Please visit 'Adult Classes' for open class schedule.
Please visit 'Adult Classes' for open class schedule.
"The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires." ~ William Arthur Ward
Mr. Raphael founded Connecticut Ballet and Connecticut Ballet Center. He has taught all levels of ballet, pointe, pas de deux, and repertoire since 1981. He has served on the faculties of Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Harkness House in New York City, and Purchase College along with guest teaching at conferences and residencies in New Orleans, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and Maryland. He was chosen by George Balanchine at age ten to receive a Ford Foundation Scholarship to the School of American Ballet, studying intensively under Stanley Williams and Richard Rapp. He subsequently studied with Hector Zaraspe, Valentina Pereyaslavec, Leon Danielian, Errol Addison (in London) and performed with the touring ensemble, Stars of American Ballet. He danced leading roles with Connecticut Ballet in classic full-lengths as well as contemporary works by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, Lila York, Danny Buraczeski, Anna Sokolow, and Milton Myers. He has choreographed sixteen original works for Connecticut Ballet along with stagings of the full-length Romeo and Juliet, Giselle, Coppèlia, Nutcracker, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella, Brigadoon and an original ballet, La Belle Otero. In 2000, his ballet, Blue Light, won second prize in the St. Sauveur Choreography Competition in Canada. Mr. Raphael’s choreography was recently shown at the Tel Aviv Festival in Israel.
Ballet 3A, Ballet 3B, Adult Basic Ballet
Kim Araki trained as a dancer at The Royal Ballet School (London, England), American Ballet Theatre School, and The School of American Ballet. She danced professionally as a Soloist and Principal and in Equity musical theatre. As a dancer with the New York City Opera, she performed in the wide-ranging opera repertoire. More recently, Kim attended teacher training programs at Canada's National Ballet School. During more than 15 years of experience teaching ballet, she has enjoyed working with vocational as well as recreational dancers. Within the professional community, Kim serves on the Board of Governors of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and is currently AGMA’s New York Area Vice Chair. This is her 2nd year on the CBC faculty.
Creative & PreBallet
Jordan Cassetta grew up dancing at the Darien Arts Center. During her high school years, she trained at Connecticut Ballet Center and was a Trainee in 2014. She then went on to teach at the Darien Arts Center and assisted with the DAC’s Danceability program. Jordan is passionate about wellness and fitness and is a certified Pop Pilates Instructor. She trains at Broadway Dance Center in NYC in a variety of styles, primarily taking contemporary, jazz, and lyrical classes. Jordan has danced with Julia Kane Dance Collective and Tracie Stanfield’s Virtual Construction Company. This is her 2nd year teaching at Connecticut Ballet Center.
Adult Intermediate Ballet
Christina Fagundes Turner began her twenty-five year professional career with San Francisco Ballet in 1982, after placing as a finalist at the 1982 International Ballet Competition. In 1985, Mikhail Baryshnikov invited her to join American Ballet Theatre where her repertoire included soloist and principal roles in the 19th century classics and works by Macmillan, Tudor, Ashton, Kylian, Tharp, Morris and Lubovitch. In 1999, she was a founding member of Suzanne Farrell Ballet, dancing the gems of the Balanchine and Bejart repertoire in addition to guesting with international companies. Ms. Fagundes began her teaching journey at Ballet Etudes as a pre-professional director and resident choreographer for over 15 years. She has her own private studio and has assisted ballet and musical theater students to achieve their professional goals in major classical ballet companies and acceptances to several top-tiered colleges. Ms. Fagundes graduated summa cum laude with a BFA from Fordham University and is a certified ABT teacher. This is her third year on the CBC faculty.
Ballet 2B/2C, Ballet 2C Pointe, Ballet 4A/4B
Yinet Fernandez was born in Havana, Cuba where she studied ballet at Alejo Carpentier National School of Ballet, training under and receiving mentorship from Marta Iris Fernandez, Romona de Saa, Caridad Martinez, and many others. After graduating in 2008, she danced with National Ballet of Cuba for six years, performing both in Cuba and on tour at the Royal Opera House in London, Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York City, and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.. In 2015, she immigrated to the United States, performing with Connecticut Ballet in The Nutcracker, Cinderella, and Summer Dance Caravan for two seasons. In 2017, she joined Dance Theatre of Harlem where she has appeared in such ballets as Le Corsaire Pas (Petipa), Allegro Brillante (Balanchine), This Bitter Earth (Wheeldon), and Blake Works IV (McGregor). She has taught at Brooklyn Ballet, Joffrey School, Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, and Long Island City School of Ballet. This is her first year on the faculty of Connecticut Ballet Center.
Primary 2, Ballet 1A/1B, Ballet 2A, Body Conditioning,
Ballet 2B Pre-Pointe
Nicole Gaston began her training at the age of six under the tutelage of her mother, Lydia Madarang Gaston. A scholarship grant to Ballet Philippines Summer Dance Workshop paved the way to an apprenticeship to the company. Among the many roles she played were Gamzatti in La Bayadere, Lisa in Ang Pilya,William Morgan's adaptation of La Fille Mal Gardee, multiple solo roles in full-length ballets such as Swan Lake, Giselle and Sleeping Beauty. After a decade with Ballet Philippines, Nicole moved on to Hong Kong Ballet to dance for two years. In 1993, she came to the United States, dancing with various companies, including Bay Ballet Theatre in Tampa, Florida, Connecticut Ballet, and Ballet New York in Sea Cliff, Long Island.
Nicole also performed in the musical, The King and I, at the Westchester Broadway Theatre and the Sacramento Musical Circus where she danced the role of "Eliza,” the "Fan Dancer" and "Little Topsy" in the ‘Small House of Uncle Thomas’ ballet within the musical. Nicole joined the Connecticut Ballet Center faculty in 2007.
Stephanie Godino was born and raised in New York City, and received her ballet training from Margaret Craske, Valentina Pereyslavec and later, at the Joffrey Ballet School. She danced with Kansas City Ballet; Lotte Goslar’s Pantomime Circus, Joffrey 2 Dancers, New York City Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet. Stephanie has taught ballet and character dance at Broadway Dance Center, Peridance, La Guardia HS, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, and the Joffrey Ballet School. In addition to teaching, Stephanie has choreographed and directed opera productions for DiCapo Opera, Bronx Opera and State Repertory Opera of NJ and has been an adjunct professor at Molloy College in the Musical Theater program. Ms. Godino has a BA in Theater and Dance from Empire State College. This is her 2nd full year on the CBC faculty.
Primary 2, Ballet 2A, Ballet 3A, Ballet 4A/4B
A native of Venezuela, Carla Hernandez joined the Teresa Carreno Ballet Company in Caracas in 2018, rapidly ascending thru the ranks. In addition to corps de ballet parts, she was given soloist and principal roles such as Giselle Act II, Don Quixote and Corsaire Pas de Deux, and Sugar Plum Fairy in The Nutcracker. Due to the difficulties facing everyday people in Venezuela, she decided to come to the United States to further her career with the help of extended family in Miami. She debuted with Connecticut Ballet in the Fall of 2020, and has appeared in the company's Digital Dance Series, Ballet Under the Stars 2021, 2022, 2023, and The Nutcracker.. In the spring of 2023, she made her debut as Swanhilda in Connecticut Ballet's Coppelia. This is her fourth year on the Connecticut Ballet Center faculty.
Miss Rio Kikuchi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan where she received her basic dance training, supplementing that with summer programs as the Kirov Ballet Academy in Washington and Alonzo King Line Ballet in San Francisco. Her intensive study of modern dance techniques began when she attended the Ailey School Scholarship Program from 2017-2019. Since her graduation, she has performed with Benjamin Briones Ballet in NYC and is currently a member of Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company in New Jersey. This is her third year on the faculty of Connecticut Ballet Center.
Ballet 4a/4b, Adult Intermediate Ballet
Marc Spielberger returns to the CBC faculty after a hiatus of several years. He received his formal training at the Ballet Academy Munich, Heinz – Bosl Foundation, under Artistic Director Konstanze Vernon, graduating in 1997. He danced with the Bavarian State Ballet in Munich and then the Staatsoper in Berlin, before joining Miami City Ballet in 1999. Marc has danced at the Kennedy Center, the Music Center/L.A, New York City Center, the Chicago Auditorium and the famous Theatre du Chatelet in Paris. He performed throughout Europe, China and Russia, performing works by Bejart, Petit, Robbins, Duato, Balanchine, Tharp, Forsythe, Neumeier, Taylor, Kylian, Villella, and others. Since his retirement in 2012, he has taught for schools in Japan, Germany, France, Austria and ballet companies throughout the United States and Germany. In 2020, he took part in Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet’s teacher workshop, learning Marcia Dale Weary’s syllabus. Marc currently also teaches at Eastern Connecticut Ballet and Ballet Hartford.