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Betty Seibert

Fellow/CUSA, ISTD & Senior International Examiner; Maestro Cecchetti Final Diploma; Director of Examinations, CUSA; Chair, Cecchetti International - Classical Ballet Chair, Cecchetti International - Classical Ballet Chair, Cecchetti International - Classical Ballet

Betty Seibert is honored to have served Cecchetti USA as Director of Examinations since 1994. Humbled to have been elected by her peers in 2008 as chair of Cecchetti International – Classical Ballet, she looks forward to presiding over the next CICB Competition in 2014 in Richmond, VA. Her teaching career – spanning five decades, four schools, three states and thousands of students – has been an extension of her unique background as a performer in her own right. 

Ms. Seibert performed over a dozen leading roles in the classical ballet repertoire with the Florida Ballet Company, and became a featured dancer for the Sarasota and Asolo Opera Companies before becoming involved with musical theatre. She performed professionally in musicals and in dramatic plays for 14 years as a member of Actors Equity Association, where her favorite roles included Lola in Damn Yankees, Claudine in Can-Can, Dream Laurie in Oklahoma!, and Emilie in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. 

In addition to performing, she has choreographed 34 seasons of dance concerts for her own studios, and over 40 musical theatre productions for Equity summer stock, opera companies, dinner and community theatre, colleges, and performing arts high schools from Maine to Florida. It was in the theatrical world that Ms. Seibert first gained experience as a director, which she continues to employ as she serves as Artistic Director of Cecchetti Ballet Theatre, now in its 17th season presenting the full-length production of The Nutcracker. She also directed the DVD documenting the syllabus work contained in the Maestro Cecchetti Final Diploma, released by Cecchetti USA in 2010. 

As a performer, choreographer, director, teacher, and examiner, Ms. Seibert’s first priority has always been promoting the theatricality of dance as a true performing art, in the studio as well as on stage.
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Kara Nagle

Kara started her dance career 27 years ago, the same year Joni’s Dance Center opened its doors.  She then went on to become a member of the Eastern Connecticut State University’s dance team for all 4 years of college and served as their captain her junior and senior years.  The team excelled under her guidance and made it to the finals for the National Dance Association.  After graduating college, she returned to Joni’s Dance Center as a teacher.  She works closely with all the students and enjoys helping the Performing Group give back to the community by performing at various charitable events.  Some of these include the American Cancer Society, Muscular Dystrophy, March of Dimes, and Toys for Tots.  When Kara is not teaching dance, she is teaching school to third graders in New Haven. 
Tammi Wells

Tammi has been with Joni since the age of 3; first as a student, then an assistant, a teacher and now an Artistic Director. Tammi helped to create the Joan Lynn Company Dancers Performing Group. She has been an integral part of connecting with various charities and setting up performances. Tammi enjoys teaching all levels of dancers and especially loves lyrical. Tammi has a strong background in child development due to her career as a Social Worker with the New Haven Public Schools. 
Melanie Moore

Melanie started her dance career at Joni’s when she was 4 years old. She became an assistant at 12 and an associate teacher at 17. She trained in New York to help bring hip hop to the studio and assisted with the Performing Group, raising money and performing for various charities. Due to her career she had to leave Joni’s as a teacher in 2006. Melanie is also the Stage Manager for the recitals every year, pulling all the strings behind the curtain. When Melanie is not dancing she is doing website design and development.

Joan Christensen

Joan has been the owner and Artistic Director of Joni’s Dance Center for 31 years. Prior to opening Joni’s Dance Center she was the Assistant Teacher to Ron Fucci of Ronnie’s Dance Workshop in North Haven for 15 years. Joan has taught aerobics as well as different dance styles.

Joan started her love for dance at the age of 4. She has studied many different styles and technique through the years, with much emphasis in Jazz and Tap. She has taken many classes in New York and continues to do so when the time permits.  

Joan has a love for the theater arts and dance. She has choreographed many local productions in the state at high schools, local theaters, etc. For the past 13 years she has been the principal choreographer for the Whitney Players, a local theater company under the direction of Cindy Simell-Devoe. Most recent productions have been Young Frankenstein, Shrek the Musical, West Side Story to name a few. Together with Cindy Simell-Devoe, Joan runs a 2-week theater/dance camp in the summer. Focus for the younger kids who want to further their studies in acting and the theater. 

As a performer, choreographer, director and teacher, Joan’s priority has always been to keep the performing arts and dance alive! 

Jaclyn Ianniello

Jaclyn has been dancing beside her Aunt, Miss Joan, for 30 years here at Joni’s Dance Center. She helped to create the Joan Lynn Dance Company with Miss Tammi. Jaclyn has connected with many charities and setting up performances. In 2014, she was an integral part of bringing this group to a level of competition. Jaclyn currently teaches Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop and Broadway to all age groups. She especially loves tap…she is an Ianniello after all!!

Jaclyn can also be seen pursuing her other creative side, hairdressing. She has been a licensed hairdresser for 10 years. She is the studios visionary on costumes, hair and make-up! She is also a choreographer for Whitney Players. 

Vincent Ianniello

Vin has been dancing for the past 17 years and has been teaching all levels of hip hop since 2008. In addition to teaching and editing the music for recitals, competitions and performances at Joni’s Dance Center, Vin is currently working towards a music industry degree at the University of New Haven. He was most recently dance captain for the Whitney Players’ production of Young Frankenstein and has performed in numerous musical productions over the past 12 years. Lately, his most prized accomplishment was having the honor of working with the Town of Hamden to complete the town’s first ever flash mob, in which he taught over 100 people Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” 

When Vin is not hip hoppin’ around, he can be found waiting tables at Pepe’s Pizza. He also enjoys playing acoustic gigs at local restaurants and bars.
David Christensen

David grew up in North Branford, CT. He has worked at The Ivoryton Playhouse, SpeakEasy Stage Company in Boston, New York Theatre Barn, Curtain Call and most recently musically directed Young Frankenstein for The Whitney Players. He currently resides in New York where he is a member of the BMI Musical Theater Advanced Writing Workshop. David has a B.F.A. from Boston Conservatory. 
Bailey Bruce

​Bailey discovered her passion for dance at Joni's Dance Center at age 12. She danced at Joni's and worked as an assistant teacher until graduating high school. Bailey then went on to study dance at Dean College with a strong focus on modern dance. She returned to Joni's Dance Center in 2007 but this time as a teacher, teaching modern and ballet for three years. Bailey had to leave the studio to start her career as a public school art teacher, but is now returning to teach modern dance.

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