was founding director of youth Hip Hop company Urban Impact. She has been a guest teaching artist at Georgetown University, Oberlin College, and Dreyfoos School of the Arts. Her choreography has been showcased at the Kennedy Center, National Dance Day with Nigel Lythgoe and the Dizzy Feet Foundation, the NBA Wizards’ Halftime show, and the Metro DC Dance Awards Ceremony. She was selected to choreograph the tribute performed for the James Brown Movie screening live at the Lincoln Theatre and nationally televised on NBC. She performed with Cirque du Soleil and with the Broadway cast of Hairspray at the White House for the President in a nationally televised PBS Special. Other performance highlights include BET’s 106 & Park, opening for B2K and Darrin Henson, NFL Redskins Halftime Show, White House Easter Egg Roll, and the National Cherry Blossom Festival. Ms. Gambhir is a featured dancer in the Bollywood movie Ta Ra Rum Pum. In addition to teaching at dance studios, Ms. Gambhir was a teacher at Albert Einstein High School. She choreographs musicals for Woodrow Wilson High School and she was the choreographer for “Hair” which won the DMV Cappie Award for Best Musical. She also coordinates and performs dance assemblies in local schools presenting dance as a constructive alternative for at-risk youth, partnering with DARE Dance and DEA Youth Dance Program. Ms. Gambhir believes that the arts are an essential part of community and hopes to promote positive and healthy expression through dance.
Lori Williams began her dance training in tap, jazz, and ballet (Cecchetti Method) at five years old in Southern Maryland. She later expanded her dance studies to include lyrical and hip hop. She danced competitively at the regional and national level. At the age of 15 she became a teacher’s assistant, and by 17, taught her very own classes. It was during this time that she was selected to choreograph solos and duets for competition. During the summers, she would attend teacher and assistant workshops lead by Darryl Retter, Janice Barringer, and the late Al Gilbert. Throughout her attendance at the University of Maryland, College Park for studies in English Language and Literature, she continued to teach competitive groups and solos, which received high score and special awards regionally and nationally. Most recently she was on the Creative Team for the Youth Performing Arts School’s Musical Theatre Performance Company where she served as an artistic director, music director, choreographer, as well as stage manager. Lori loves to inspire her dancers, as well as be inspired by them. She is excited to share her passion for dance with her students at Cuppett Performing Arts Center!
Michelle Michaels is a tap dancer with over 25 years of experience who has been a part of the DC tap community since 1999. She is a performer and choreographer who was a founding member of both Tappening and Play Time Tap, and the assistant director of Tappenstance. Michelle’s performance credits
include the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage with Tappening, the Kennedy Center Concert Hall with the National Symphony Orchestra (NSO) Pops, and Lincoln Center with the NY Philharmonic Orchestra. In addition, she has performed in various concerts and productions including TAPS Alive!, the DC Tap Festival, and the Annual Holiday SpecTAPular. She is a graduate of American University with a Bachelors Degree in Mathematics and a Masters Degree in Economics. You can catch Michelle performing with Sundays on Tap, an adult tap company based in northern Virginia.
Tori Puff has been dancing since the age of 4. South Jersey born and raised, she then left for Muhlenberg College where she earned her major in Dance and a minor in photography. She choreographed numerous pieces at the college and also performed in the Master Choroeographers showcase. She also performed with the company Six Meters, and studied dance while interning for a dance company abroad in Italy. She has performed in many plays throughout her life including her favorite, West Side Story. She has been teaching dance for 12 years and has picked up certificates in Zumba, Pilates, and Yoga along the way. A few years ago she was also featured in Dance Teacher Magazine for her take on the ice bucket challenge.