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.

Madeline Calandrillo

Bio

Madeline Calandrillo is a is a New York based actor and teaching artist. Madeline is passionate about using theater as a tool to build community and enliven education. As a teaching artist, she works to create opportunities that inspire young people to reach their highest potential in devising and performing theater. She has been teaching for various organizations/non profits such as the New York City Children’s Theater, The McCarter Theatre NJ, Hartford Performs Ct, The George Street Playhouse NJ, and The Johnny Mercer Foundation Programs at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

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

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!

Aeisha Reese

Bio

Aeisha is a native “Flintstone,” born and raised in Flint, MI. She studied at The Moscow Art Theatre School (MXAT) during the summer of 2012, and received her B.F.A in acting at Wayne State University (Detroit,MI).

Upon graduating, she moved to New York City and became a member of Fusha Dance Company, a Brooklyn based African dance company centered on Congolese dance styles. The company has toured in Europe and New England.

Through Bob Cline C.S.A, Aeisha toured with Busch Gardens as a lead singer, and has had other Off Broadway appearances, including original work at The Director’s Studio.

Aeisha believes that the arts is a tool to educate people of all ages. “It’s the very tool that unifies the entire human race.” Watching people LIVE is what brings her joy. Aeisha is an active member of her church, The Rock Church, based on the performing arts. She strives to be a Light wherever she goes, inspiring others to see the Light inside of them.

-John 8:12

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.

Lauren Sion

Bio

Dancing since the age of four, Lauren has been performing, choreographing, and teaching extensively throughout the tri-state area for over ten years. She received her BA in Dance from Muhlenberg College in 2008 with Magna Cum Laude Honors, having trained in various styles and techniques such as ballet, pointe, jazz, lyrical, modern, contemporary, hip hop, and tap. Lauren has taught in an array of diverse settings for over 10 years and has danced and performed professionally with DanceLink, coEXISTdance Company, FireRock Productions, Eng and Friends Dance Company, hersouldances modern dance project, Serendipity Dance Ensemble, Annex Dance Company, Morgan Chambers (Pink Hair Affair), REXDANCE, Jenkintown Dance Company, danceETHOS Performance Company, ContempraDance Theatre Company, and Underground DanceWorks.

Currently she is balancing teaching, continuing education and professional dance projects. Lauren is thrilled to be a part of the Dance.Laugh.Learn family!

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 has been teaching Musical Theatre and Drama Classes with the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Academy of the Arts for the past 6 years. In that time she has been involved in nearly 50 productions or camps! She has also performed in several musicals with the Fort Smith Little Theatre – her favorite role being “Glinda” in “The Wizard of Oz!” Shannon graduated with her B.A. in Theatre from Centenary College of Shreveport, LA in 2010. She is now attending NYU to earn her Masters in Theatre Education with an emphasis in Colleges and Communities. Besides Dance Laugh Learn, she is also a teaching artist through Fresh Theatre Arts. 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!

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!

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