About Our Instructors
Bay Ridge Ballet's world-class, skilled instructors are highly qualified with extensive training and experience. Coming from diverse backgrounds, our faculty gives a well-rounded dance education that inspires students to achieve their maximum performance level and reach their goals.
Click on the links below to learn more about our amazing faculty!
Read about BRB and our Founding Director Patricia Foster-Grado HERE!
Originally from Oklahoma City, OK, Brianna received her B.F.A in Dance from the University of Oklahoma and additionally trained with Alonzo Kong’s LINES Ballet, Oklahoma Arts Institute, and the Lula Washington Dance Theater.
She has performed with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company II, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, General Mischief Dance Theater, and Dzul Dance among others. She has performed works by Alvin Ailey, Martha Graham, Darrell Grand Moultrie, Milton Myers, Christopher Huggins, and Mark Dendy. As a choreographer, she has presented work through Jennifer Muller's The Hatch series, Ballet Inc., ModArts’ Collective Thread, and Awaken Dance Theater.
In addition to performing and choreographing, Brianna is a certified IM=X Pilates trainer, has served as rehearsal assistant for former Ailey dancer Andre Tyson, and participated in the 2019 New York Fashion Week as a runway model for Melange Movement.
VALERIE E. BALOGA
Valerie E. Baloga is a tap dancer based in Brooklyn, NY. She comes from Pennsylvania where she was a tap dance student and performer under the direction of Nicole Hockenberry.
For more than a decade Valerie has been studying tap dance in New York City and has had the great pleasure of working and performing with tap dancers from around the world, most notably with Germaine Salsberg’s Les Femmes.
In addition being on faculty at BRB, Valerie is an instructor at The School at Mark Morris Dance Center. Other teaching credits include Spoke the Hub in Park Slope and various community outreach residencies in Brooklyn public schools.
Erik Barragan was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador and is a now local Bay Ridge parent with inspiring musical talent! Mr. Erik has been singing and playing music for children since 2010. Erik has studied guitar with many talented teachers in NYC and loves playing for both children and adults.
Check out Mr. Erik on his YouTube channel "Hello Hello Mr. Erik" and then join us in class for some fun!
Erik is looking forward to bringing his talent and service to the neighborhood through Bay Ridge Ballet. His class "Move and Groove with Mr. Erik" offers babies and toddlers, along with their grown-up, a chance to dance, shake and learn different Spanish words each week!
WINSTON DYNAMITE BROWN
Winston Dynamite Brown, Dancer/Teacher/Choreographer. Dynamite is honored to be a current member of the Camille A. Brown & Dancers Fire Shut up in My Bones, The Met Opera 2021. A native of Kansas City Missouri, he began his dance journey at The Smith Sisters Dance Studio which led him to the Missouri State Ballet, The University of Missouri Kansas City (BFA in dance recipient), as well as the Center Dance under the mentorship/tutelage of Mr. Tyrone Aiken. Along this versatile creative path, Dynamite has participated in numerous intensive programs such as Kansas City Ballet, Alonzo King’s pre-professional, The Ailey School summer intensive (three-time fellowship recipient), as well as the inaugural recipient of the Lorna Strassler scholarship at the Jacobs Pillow (ballet & modern program).
He is currently creating and producing classes/series, workshops, new works and repertoire for The DynamitExperience; a dance experience he co-created and co-directs with his wife Latra Ann Wilson. As a professional, Dynamite has had the pleasure of sharing creative space with companies such as Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Co., Deeply Rooted Productions, Albany Berkshire Ballet, The Metropolitan Opera, TU Dance, CorbinDances, Irish modern Dance Theatre (IMDT), Ben Munisteri Dance projects, Taylor 2, and most recently Dance Heginbotham, Owen/Cox Dance Group, Pilobolus, Sean CurranCo., Opera Theater St. Louis, Kyle Abraham/A.I.M, and Stephanie Batten Bland Co. In addition to concert dance Dynamite has been fortunate to participate in 2015 27th annual “Gypsy of the year” & “Easter Bonnet” 2016 choreographed by Ray Mercer for The Broadway Cares Fundraisers.
Throughout his career, Dynamite has taught extensively for schools and institutions both domestic and international as an teaching artist, most recently KC Ballet school (MO), Le Dance Studio (MO), American Ballet Theater (NYC), Ballet Arts (NYC), Manhattan Movement Arts Center (Manhattan Youth Ballet), Bay Ridge Ballet (NYC), The Joffrey Ballet School (NYC) & contemporary /jazz (NYC), Ailey Camp (MO,KS,NJ,NY) and The Ailey School (NYC). Dynamite has begun to explore more choreographic endeavors, so far producing works for his own company TheDynamitExperience as well as Wylliams/Henry Contemporary Dance Co., UMKC, Kansas City Ballet, Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey, Joffrey summer intensive, Brooklyn Arts High School, The Ailey School (BFA, Certificate, Junior ,PPAS divisions & extension), to name a few.
Dynamite is grateful for his journey thus far and recognizes he would not be where and who he is without the continued and generous support of Friends and Family. “Nothing to prove, only to share.”
Stephen Campanella received his training at Princeton Ballet School, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s graduate program and the San Francisco Ballet School summer intensive.
He has danced numerous soloist and principal roles with American Repertory Ballet, New York Theatre Ballet, and Dances Patrelle, where he has performed classic works by Arpino, Ashton, Limon, de Mille, Petipa, and Tudor, as well as by choreographers including Mary Barton, Gemma Bond, Patrick Corbin, Philip Jerry, Douglas Martin, Steven Melendez, Francis Patrelle, Kirk Peterson, and Pam Tanowitz.
He has taught at Princeton Ballet School, Covenant Ballet, and The Dance Conservatory in Westchester, and is an ABT Certified Teacher in Primary through Level 7 of the ABT National Training Curriculum. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Rutgers College with a B.A. in history and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Olivia Duffy holds a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a minor in Biology from Marymount Manhattan College. As a native New Yorker, she began her ballet training at The Staten Island Ballet and went on to study at The Rock School, Joffrey Ballet School, Alto Jonio Dance in Italy and with Gelsey Kirkland.
In addition to working with children as both a ballet teacher and academic tutor, Olivia has the joy of performing with various dance companies in the New York City area including Staten Island Ballet, Victoria Ballet Theater, and Yuka Kawazu’s Danse en L’air.
Olivia is absolutely thrilled to be on the Bay Ridge Ballet team!
Lorena Jaramillo is a Brooklyn based dance and teaching artist. Born in Mexico City, she began her classical ballet studies under the Royal Academy of Dance curriculum. She later moved to the United States to earn her undergraduate degree in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College under the direction of Katie Langan, where she graduated with a gold key in Dance Studies.
She is currently in her third season with dance-theater collective Sydnie L Mosely Dances, Queens-based contemporary dance company Nicole Kadar and Dancers, and is in constant collaboration with Harlem based artist Reza Farkhondeh, dancing in his pieces "Obscure and Back" and "Dancing on Paper". She has performed at the Clark Theater in Lincoln Center, The Brooklyn Children's Museum and the Queensboro Dance Festival and performed works by Jenn Freeman, Nancy Lushington, Anthony Ferro and Annie Doss. In addition to Bay Ridge Ballet, Lorena is Teaching Artist with Amanda Selwyn’s Notes in Motion.
Lorena is an advocate for arts accessibility and education which has led her to teach and perform with various activist organizations in the US and Latin America. She sees dance as an embodied practice of joy!
Jessica Lee is a dance artist, educator, and arts administrator based in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. She grew up studying ballet at Connecticut Dance School in Fairfield, Connecticut and holds a BA in Dance and Environmental Studies from Middlebury College.
Jessica is currently a Creative Partner with dance-theatre collective Sydnie L. Mosley Dances (SLMDances) and teaches creative movement and modern dance to 4 – 14-year-olds at BAX | Brooklyn Arts Exchange. She is an Arts and Production Organizer with PURPOSE Productions and works closely with Paloma McGregor on the Angela’s Pulse Team. Additionally, Jessica is the Co-Director of The Sable Project, an alternative off-grid summer artist residency in Vermont.
Her artistic work and teaching practice are grounded in rigorous play, fueled by the joy of movement, and dedicated to inclusive community building.
A New Hampshire native, Monica is currently the resident jazz teacher for the Joffrey Dance Academy and the elective dance teacher at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn, NY. From 2015-2017 she worked at The Nancy DeBenedittis Elementary School in Corona, Queens, where she designed and implemented a dance curriculum and shared her love of dance with children in grades K-5.
Through her unique experiences in the studio and now in the public school sector, she has become an arts advocate in NYC shedding light on the importance and impact of arts education, and is a true believer that learning in, through and about dance enriches education, working and life itself.
A 2007 dance performance (ballet/jazz) graduate of Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts (Pittsburgh, PA), Monica received her Masters in Arts Education at Hunter College, as part of the Lincoln Center Scholars Program (2017).
You can catch Monica in BRB's Nutcracker performances, in addition to sharing her expertise in Jazz Technique with our school!
Hanna Oldsman trained in the Vaganova method at the Kirov Academy of Ballet in Washington, D.C. and with Natalya Stavro in New York City. She has performed with several companies in New York, including the Staten Island Ballet, Julia Bengtsson Dance, Victoria Ballet Theater, Mooney Cooley Dance, and Danse En L'air, dancing both contemporary repertory and classical ballets such as Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Flames of Paris, and Le Corsaire.
Hanna also holds a BA summa cum laude from Barnard College in English literature and has received the Bolshoi Ballet Academy Teacher Certificate.
Teaching children across the NYC area, Hanna loves to inspire young dancers to move.
Sara Perez started dancing at the age of 3 in Plano, Texas. Perez in well versed in classical and contemporary Ballet, Modern and Jazz.
Perez has studied under the masters behind Joffrey San Antonio and Paul Taylor New York. Graduating from the University of Oklahoma, she received a BFA in Ballet Pedagogy and moved to NYC in 2011.
Since moving to New York City she has danced with Exit 12 Dance Company and Community Dance Project. In addition to dance companies Perez has choreographed and danced in several music videos by TV On The Radio, Tiny Victories, Sun Sheds and Sannhet.
Perez teaches private Ballet lessons to all ages and all levels around the city and is thrilled to be on BRB's faculty!
LaToya began her ballet training in her hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana. LaToya has been a student at many prestigious dance schools including Pittsburgh Youth Ballet, North Carolina School of the Arts, Dance Theater of Harlem and The Ailey School, where she received the the Judith Jamison Fellowship. Studying at these schools has given LaToya the privilege of studying under and dancing for dance greats such as Melissa Hayden, Gelsey Kirkland, Arthur Mitchell, Ronald K. Brown and Judith Jamison. Since finishing her training, LaToya has gone on to perform on stage as well as on television. She has been a featured dancer on Live! With Regis and Kelly and the MTV Video Music Awards. She has danced with Contemporary Ballet Theater and Genesis Dance Company. She has also had the opportunity to dance as a guest artist in roles for ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Firebird, Gaite Parisienne, The Nutcracker, Giselle and more.
LaToya has been on staff and guest teacher at numerous dance schools including Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet, Theater School of Dance and Santa Clarita Ballet, Los Angeles Ballet Academy and the Dance Teacher Web Live teachers’ conference every year in Las Vegas. She is currently a staff member of D’Valda and Sirico Dance and Music Centre in Fairfield, CT under the direction of Angela D’Valda Sirico and Steve Sirico (founders of Dance Teacher Web) and is the Ballet Department director at Dance Impressions in Union, NJ. She holds a certification in Ballet Teaching and Registered Teaching status with the Royal Academy of Dance (London, England).
TARA LYNNE STEELE
Tara Lynn Steele or Ms. TL, hailing from Marietta, GA is a passionate mover of all styles. Dance is her chosen language—and she is always eager to share wiggles with the next generation.
A proud graduate of The University of Alabama (double major in Musical Theatre & Dance) - Ms. TL says roll tide! After school she traveled the world on a cruise ship and then moved to the big Apple. She has danced on stages far and wide—across the states and as far as Shanghai, China!
Collaboration and Creativity are driving forces in all that she does, and she is excited to share the joyous art of dance with BRB!
MEGGI SWEENEY SMITH
Meggi Sweeney Smith, from Carrollton, MO, has premiered as a solo artist on a national and international level for companies such as the New York Baroque Dance Company, Cohen/Suzeau, and CorbinDances. In addition to performing with the Sokolow Dance/Theater Ensemble, and Kazuko Hirabayashi Dance Theater, she has also performed works by Wally Cardona, Douglas Dunn, Doris Humphrey, Eleanor King, José Limón, Kate Skarpetowska, Ernestine Stodelle, and more.
Her interest in modern dance and historic work began during her BFA in dance and minor in music, which she received from the University of Kansas with highest honors. She completed her MA in Dance Education from NYU Steinhardt developing her thesis Teaching Artistry Through Historic Modern Forms of Dance: Humphrey, Limón, and Sokolow.
Meggi currently teaches as an adjunct professor at NYU and with the Limón4Kids program in the public schools around NYC. As a guest teacher/performer she has worked at the New York State Summer School of the Arts (NYSSSA), Chamber Music Society at Lincoln Center and the NYC Philharmonic.
Meggi also works as a consultant/choreographer in the field of historic Baroque dance with groups such as NYU Tish, Amazing Grace the musical and Yale Repertory Theater. Her research has been presented at the National Dance Education Organization and as a contributor on Dancetime Publications’ Dance Culture Editorial.
Evy Vaughan is a dancer, singer, actress, choreographer, and teacher originally from the San Francisco Bay Area. Evy received her training at Pace University in New York City, graduating from the Pforzheimer Honors College summa cum laude with her BFA in Commercial Dance and a minor in Biology.
Ms. Evy has performed regionally in productions of West Side Story and Tarzan, and danced for AIDA Cruises in Germany. Additionally, Evy is certified in Personal Training (NASM) and aspires to hold a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Ms. Evy's classes are fun and challenging, emphasizing technique, body awareness and story-telling.
Kat Wildish is a New York City master ballet and pointe technique teacher for students of all ages & levels. She currently teaches at Pace University, Peridance Capezio Center, Gibney Dance and Harlem School of The Arts.
She performed with New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, and numerous international companies including Zurich Ballet, Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and The Eglevsky Ballet (under artistic director Edward Villella).
Learn more about master teacher Kat Wildish at katwildish.com!