ALISON LIGI, DANCE CENTER COORDINATOR Alison’s love of dance began at 5 years old when she started taking ballet, tap and jazz. Over the years she expanded her repertoire to include hip-hop, lyrical and pointe and pursued her love at Springfield College where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dance, with a minor in psychology in 2006. While in school she was a member of the SC Dancers and the CT Titan All-Star Open Dance Team. She has continued her education by taking master classes and attending dance conventions throughout the tri-state area. She has taught all ages and genres at studios, educational programs and summer camps in CT and MA, and has coached and choreographed for local CT high school dance teams. A featured dancer in Mike Lembo’s “Can’t Come Down” and Bgirl Trinity’s “Dance With Me” music videos, Alison has a fun, high energy approach to teaching and hopes to instill her passion for the art in the students at the Westport Weston Family Y Dance Center!
Michele started dancing when she was 4 years old and has always kept it an important part of her life. She minored in modern dance at Skidmore College where she also led the school’s hip-hop dance team, Rithmos. After college, Michele taught multiple dance-inspired fitness classes at SUNY New Paltz and various gyms in Dutchess County, NY. Wanting to expand her technique, Michele spent a couple years studying ballroom and Latin dance and then taught at Planet Ballroom in Charlotte, NC. After having her daughter, and taking a hiatus from teaching, Michele is excited to be back in the studio teaching what she loves most!
JESSICA MATTHEWS Jessica began dancing at the age of four. At age twelve she jumped into her studio’s competition team and never looked back. She is trained in various styles of dance including Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical and Hip Hop. During her competition years, she achieved numerous awards for her performances on stage. A Sacred Heart University graduate, she earned her B.A. in English and minor in dance. Jessica hopes to continue to grow as a dancer, creative being, and teacher so that she can inspire younger dancers to become their very best.
AMY PIANTAGGINI Amy trained at the Boston Conservatory and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance, where she received scholarships from the Gregory Peck Foundation and as a Finalist for the Coca-Cola Award for Artistic Excellence. Ms. Piantaggini is a former member of the Martha Graham Dance Company and the Martha Graham Dance Ensemble, in which she danced many soloist roles including “Satyric Festival Song” and “Conversation of Lovers”. Anna Kisselgoff of the New York Times said that Amy “made a luminous New York debut in Graham’s abstract view…” October 7, 1998. Amy has danced for the companies of Javier Dzul, Richard Move, and James Robey, and currently dances for Edgar Cortes Dance Theater and HX Theatre. Amy’s teaching experience includes numerous schools throughout New England including the Hartt School/University of Hartford, an as a guest for Central Michigan State University, Webster University, Endicott College, Barnard College, and Dean College. She received her MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College with a focus in early American Modern Dance and Embodiment Theory. She has developed an extensive pre-ballet curriculum during her tenure at RCD
DANIELLE PIERCE-MASTER Danielle, “Clare and Ryan’s Mom,” loves all things movement and dance. She has an MA in Dance Education from New York University and a BA in English from Fordham University. She also trained in Brain Compatible Dance Education practices at the Summer Dance Institute for Teachers at the Creative Dance Center in Seattle. Danielle has taught creative dance at The Spence School and Steps on Broadway, both in New York City.
Danielle performed throughout the NYC metro area as a member of the Tap Olé Dance Company and Dance Visions New York, in addition to works by Belinda Sáenz and Alfdaniels Mabingo. She presented her choreography at Donation Dance NYC, Amalgamate Dance Company Showcase and Greenspace’s Fertile Ground. As an NYU student, Danielle had the opportunity to travel to Kampala, Uganda to participate in an exchange program, where she got to learn local dances and to teach modern dance to children.
Ms. Master has presented her work at the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO) and Dance and the Child International (daCi) Conferences. Beyond her practice as a Dance Educator, Danielle is licensed to teach Zumba ® Fitness for children and adults and is certified to teach Pilates Mat and Apparatus through the Pilates Academy International.
STEPHANIE SMITH Stephanie is thrilled to be teaching dance again. She previously taught all ages ballet, tap, and jazz before taking time off to raise her three kids. Her favorite Theatre Credits include the First National Tour of 42nd Street, Swing in the National Tour of My Fair Lady, Charity in Sweet Charity, Latin Feature in Swing, and Tess in Crazy for You. She has a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Oklahoma, and a MA from Teachers College, Columbia University in Music Education. She also teaches Pilates Apparatus and Mat Classes.
WESTPORT WESTON FAMILY YMCA
Westport Weston Family YMCA | 14 Allen Raymond Lane Westport, CT 06880 | 203-226-8981
BEDFORD FAMILY CENTER MON-FRI: 5:30am-9:00pm | SAT-SUN: 7:00am-6:00pm