About

Our Story

Dance.Laugh.Learn. was born out of the shared belief in the power of teaching and learning through the arts. Kerri Ford and Rylee Coppel have been colleagues and friends since 2009 when they were cast in a regional production of “Brooklyn Girls.” Kerri and Rylee share common ground in their training and development as artists and decided that combining their strengths would give them the blueprint for a successful educational program. Kerri and Rylee both have been performing and teaching in the NY/NJ area for many years and saw the need and market gap for a unique program that combines the elements of Musical Theatre, Dance, and Drama in a safe, imaginative, and educational environment for children.

Our Mission

Dance.Laugh.Learn. combines music, dance, and theatre with proven methods in childhood development aimed at sparking a child’s creativity and establishing an early love for the arts. As a new program, we are constantly growing, and incorporating our own continuing education into the program. Each program offers different and unique objectives that are achieved in a positive and nurturing learning environment. Dance.Laugh.Learn. programs are designed to give your children the opportunity to express creativity, expand the imagination, strengthen communication abilities, and cultivate social skills through the use of the performing arts. All Dance.Laugh.Learn classes are educational and process-based and will develop skills in your child that will stay with them throughout their lives.

Founders

Rylee Coppel

Artistic Director/ Teaching Artist

Rylee is a Pennsylvania native who alongside her performing and teaching dreams to NYC. Rylee holds a B.A. in Music Performance from Ramapo College of NJ and has performed regionally and locally with such companies as; Joey Casella Productions, Theatre Rehabilitation for Youth, Roxy Regional Theatre, RWS and Associates and American Entertainment Productions. Alongside her performing, Rylee has been teaching Musical Theatre, Voice, Dance and Acting in the NY/NJ area for over 5 years. Rylee is a Certified Kindermusik (Music Education program for children) and Leap n Learn (Dance Education program for children) instructor.

CARI Background check; Certified Yoga Instructor, Aura Wellness Center; CPR/First Aid, American Red Cross

Kerri Ford

Managing Director/ Teaching Artist

Kerri is a New York based performer who specializes in theatre for young audiences (TYA). She is an alumna of the educational theatre program at NYU where she graduated with a B.S. along with a certification to teach theatre in the state of NY (K-12;2004-2007). She has performed with a long roster of theatre companies who make it their mission to provide educational shows and assemblies to both children and adult audiences including: Winceyco, ArtsPower National Touring Theatre, Arithmitickles, and Periwinkle Theatre for Youth. Kerri is also professionally trained in movement and dance and has taught at private studios in the past. She continues to perform in the TYA field.

CARI background check; NYC/DOE fingerprinted; CPR/First Aid, American Red Cross; Kappa Delta Pi member

Teaching Artists

Sarah Callahan Black

Bio

Sarah Callahan Black is a Charleston native with a passion for dance, theatre, and teaching children! She has appeared in several productions throughout Charleston including Andy in Addicted to Love (34 West), Sherrie in Rock of Ages, Miss Bufton in London Wall (Village Rep.), Fraulein Kost in Cabaret, (What If? Productions), Rita in White Christmas (Charleston Stage), Cinderella in Cinderella, Goldilocks in Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red in Little Red Riding Hood (Sprouts Musical Theatre), and Chava in Fiddler on the Roof (Threshold Rep). A few favorite choreography credits include Sister Act, Little Shop of Horrors (Charleston Stage Company), Cabaret (What If? Productions), and Fiddler on the Roof (Threshold Rep). She also performs as various princesses and characters with Glass Slipper Productions! Sarah is the 2017 Charleston City Paper Reader’s pick for Best Local Actress and will be spending the rest of 2017 performing with 34 West Theatre Company!

Gina Marie Borden

Bio

Gina Marie Borden is a graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University, where she majored in dance and completed a program in women’s leadership. Her senior piece was a solo created collaboratively with former Trisha Brown Dance Company member Mariah Maloney. She has performed in works by Susan Rethorst, Beth Gill, and Lance Gries at New York Live Arts, and in a work by Jon Kinzel at Miller Theater. Borden choreographed Columbia University’s 119th Annual Varsity Show, performed a solo in GROUNDPLAN at La Plaza Cultural, and created her work Experiment for Five for Fete de l’Hurricane at Red Bean Studios. Other performance credits include Ferrum by Carte Blanche Performance, performed at Pioneer Works, Gowanus Art + Production, and Roulette Theater. Borden studied in Paris under the direction of Michael Foley and Colleen Thomas in June 2012. Borden attended Amalgamate Dance Company’s 2015 BREAK OUT dance program in Italy, where she performed in works by Alana Marie Urda and Jessica Taylor. She was cast as a part of Amalgamate Dance Company’s Guest Artist Showcase 6 in a work by Bryan Strimpel. Borden is a company member of Jessica Lewis Arts and Andrew Jannetti and Dancers, with whom she performed at University Settlement Speyer Hall in June 2016.

claire-page

Claire Page

Bio

Claire is a dancer, choreographer, and educator based out of New Jersey, excited to join the Dance, Laugh, Learn team! She started dancing at a young age, and went on to study at Steps on Broadway and Broadway Dance Center as a teen. She received her certificate in Musical Theater from CAP21 and BS from The New School. Claire has performed all across NYC on the stage, in film, and on TV, and is passionate about dance education for every child.

Carin Lagerberg

Bio

Carin Lagerberg is so excited to be joining the Dance Laugh Learn team! She is originally from Knoxville, TN and holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre from Samford University in Birmingham, AL. Teaching and performing are two of her biggest passions! Since college, she has worked at Charleston Stage Company in South Carolina and the Old Creamery Theatre in Iowa both performing in musicals and teaching musical theatre, creative drama, and dance workshops to children ages 4-14. Some of her favorite roles are Mary in Mary Poppins, Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors, and Frenchy in Grease. When she’s not doing theatre, Carin enjoys baking, making arts and crafts, and trying out all the great doughnut shops in NYC!

Jocelyn Lonquist

Bio

Jocelyn, a singer, dancer, and actor originally from Pensacola, FL, now calls NYC her home sweet home! Jocelyn is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, AL, and holds a BFA in Musical Theatre. During the past five years, Jocelyn has performed professionally in over 30 theaters around the country. She spent a year as a resident actor and teaching artist with Charleston Stage Company, in South Carolina, performing and also teaching drama and music in over twelve elementary and middle schools. Jocelyn also performed as Cinderella at Story Land theme park, where she taught lots of small princes and princesses the art of hosting a royal tea party! Jocelyn is thrilled to be a part of the fabulous Dance.Laugh.Learn team, where she has the opportunity to share her love of all things music and dance!

Training:

BFA Samford University, Musical Theatre

10-month Resident Theatre Education Internship, Charleston Stage Company, SC

2-year Music Education and Choreography Internship, Pensacola Children’s Chorus, FL

shelby-bosse

Shelby Bosse

Bio

Shelby is so happy to be a part of the Dance Laugh Learn Family! She has been dancing for over fifteen years, and has a BFA in Music Theatre from the University at Buffalo. Upon graduation, Shelby moved from Buffalo, NY to New York, NY, and currently resides there. She has previously performed with VStar Entertainment’s Sesame Street Live, RWS Entertainment Group, Shakespeare in Delaware Park, and also enjoyed performing at children’s birthday parties as a princess character. When she is not spending time with the tiny dancers, Shelby enjoys reading, playing the ukulele, and singing along to her favorite Disney movies.

Alina Silver

Bio

Alina Silver is excited to be teaching for Dance.Laugh.Learn! Alina started her dancing career in 2003 with the Dayton Ballet Company. She went on to dance all over the world as a dance captain and assistant choreographer for Celebrity Cruise Lines. She has performed in numerous theme parks, music videos, and industrials in the US and Canada. Since 2005, she has been a member of the Radio City Rockettes, with whom she has performed on Dancing with the Stars, Ellen Degeneres, Wendy Williams, Live with Kelly and Michael, The Meredith Vieira Show, The Today Show, and The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! Alina has taught at dance studios across the country, as well as for The Rockette Summer Intensive in New York City. She has experience teaching preschool at the New York Kids Club!, where she specialized in ballet, music, gymnastic, and art classes. Alina adores children, and recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl in August 2016.

Jillian Widmayer

Bio

Jillian hails from the great state of New Jersey where she began her performing career as a young child. She received her BFA in Musical Theater from Pace University in NYC and has spent over a decade as a professional performing artist all over the globe. As a proud member of the Actors Equity Association she has performed in prestigious NYC and regional theaters including The Theater at St Clements (off-Broadway) and The Papermill Playhouse. Additionally, she has sung the National Anthem for the NY Knicks, spent a year headlining a luxury cruise liner, and performed as 80’s popstar Debbie Gibson’s swing in a large scale Cirque production. Jillian is extremely passionate about using her talents and experience to work with children of all ages and help them experience the joys of artistic expression and performance!

Shannon Stoddard

Bio

Shannon Stoddard began her love of all things musical at an early age when she began dance lessons at age 6 and has been performing ever since! She holds her B.A. in Theatre from Centenary College of Shreveport, LA and anticipates to graduate with her M.A. in Theatre Education from New York University in Winter 2017. Shannon has most extensively taught with the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Academy of the Arts where she directed and taught nearly 50 productions and camps in 6 years. While there many of her shows and actors were nominated and won several National Youth Arts Awards — including winning Best Production for “Mary Poppins” and being nominated Outstanding Director for “The Addams Family.” While at the Academy of the Arts, she earned “Teacher of the Year” in both 2011 and 2016. Besides Dance.Laugh.Learn, Shannon has worked with Fresh Theatre Arts as well as the NYU Youth Ensemble. Shannon has also enjoyed teaching with the Ocean Beach Youth Group on Fire Island where she was awarded “Director of the Summer” in 2017! Shannon has a great passion for teaching students about theater and loves watching them grow not only as performers but also watching them grow in self confidence!

CPR/First Aid, American Red Cross

brad-trump

Brad Trump

Bio

Now based in New York City, Brad originally hails from the greater Pittsburgh area. He attended the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School and continued his higher education with Point Park University and the Joffrey Ballet School. In addition, Brad attended the PA Governor School for the Arts as a Ballet major. Since then, Brad has gone on to tour the US and Canada with the ever popular musical, CATS as Tumblebrutus. He also worked alongside Jane Seymour in ABC Family’s first Television Movie-Musical, Lovestruck! The Musical choreographed by Michael Rooney. Regionally, he has performed with North Shore Music Theatre, Theatre by the Sea, North Carolina Theatre, Casa Manana, and the Liberty Theatre. In addition to performing, Brad has directed children’s productions of CinderellaKIDS, AnnieKIDS and The Little Mermaid JR. He has also worked as a dance instructor teaching classes all over the country for various studios, high schools and conventions; most credibly Millenium Dance Complex: PITTSBURGH and Peridance NYC; he is also a dance adjudicator for Dancer’s INC. He is also an active member of the ‘A Leg Up On Life Foundation’ which is a platform for young dance educators and choreographers to evolve their craft while raising money for charity. Brad is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association and is represented by the Daniel Hoff Agency.

julia-garber

Julia Garber

Bio

Julia Garber is so excited to join the Dance.Laugh.Learn. Team! Originally from Los Angeles, California, Julia holds a BA in Theatre from Muhlenberg College and is now a New York based singer, dancer and actor. Favorite roles include: Sheila and Bebe in A Chorus Line, Marcy in Spelling Bee and Carnelle in The Miss Firecracker Contest. Julia has also taught music, theatre and dance to children of all ages with numerous organizations including Ballet For All Kids, Inner City Arts, and Camp Imagine. In her spare time, Julia enjoys snuggling with pups, watching Friends on repeat, and eating her way through NYC! She can’t wait to continue shaping creative young minds and teaching kids how to express themselves through the arts!

Maddie Fink

Maddie Fink

Bio

Maddie Fink is a Charleston, SC native currently working towards a BA in Arts Management at the College of Charleston. She has been performing around Charleston for years; some of her favorite roles include: Amber von Tussle in Hairspray (Charleston Stage), Mayzie la Bird in Seussical the Musical (Wando Voice Studio), and Campbell Davis in Bring it On the Musical (Wando High School). Maddie’s performing career originated with dance, and she eventually began teaching a variety of styles in 2012. She is beyond thrilled to continue dance education through being a part of the Dance.Laugh.Learn team!

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