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ABOUT

Downstage Dance is a space to build self confidence and artistry through the joy of movement. Our program is designed for both the recreational and serious dancer, with a variety of classes led by accomplished professionals.


 
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HEATHER BULONE-UMHAFER

Owner/Director

Heather Bulone-Umhafer is the owner and a co-founder of Downstage Dance. She has been teaching dance for the past 25 years. Heather has an extensive background in choreography, teaching dance to children, adults, creating successful dance performances, and has 18 years experience in managing the business side of a dance studio. She worked for several years at Long Island's top radio station WALK 97.5-FM as an Executive Assistant.  Her prior dance experience and employment includes Double G Productions, one of Long Island's premiere DJ companies, as a dancer/entertainer.  Heather earned her Bachelor of Liberal Arts in Mass Communications from Quinnipiac University, and is the proud mother of 3 children. She was recently elected to the Seaford School District's Board of Education as a Trustee.

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KRISTEN COLLINS LEE

Faculty

Kristen Collins Lee is a co-founder of Downstage Dance, a teacher, choreographer, and certified yoga instructor with a B.A. in Dance Performance from Hofstra University. Kristen's choreography has been presented at Hofstra University, The Art House (NJ), Sullivan Hall, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Movement Research, Heckscher Park, Peridance and various colleges and festivals. Most recently, Kristen returned to Hofstra University to set original choreography for Issac Rathbone’s “100 Years in 500 Days” under the direction of Cindy Rosenthal for the university's "Artistic Expressions of the Great War" conference. Kristen has served on the faculty of the Eglevsky Ballet School as a Modern Technique teacher, and helped direct and implement their successful Educational Outreach Program under the direction of Laszlo Berdo. She has also been a guest teacher at the American College Dance Festival, Birch Theater Residency, and various dance and yoga studios on Long Island. In addition to Downstage Dance, Kristen is President of the board of the Hofstra Dance Alumni Association and is an Adjunct Professor of Dance at Nassau Community College. Kristen is currently pursuing her M.F.A in Dance at Montclair State University!

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CAITLIN SHEPPARD

Faculty

Caitlin Sheppard, a northern Chicago native, received her B.A. in Dance and Management from Hofstra University. Sheppard’s choreography “Catch and Release” and “[under cover] of darkness” were chosen by Hofstra Dance faculty to be performed in the 2012 and 2013 American College Dance Festival, where they were both chosen by adjudicators to be performed in the festival's galas. Since graduating, Sheppard performed with The Moveshop, Histerika Dance Company, Keigwin Company and was a company member/artistic associate for of bones|hollye bynum. Sheppard's regional musical theater credits include a national tour for “Chuggington Live! The Great Rescue Adventure” and two productions at The Fireside; "Peter Pan" and "A Fireside Christmas". Caitlin starred as Elmo in the Sesame Street Live - Make Your Magic Tour and most recently starred as Abby Cadabby in Sesame Street Live's "Let's Party" presented by Feld Entertainment. Caitlin is also company member with Amy Marshall Dance Company (AMDC). Caitlin will reprise her roll as Elmo once again on the national tour of Sesame Street Live's "Let's Party" this fall!

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LINDA FITZPATRICK

Faculty

Linda has been dancing since the age of three and has been educating young dancers since 2005. She danced professionally for the NFL as a New York Jets Flight Crew Cheerleader and performed in front of 80,000 fans at every home game. During her 5 year career, Linda performed along side with the Broadway casts of American Idiot and Rock of Ages as well as the rock band Lifehouse and Lenny Kravitz. Linda was a featured model in 2 NFL swimsuit calendars and was selected to be one of the 26 cheerleaders for the 2008 Pro Bowl in Hawaii. She performed numerous times on several live television morning shows, and was featured in the Samsung/NFL "That's How I See It” tv commercial. Linda has a B.A in Fine Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology, is a successful interior designer and is a proud mother of 3 children.

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VICTORIA FOWLER

Faculty

Victoria Fowler is a professional dancer based in New York City and a Yoga Alliance Certified Yoga Instructor, Reiki Master and Certified Energy Healer. Upon graduating from Hofstra University with a B.A. in Dance, she was accepted into the prestigious Professional Semester at Broadway Dance Center. The choreographers she has worked with include, but are not limited to, Richard Hinds, Cat Cogliandro, Mike Esperanza, Derek Mitchell and Jared Jenkins. She has also performed with Catastrophe!Dance, KaKe Dance Company, Of Bones||Hollye Bynum, Robin Becker Dance Company, and Sosa Dance Company. Victoria currently teaches Yoga at LifeTime Athletic in Garden City and Syosset and Merrick Hot Yoga!

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CHAZZ MCBRIDE

Faculty/Photographer

Chazz Fenner-McBride is a native of Baltimore, Maryland. He began his training at The Peabody Conservatory, The Washington Ballet and The Baltimore School for the Arts. He received his BA in dance from Hofstra University in May 2010. While at Hofstra, he had the opportunity to perform works by Trisha Brown, Giada Ferrone, Nathan Trice and Maxine Steinman. Since then, he has showcased his work at Dixon Place and Jersey City's, "Your Move". In 2014, he attended Northwest Dance Projects "Launch" in Portland, Oregon. Mr. Fenner-McBride has performed for Iyun Harrison, Robin Becker Dance, and Amy Marshall Dance Company. In the Summer or 2015, he worked with 10 Hairy Legs. He is currently dancing with Lydia Johnson Dance and Eglevsky Ballet Company and is a sought after photographer.

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SANDRA KLUGE

Faculty

Sandra Kluge is a Tap Percussionist born in Bremen (Germany), based in Brooklyn (NY), and performing and teaching internationally.


She writes, records, and performs her own original music, in which Tap is the exclusive percussive instrument, both solo and with a band. Sandra is deconstructing the classic Tap vocabulary in order to be a full band member, rather than just the cherry on top.


Her performance highlights include Thomas Marek's show NOLA, the Tap Dance Days Festival, Swiss TapDays, DüsseldorfPhoto Weekend, Symphony Space, LaGuardia PAC, Judson Church, Piano's, The Duke on 42nd St, Basilica Hudson, and many more.


Sandra has been invited to teach at renowned facilities such as Tanzhaus NRW, Tap Club Cologne, and Soundspace Philadelphia, and to be a teaching artist in residence at Thomas Marek's Studio Footprints. She is currently on faculty at the American Tap Dance Foundation and Mark Morris Dance Center. In addition, Sandra teaches private lessons in person and virtually, working with students from around the world.


Her work has been featured on the Tap Love Tour Podcast, German Tap Magazine, Dance Advantage, Dance Writer Australia, and Vocalo Radio.


Sandra is the only Tap Percussionist to be an alumna of the Art Omi Music Fellowship Program and has received a commission from the International Contemporary Ensemble to create a new collaborative work in 2022/23.


She was first introduced to Tap at the age of 10 by her Mom. In the following years, she studied with greats such as Barbara Duffy, Sebastian Weber, Pia Neises, Derick Grant, and Heather Cornell, to only name a few, as well as forming a deep relationship with the art form through endless hours of historic video footage and daily self-study. She has been part of Tap City's Pre-Professional Program twice, once with Michelle Dorrance, and once with Sarah Petronio, and graduated from Daniel Luka's tap apprenticeship S.O.N.T.I. with magna cum laude.

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LINDSAY DAVIS

Faculty - Assistant Office Administrator

Lindsay Davis trained with Heather Umhafer and Kristen Collins Lee since childhood and with the illustrious Downstage Dance faculty since the studio's opening. Lindsay currently teaches, assistant teaches and is an assistant office administrator with Downstage Dance. In addition, Lindsay operates "Camp Sunshine" with Jillian D'Oro bringing a boutique day camp experience to people's backyards. Lindsay is currently enrolled at Farmingdale State College and is continuing her dance training and mentorship at Downstage Dance and Broadway Dance Center. Lindsay most recently completed Broadway Dance Center's Teacher Workshop, 3 days of training to address the specific needs of dance teachers, learn innovative methodologies and new ways to engage students.

 
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GIANNA CACACE

Faculty - Assistant Teacher

Gianna Cacace is an alumni of Downstage Dance and trained with Heather Umhafer and Kristen Lee since childhood and with our amazing faculty since the studio's opening. Gianna is an assistant teacher with Downstage Dance. She is enrolled at Hofstra University where she will continue her dance training and will continue to be mentored at Downstage!

 

FORMER FACULTY/GUEST TEACHERS

 
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Faculty

LUIZA KARNAS