Faculty & Staff
Our professional faculty is experienced in the Steffi Nossen Method, nurturing their students’ passion for dance in an organized, structured and proven curriculum.
The Steffi Nossen School of Dance’s professional teaching faculty members are leaders in the field of dance education. Our instructors are highly trained dancers and choreographers with extensive performing and teaching experience. They create a safe, nurturing and accepting environment where students of all shapes, sizes and abilities can experience the joy of dance and benefit from its inherent discipline. Pre-professional and recreational dancers are trained with equal enthusiasm. Using the proven Steffi Nossen Method, our faculty encourages artistic expression while building a solid technical foundation.
SHELLEY K. GRANTHAM
Shelley Grantham Nierenberg, recently became the Executive Director of The Steffi Nossen School of Dance in White Plains, NY. Previously, Shelley had been The School at Peridance Coordinator since 1999 along with the Director of the Peridance Youth Ensemble. Originally from Minneapolis, MN Shelley started her dance training at Dance Arts Center and Ballet Arts. She furthered her dance education at the Conservatory of Dance at Barat College, DePaul University, Chicago, IL receiving a BA in Dance and graduating with honors in 1997. While in Chicago she taught at North Shore School of Dance and choreographed for the musical theatre department at Loyola Academy. Shelley also performed with the Barat Repertory Dance Company, working with Rory Foster, Eileen Cropley, Emily Stein and Julie Cartier. After moving to New York City she began dancing and performing with two independent companies, Danielle DePersis and Dancers and Deborah Damast and Dancers along with choreographing for a Tap group, Fiddle Faddle Feet. Shelley has been teaching and choreographing for schools in Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey and New York for over 20 years, teaching Jazz, Modern, Tap and Composition. Shelley has been coordinating all out-reach efforts for both not-for-profit dance companies at Peridance, Peridance Contemporary Dance Company and the Peridance Youth Ensemble for over 15 years, working closely with organizations such as University Settlement, Dancers Responding to AIDS, Free Arts and NY Cares. Shelley believes she is the person and educator she is today because of her strong family and very supportive dance teachers throughout the years. She cherishes every moment she is able to give back to the dance community and arts education.
KRISTINA TODD NELSON
Kristina Todd Nelson, Steffi Nossen School Director, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in voice performance from Brevard College in Brevard, NC where she began her career teaching dance for its community program. She is a graduate of the Harkness Dance Center Education Laboratory program and is a certified Pilates mat instructor. Kristina has been a faculty member at Brooklyn Ballet, Dance Project of Washington Heights and has also taught at 92nd St Y and Peridance.
Kristina started training in ballet and modern dance at a young age in Ohio and South Carolina. Her performing career began in college with leading roles in opera and musical theatre. Professionally, she danced for Asheville Contemporary Dance Theatre and in numerous Off-Broadway shows in New York. Kristina previously managed the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries education program.
Artistic Director, Master Class I, & Modern Program
A Steffi Nossen alumna, Jessica DiMauro holds an MFA in Choreography from Jacksonville University and graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance. Her company, DiMauro Dance (dimaurodance.com), has been performing for over nine years. Ms. DiMauro’s choreography has been seen at venues throughout the Tristate area including The Alexander Kasser Theater, The Abrons Arts Center at Henry Street Settlement, The Works Studio, Salvatore LaRussa Dance Theatre/The Academy, The Crystal Theater in Norwalk, CT, Steps on Broadway, The Theresa Lang Theater, the Dance Theater Lab at Purchase College, Peridance Center, The Music Conservatory of Westchester, The Arts Exchange and The Irvington Town Hall Theater. DiMauro Dance has been selected to perform at numerous festivals and curated showcases including White Wave’s COOL NY Dance Festival, The HATCH Presenting Series, Dance Conversations at The Flea, CT Meets NY, Queens Arts Express, and New Dance Downtown. Ms. DiMauro is on faculty at Montclair State University as a professor of Dance Technique. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor and a Certified Kripalu Yoga Instructor. She was the recipient of an Arts Alive Artist Grant for the year 2007 from The Westchester Arts Council for her work titled “com-mu-ni-ty”. In addition, Ms. DiMauro produced Unraveled at the Merce Cunningham Studio in April of 2011, Confetti: A Collection of Works by Jessica DiMauro at The Producers’ Club Theaters and her choreography was also seen at the 2004 International NYC Fringe Festival in Granola! The Musical at The Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts.
Company Director & Jazz Program
Paulette Lewis, a native Wisconsinite, holds a BA in Dance from Point Park University. Paulette is a performer, teacher, stage manager, and travel enthusiast. She began teaching at the age of 15 and has taught workshops at studios throughout Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York and has studied at multiple studios throughout NYC. Currently, Paulette is the Marketing + Communications Director for the CURRENT SESSIONS, a NYC based performing arts organization that develops and presents the work of emerging artists.
Junior Master Class & Master Class II
Annie Doss began teaching at Steffi Nossen in 2006. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College, studied at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and is currently pursuing her MS in Movement Therapy at Pratt University. A Steffi Nossen alumna with many performing credits, Ms. Doss has also presented her own choreography at the Theresa Lang and Red Room Theaters, Dance Theatre Workshop (DTW), SUNY Purchase, and Peridance Center. She is a founding member of DiMauro Dance and a Certified Pilates Instructor. In addition to her role as faculty member and choreographer at Steffi Nossen School of Dance, Ms. Doss is also a member of the Faculty at Trapeze School New York.
Core Ballet Program
Jillian Foley grew up in Niskayuna, NY where she got her dance training at Northeast Ballet Company, under the direction of Darlene Myers. She graduated from The Hartt School at the University of Hartford with a BFA in Ballet Pedagogy under the direction of Stephen Pier, and two minors in Psychology and Performing Arts Management. While at Hartt, Jillian had many opportunities to work with classical and contemporary choreographers, and had the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam, The Netherlands to dance with the Henny Jurriens Foundation. Jillian performed in Amalgamate Dance Company’s Guest Artist Showcase with choreography by Amy Marshall in March 2016 and she recently choreographed and danced in Orpheé et Eurydice at Des Moines Metro Opera. Jillian teaches at Joffrey Ballet School in NYC among other studios in the area and dances with Amy Marshall Dance Company. She is very excited to join Steffi Nossen School of Dance this Fall!
Courtney Murray originally from Colorado, where she danced professionally for six years and trained for twenty, in virtually every style. She has been a company member of Rogue Dance CO., The Schiff Dance Collective, Blue Moon Dance Company, Sammy J. Dance and a current member of Borne Dance Company. She was chosen for Broadway Dance Center's Professional Semester Program where she received the Best Choreography Award for her year. Her choreography has been featured at Boulder Creek Festival, The Schiff Dance Collective showcases, Blue Moon Dance Company performances, Christopher Palacio Dance Project, Peridance Capezio Center's Faculty and Student Showcase, and dance competitions. Courtney started assisting and teaching her own classes at 17 and quickly fell in love with teaching dance to kids. She has taught techniques from ballet to hip-hop at studios, middle schools and high schools throughout Colorado. She moved to New York to pursue a dance career in 2014. Courtney loves the feeling of making a difference in a child's life whether by passing on her love and knowledge of dance or cheering her students on while they play “Freeze Dance” to Disney music. She is so excited and honored to be a part of the Steffi Nossen School of Dance.
Alyssa Fulmer, originally from Easton, Pennsylvania, graduated magna cum laude with a BA in dance from Point Park University. Since graduating, she has been happily teaching modern, ballet, pointe, tap and jazz to children and young adults in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, and New York. When not teaching, she can be seen performing with many artists in the New York City area and beyond. Alyssa loves being able to pass on her love for dance in a fun yet educational environment.
Desiree Errico is a Long Island native who received her primary ballet training from world renowned ballet coach, Maggie Black, for nearly 10 years. After graduating high school early, she furthered her training in NYC with Master teachers David Howard and Diana Cartier. Desiree has had the privilege to spend several summers studying with the New York City Ballet, Boston Ballet, and American Ballet Theatre. Ms. Errico has danced professionally for both contemporary and classical ballet companies throughout New York including the Eglevsky Ballet and ASEID Contemporary Ballet and has worked with choreographers Ali Pourfarrokh, Alfred Obersteiner, David Howard, and Lenore Wall. In addition, Desiree was a Guest Artist for the American Dance Theatre of Long Island, CW Post College, and New York City Center. She also teaches group dance and fitness. Her most recent teaching positions have been at the American Ballet Studio, Joffrey Dance Center, Joffrey Ballet School, and now Steffi Nossen School of Dance! http://www.dansique.com/
Company Ballet Program
Formerly a principal dancer and Company Ballet Mistress with the Frankfurt Ballet, Kathleen Fitzgerald was also a soloist with Netherlands Dance Theater I and Assistant Director of Netherlands Dance Theater II. She toured internationally with both companies and created and performed works by many distinguished choreographers including Jiri Kylian, William Forsythe, Hans Van Manen, Nacho Duato, Matts Ek, Bruce Marks, Jennifer Muller, Louis Falco, Christopher Bruce, and others. Ms. Fitzgerald has taught for major European dance companies and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. A Steffi Nossen faculty member since 2000, she has been the School Director since 2004. An active member of the Westchester artistic community, she is also the Production Manager for the Copland House concerts at Merestead.
Core Modern Program
Caren Valente holds a BA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College and was a member of the Steffi Nossen faculty for 14 years, teaching Core Modern and Jazz Technique. She is currently on the faculty of SUNY Purchase teaching Dance Fitness and is the Performing Arts Coordinator for the Youth and Precollege Programs in the Arts. As a choreographer, Caren has choreographed musicals for Scarsdale High School, White Plains Middle School, Purchase Youth Theater and the Playgroup Theater. Caren's performance career includes dancing with Kinetic Dance Theater, appearing as a dancer on the AMC Series "Into Character: Dirty Dancing", and danced in the Off- Broadway Musical "Still on the Corner." Caren is thrilled to return to the Steffi Nossen School of Dance and the Core Modern Classes in Chappaqua.
Core Modern & Jazz Program
An alumna of NYC’s High School of Performing Arts, Tami Mele went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance from Adelphi University with Departmental Honors. Her performance credits include the Collective Dance Company, guest artist with DJ McDonald at Lincoln Center Summer Arts Festival, and the AIDS Benefit sponsored by Elle Magazine. Ms. Mele is on the Faculty of the Moba Dance Academy and the Oceanside Conservatory of Dance. She is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, and teacher of kick-boxing. A faculty member and choreographer at Steffi Nossen since 1992, Ms. Mele is also the choreographer for the school’s Jazz Ensemble.
Boys & Tap Programs
Dylan Baker is a New York City based dancer, choreographer, and teaching artist. After growing up in the boondocks of Wisconsin and earning a BFA in Dance at The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Dylan moved to NYC to pursue his dance career. Apart from creating his own works, Dylan can often be found dancing with David Parker and The Bang Group, Matthew Westerby Company, and the Covenant Ballet Theater of Brooklyn. When Dylan is not on stage or in rehearsal, it's likely he is in the classroom. With experience teaching a range of subjects from tap dance to science class, Mr. Baker has taught kids and adults of all ages and is ecstatic to be joining the amazing family of students and educators here at Steffi Nossen School of Dance!
Hip Hop Program / Outreach Program
Candice graduated from Manhattanville College with a B.A is Dance and Theatre on a performing arts scholarship. She has studied and performed many styles of dance and performing arts for over 15 years. She has danced on tour with Marta Renzi & Co at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and has performed in the Table of Silence 9/11 project, Mark Morris Dance Center, Disney World and the New York City Center. Candice has been teaching Hip Hop in Steffi Nossen's outreach program and is excited to join the Friday Faculty.
Moving Wheels & Heels Program / Outreach Program
Tara Mazurek's passion for outreach began as a young dancer performing at nursing homes, local charities, and elementary schools. She trained and performed with the Eastern CT Ballet Company, where she was the first student to be asked to teach for the school at just 18 yrs old. After receiving a BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan, she performed professionally in musical theater and cheerleading. She then continued in outreach as a teacher, bringing dance to after school elementary programs in CT, creating a ballet program for the Hasidic community in Brooklyn, and teaching at studios in Manhattan and the tristate area. Recently relocated to White Plains, she loves working with organizations in Westchester through Steffi, serving adults with special needs and preschool students.
Jeanie Gayeski served as Head of the Arts Department and Movement Teacher at the Gillen Brewer School, educating children with special needs in New York City. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Art History and German from the University of Rochester, a Master of Science in Elementary Education from Hunter College, and has completed a Certificate Program in Dance Education for Children at the 92nd Street Y. Ms. Gayeski has also trained in Creative Arts Therapy at Pratt Institute, Yoga and Creative Movement for children with special needs, and is a certified Yoga Teacher through Yoga Haven in Tuckahoe, NY. She has been teaching at Steffi Nossen since 2007.
A graduate of Manhattanville College, Silvana Larkin holds a BA in dance/theatre with a concentration in dance therapy. She has studied locally and performed for Gabri Crista of the Bill T Jones Company and Carlos Orta of the Jose Limon Dance Company. Mrs. Larkin has been with Steffi Nossen since 2004, teaching creative movement and ballet throughout Westchester to mainstream and special needs populations. She became a certified ZUMBA instructor in 2011.
Summer Dance Program
Gierre Godley is a native of Little Rock, Arkansas where he trained with C. Michael Tidwell and Arleen Sugano. Gierre also trained at the Ailey School and with Deeply Rooted Dance Production in Chicago. He has worked with Gus Solomons Jr, Nellie Rainwater, Troy Powell, Camille A. Brown, Nathan Trice, Kyle Abraham, Malcolm Low, Sidra Bell, and more. He dances with the Stefanie Nelson Dancegroup, as well as serving as the Co-Artistic Director of his own repertory duet company, Sobers & Godley’s. Their evening length work "The Sh*t We Lost in the Fire” received the 2001 Houston Fringe Festival Critics Choice Award. Recently, Gierre created PROJECT 44, an all male troupe dedicated to showcasing the beauty of male artistry.
A graduate of Manhattanville College, Laurel received a B.A in Dance & Theater, with a concentration in Dance Therapy & Minor in Psychology. While at Manhattanville, she choreographed 2 pieces that were performed in the Department of Dance & Theater’s Dance Concert. She has had the privilege of performing works by Peter Pucci, Marta Renzi, Ann Marie DeAngelo, Julio Monge, Arthur Aviles, Roberto Villanueva, & Bryan Strimpel. Laurel has performed at venues such as the New York City Center, Jacobs Pillow Inside Out Stage, Great Friends Dance Festival, The Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theatre, Hudson River Museum & recently New York City Center Studios. She was featured in dance films called "Swag N Bach" & "In The Garden" (directed by Peter Pucci) which were shown at the Jacob Burns Film Center in the Dance On Film Series in 2014 & 2015. Aside from teaching dance in Westchester County, Laurel is a certified Group Fitness Instructor.
Nancy Lushington holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Adelphi University. She has danced with May O’Donnell, Joyce Trisler, Theatre Dance Collection, and in Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass” at Kennedy Center. Ms. Lushington serves on the Board of the O’Donnell Green Foundation for Music and Dance. She has taught master classes internationally and is a member of the faculties of Marymount College and Montclair State University. After two decades at Steffi Nossen as Master Class teacher, choreographer, and Artistic Director, Ms. Lushington continues as the school’s Artistic Advisor and dynamic faculty member in Moving Wheels and Heels, the school’s annual adaptive dance intensive.
Our teachers provide a safe, nurturing, and accepting environment.