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; 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

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

jessica-dyer

Jessica Dyer

Bio

Jessica is thrilled to join the Dance. Laugh. Learn team! She is originally from Ohio where she received her Bachelors in Music Theatre at Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory. Since landing in the Big Apple, Jessica has performed Off-Broadway, with Disney Cruise Lines, with the national tour of CIRQUE DREAMS, and on international tour with HAIR as Sheila Franklin. For the past 2 years she has dedicated her time to becoming a teaching artist across all 5 buros within New York City Public Schools and beyond. In the fall, Jessica will begin her Master’s in Applied Theatre with CUNY to further her education as a teaching artist.

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!

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!

Hanna Leigh

Bio

Hanna Leigh was most recently seen as Ary in PL Productions “Sleigh Ride Around the World”. Favorite previous credits include The Sound of Music (Starlight Theatre), Cinderella (Fireside Theatre), Cats (Tobys Dinner Theatre) and Cabaret at Ailey Center. She has trained with Washington Ballet School and The Rock School. Hanna has taught and choreographed throughout the mid atlantic and is now thrilled to be apart of the team at Dance Laugh Learn.

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

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.

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.

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.

South Carolina

Lara Swallen

Lara Swallen

Bio

Lara is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy. She is a member of the Village Repertory Company’s Acting Ensemble and appeared in their Xanadu (Kira), Marvelous Wonderettes (Cindy Lou), Winter Wonderettes (Cindy Lou), One Man Two Guvnors (Pauline), London Wall (Miss Hooper), Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Hallie), Spamalot, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, and Ring of Fire. She also choreographed their Spamalot and The Wild Party, for which she won a Theatre Charleston Award. Lara is also a member of Charleston Stage’s Acting Company and performed in their Hairspray (Velma Von Tussle), Young Frankenstein, Mary Poppins, Catch Me if You Can, 9 to 5, Sister Act, Legally Blonde, Cabaret, and Joseph. Some of her other performances include Christine in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Footlight), Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker(Footlight), Charity in Sweet Charity (Flowertown), Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie(Threshold), Lily St. Regis in Annie (Charleston Music Hall), Princess Winifred in Once Upon a Mattress(D.C.’s Lazy Susan), and the original Angela Normellino in Perfectly Normel People (Footlight, Threshold, NY International Fringe Festival) for which she won a Theatre Charleston Award. Lara has taught musical theatre and dance for ages 2-17 since 2011.

Javaron Conyers

Javaron Conyers

Bio

Javaron Conyers is a graduate from the College of Charleston with a B.A. in Theatre for Youth. He caught the performance bug at 10 years old when he played the role of Baloo the Bear in The Jungle Book. His passion for teaching came about when he was a Teaching Assistant for a drama 2 class during his senior year of highschool. Some of his most recent theatre credits include Mama Mia (Charleston Stage) We are Proud To Present (Pure Theatre), Singin’ In The Rain (Footlight Players), RENT (College of Charleston), White Christmas (Charleston Stage), Hairspray (Charleston Stage), Rocky-Horror Picture Show (College of Charleston), and Guys and Dolls (Catawba College). He is excited to spread his joy of teaching with Dance.Laugh.Learn!

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.

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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