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Faculty

Biography

Alyce Carella, dancer, teacher, and choreographer is the artistic director of the Alyce Carella Dance Centre in West Hartford, CT, which was established in 1960. Miss Carella has literally taught thousands of students the “joy” of dance over the years from the age of 2 to 80, beginner to professionals.


Many of her students have performed professionally in New York, Disneyland, FL, Las Vegas and California. More than a dozen previous students have opened their own school of dance.


In the beginning of her career she performed and choreographed all over the eastern coast in concert, theater and TV. She performed with Sammy Davis Jr., Nat King Cole, Liberace, Jerry Lewis and many other celebrities at the world renowned 500 Club in Atlantic City. She choreographed numerous musicals for local theater groups and summer stock, and had her own Jazz Dance Company which performed for 12 years in concert and lecture demonstrations.


Miss Carella was also the Director of Dance for 20 years at Miss Porter’s School, Farmington, CT, and taught for several dance teachers organizations in CT and Boston MA area. She was accepted into the Dance Masters of America, Inc., a member of the Dance Teacher Club of CT and Dance Alliance and the National Association of Dance and Afflicted artists. She is a charter member of the Association of Entrepreneurial Women and served on the advisory board for two years with the organization.


Her daughter, Laura Rugar has “followed in her footsteps” and teaches full time at the studio and her granddaughter Gemma, manages the business office


Miss Alyce Director

Biography

Experience: 1976 to present Dance Instructor and Associate Director of the Alyce Carella Dance Centre West Hartford Ct.
* 1978-1980 Cheerleader for the Hartford Hellions indoor soccer team.
* 1979-1983 taught a summer program at Trinity College, National Youth Sports Program for under privileged children.
* 1979-1981 WDRC and Cocoa Cola Dancer for UConn basketball half time shows, auto shows and other various events in Ct.
Escorted people out on the ice for the Hartford Whalers hockey-shoot to win.
* 1986-2003 Taught all forms of dance for the West Hartford School systems.
Jazz – hip hop – country line - 50’s be bop
* A life time student and choreographer, studied dance with teachers from NYC.-Chicago-Las Vegas, California and many other states. I presently continue to work full time at Alyce Carella’s and for many years have been the Associate director of the school.
• 2000–2015 very active with choreography for Intermediate and advanced students entering competitions in the Ct. Area.
Interests: Theatre, music, all types of dance shows, dance conventions and traveling.

Miss Laura Associate Director

Biography

My name is Gemma. I have been the studio manager at Alyce Carella Dance Centre for the last 11 years. Ms. Alyce is my grandmother and Ms. Laura is my mother, so I have grown up in the industry my entire life. I also took dance for 15 years. Currently I am pursuing a new career in real estate as well as managing the studio at night. My family and I look forward to bringing you the joy of dance for many more years to come.

Miss Gemma Studio manager

Biography

Tatsiana Plaksina was born in Minsk Belarus. She began studying dance at age 5 with the Childrence Dance Company, then continued to study with the Russian Ballet Academy in Minsk. Tatsiana has 15 years of professional performing experience with State dance Company of Belarus as a primo ballerina.

In 1997 Tatsiana was awarded a diploma from the State University of Fine Arts and a diploma in Pedagogic in Minsk, Belarus and received a bachelor of fine arts degree with a major in dance, and a master of Art degree in dance, specializing in Choreography.

In 2004 Tatsiana began teaching for Alyce Carella Dance Centre and is currently still there with a very large ballet following.

Miss Tatsiana Plaksina

Biography

I have been dancing since the day I was able to walk. To this day I am an active dance student and also an enthusiastic instructor. I have been teaching dance classes since 2003 and have been a part of the Alyce Carella faculty since 2008. I attend conventions regularly to keep inspired and up with the latest trends. Currently I work at Hartford Hospital as a full-time Radiographer, at Manchester Community College as a part-time Educator, and proudly hold a Bachelor’s of Science Degree with a Minor in Education. My passion for dance is spread to each student in my class as they learn and discover the art of dance and how it can empower their lives.

Miss Colleen

Biography

I began taking classes at the studio at the age of 8, and from then on, I was hooked on dance. I’ve studied jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop and contemporary at the studio over the years. When I graduated high school I stayed local and attended Central Connecticut State University to pursue a career in teaching. At the same time, I was asked to teach hip hop classes at the studio. I have now been teaching at Alyce Carella Dance Centre for almost 8 years, and I am now going into my third year of teaching elementary education in Cromwell Public Schools. My passion for dance and teaching have molded me into the person I am today. Keep calm and dance on!

Miss Ashley

Biography

Since relocating from New York City, Alison has choreographed, taught and performed in many prestigious schools and venues throughout the state. Notably, Ms. Bogatay’s work has been associated with The Hartford Symphony Orchestra, Connecticut Opera including their main-stage production of Salome in which she choreographed the ‘Dance of the Seven Veils’, CONCORA and Blackledgemusic, Inc., a non-profit Chamber Music Consortium. In 2003, Alison was selected by Muriel Topaz to be one of 8 choreographers in the state to feature her work for the CT Dance Alliance Festival, and is currently a member of the CDA.


Currently, Alison is the Artistic Director of Allongé Dance Variations, which was founded in 2006 with the intention of fusing Contemporary Dance, Classical Ballet and Spanish Flamenco. The Hartford-based Company’s mission is “to perform, teach and nurture the art of dance in its many forms, providing education and inspiration through creativity and passion.” ADV has received recognition for its in-school workshops, master classes and guest appearances. Performances include the New Britain Museum of American Art, CT Latino Expo, Identidad’s Latino de Oro Awards, NBC Health & Wellness Festival and CPTV’s fundraising event at Ibiza in New Haven, hosted by Faith Middleton with guitarist Val Ramos, Hartford Dances! at the Bushnell, Asylum Hill Congregational Church's Boar's Head & Yule Log Festival with guitarist Lorena Garay, and the Ted Hershey Dance & Music Marathon, to name a few. In 2014, ADV launched a new feature that brings dance and good food into people’s own homes! These unique In-home, themed and fully catered party packages, such as Spanish Flamenco-Tapas, Ladies Night, 80’s Bash and Roaring Twenties Bacchanal, include drinks, buffet & an easy dance lesson that everyone can enjoy!

Miss Alison Bogatay Guest Artist-Flamenco

Biography

I have been studying dance at the Alyce Carella Dance School since the age of two. I am experienced in Hip-Hop, Tap, Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, and Flamenco. I've been assisting and student teaching pre-school and younger children's classes since the age of twelve. The past two summers I have taught summer classes at Alyce Carella to gain further teaching experience. Over the course of my years I have attended countless conventions at which I studied with well known dancers such as "Twitch" Boss, Katherine McCormick, Allison Holker, Cyress, and Kent, from So You Think You Can Dance. I also take frequent trips to Broadway Dance Center in NYC to broaden my learning and to keep up with the latest dance trends. I have competed in dance competitions since the age of eight and the past four years I have competed as a student choreographer. Throughout these years I have received all gold, high gold and platinum awards.


For the past two consecutive years I won first place with my own choreography. I was a cheerleader at Conard High School for 4 years as both a sideline and competitive cheerleader. In my sophomore, junior and senior years I received the All Conference Award (given to the 15 highest scoring cheerleaders in the Central Connecticut Conference). I was captain for two seasons and choreographed all dance routines for Conard’s dance team. Beginning August of 2016 I will be coaching Newington peewee level 2 cheerleading. I am a certified coach with the Youth Cheer and Dance Association. Currently I volunteer teaching dance at University of Hartford's summer program. I am attending Tunxis as a dental hygiene student this fall. I am eager to meet and work with new students and expand my teaching career.

Miss Allison Volpe

Biography

I am a Contemporary Ballet performer and choreographer. Growing up in the capital of Connecticut, I’ve studied classical Ballet and other modern techniques at many dance schools in the Greater Hartford area. (Hartford's Academy of the Arts, Artists Collective, and the Hartford City Ballet.) I am currently pursuing a career professionally after graduating from The Hartt School and have certifications in both dance performance and Ballet teaching. I am very excited to work with Ms. Alyce Carella’s wonderful faculty and student’s, and to be part of it myself.

Brian Syms Jr.

Biography

Lili St. Amand has been a passionate Hip Hop dancer for 11 years and enjoys spreading her love and knowledge for dance through her teaching. Lili currently teaches at 3 different local studios and is also a member of the performance group, Protégé Project. Lili is heavily immersed in the Hip Hop world and is constantly working and striving to grow in her craft.

Miss Lili St Amand

Biography

I started taking dance lessons at the age of 10 with Alyce Carella Dance Centre. I trained in tap for 5 years and then went on to hip hop where I found my true passion. I then started attending Center Stage in Southington for my time in high school to further my hip hop and break dancing skills where I continued to study for another four years. Within those four years there, I was in numerous duet and solo acts as well as taking on a leadership role as a Captain of a National Winning dance team and entering competitions. Also displayed solo roles in big company numbers for the openings and closings of showcases.


Outside of dance school I was active in dance extracurriculars at my high school. I started and lead my own dance club that would showcase their performance at the end of the year in the annual talent show. My senior year of high school I was selected to choreograph the musical Footloose for my high school drama department. The summer 2013 I was a counselor and drama specialist for Eisner Camp in Great Barrington MA. There I worked with all age groups from 4-16 years old and choreographed 3 different plays; James and the Giant Peach, Anything Goes, and The Lion King. I spent some time with The Playground teaching dance classes to kids to help promote good health and staying active.


Last year I taught hip hop for Alyce Carella’s boy class and it was great to be back where I started as a young dancer myself. The boys performed a amazing dance in the annual recital and I couldn’t have been prouder. This year I look forward to working with the boy’s class again, and am eager to have another great year.


I love dancing and I believe in one thing, no one starts off great, every single one of us has to work hard to get where we want to be. If it's your passion, follow it through, stick with it and soon enough you will become the dancer you so desire.


Jessie Chen