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 followed 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; Charleston Stage, 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, and SC areas for over 5 years.

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

 

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). Kerri recently obtained her A.A. in Early Childhood Education and her Prekindergarten Associate License. As a 2021 graduate of the Teaching Artist Training Institute (TATI), Kerri received training from Marquis Studio in best practices for teaching arts to children of diverse cognitive and developmental needs. 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; Trauma Informed

Advisors

Scott LePor

Scott LePor D.O

Medical/Neuroscience advisor, TBRI Practitioner

Bio

Scott LePor is a family physician who resides outside of Atlanta and practices in Northwest Georgia. He is a husband, father, foster and adoptive parent. Through his experiences as a foster parent, Scott sought further training through Texas Christian University Institute of Child Development to help heal the life traumas of children from hard places with the evidence based neuroscience of Trust Based Relational Intervention. The principles have proved to be so life changing that Scott now shares this training through lectures and workshops to foster/adoptive parents as well as other health care professionals. These principles have also become the foundation for becoming Medical Director of Patient Experience and Physician Engagement at the hospital where he works through building a culture centered around meeting the needs of others through trust based relationships. Having a strong spiritual worldview has also been a driving force for his purpose and passion in helping those in need. Scott has also enjoyed sharing knowledge on various aspects of health in publications, podcasts, and social media. In his spare time, Scott enjoys spending time with his wife and three precious girls in daily routines as well as sharing life experiences together. Scott also enjoys promoting health through regular exercise and a whole food plant based diet which he also encourages with his patients.

Teaching Artists

NYC Metro/NJ

Megan Jackson

Megan Jackson

Bio

Megan Jackson is excited to be a part of the Dance Laugh Learn Team! She is originally from Montgomery, Texas and holds a B.F.A. in Musical Theatre and a minor in dance from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Upon graduation, Megan became a resident company member and teaching artist at the A.D. Players Theater in Houston, Texas. Some of her favorite roles include Gerda in The Snow Queen and Sally in a Charlie Brown Christmas. She now resides in NYC as a performing artist and loves exploring New York City any chance she can.

Clear Checks National Background Check 2020

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

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.

Clear Checks National Background Check 2020

South Carolina

Amanda Keller

Amanda Keller

Bio

Amanda Keller studied Psychology and theatre at York University and Players Academy in her hometown of Toronto Canada. After school she spent two years touring Southern Ontario with the Educational theatre company Big Kid Entertainment. Then she got this crazy idea and moved to Shanghai China where she taught preschool and kindergarten at an international school. Amanda was also responsible for training all the schools teachers in how to use the various arts as a teaching tool with all curriculum as well as overseeing, and hosting all school performances. While in Shanghai Amanda also taught Drama and directed children’s shows for children ages 12-15 for the Oh Culture Development Company. Amanda worked as a performer in numerous theatrical productions, voiced a few cartoons, and met her husband who brought her to Charleston. She is excited, and eager to dive into the South East acting and education scene. She recently has had the pleasure of performing in productions with Footlight Players, 5th Wall Theatre, and Storytree Children’s Theatre.

Clear Checks National Background Check 2020

Samantha Brynildsen

Samantha Brynildsen

Bio

Samantha Brynildsen, originally from Glen Gardner, New Jersey, holds a B.F.A in Musical Theatre from the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in Boston, Massachusetts. She is currently pursuing her Masters in Early Childhood Education at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. Samantha has always had a passion for the arts and inspiring others. She has been singing and performing since the age of 12. She has directed and choreographed youth theatre productions in New Jersey with credits including, Almost Maine, Through the Looking Glass, The Little Mermaid Jr., and Seussical. In 2018, she was an assistant teacher at the Boston Conservatory with Step by Step!, a dance program for students and children with Down Syndrome and on the Autism spectrum. She has experience teaching preschool and elementary age students with The Growing Stage Theatre and Little Learners Preschool. Samantha believes that the best artistry comes from people who are true to themselves! www.samanthabryn.com

Simone

Simone

Bio

Simone has been dancing since the age of six, performing genres including tap, jazz, ballet, and Broadway Dance. She grew up in Connecticut and began her work as a choreographer and dance teacher at Kate’s Camp for Kids, a musical theater summer camp program hosted by the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center. Her love for dance and other performance arts inspired her to become a certified Zumba Instructor and pursue a BA in Arts Management and a Master’s in Public Administration from the College of Charleston. She has become a strong advocate for high-quality arts education programs through her studies and various job positions. Simone currently works as a teaching artist for the Charleston Gaillard Center and Dance.Laugh.Learn and has experience teaching and creating choreographic works for students who range from 6 months to 20 years of age.

Maggie Saunders

Maggie Saunders

Bio

Maggie Saunders, originally from Huntington, WV, is so excited to be joining Dance Laugh Learn! In 2015, she received her BFA in Musical Theatre from Catawba College. Following graduation, she taught and performed for two years as a Resident Actor with Charleston Stage Company. Next, she went to Iowa to teach and perform with the Old Creamery Theatre for two summers. She’s so happy to be back in the low country and is excited to share the arts with its students. Favorite roles include: Tracy Turnblad (Hairspray), Annie Sullivan (The Miracle Worker), Rusty (Footloose), and Ladybug (James and the Giant Peach).

Clear Checks National Background Check 2020

Arkansas

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

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