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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.


 

HEATHER BULONE-UMHAFER

Co-owner/Director

Heather Bulone-Umhafer has been teaching dance for the past 25 years. She has an extensive background in choreography, teaching dance to children and adults, creating successful dance performances, and has 16 years experience in managing the business side of a dance studio.  Heather 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.

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KRISTEN COLLINS LEE

Co-owner/Director

Kristen Collins Lee is 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.

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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 recently starred as Elmo in the Sesame Street Live - Make Your Magic Tour presented by Feld Entertainment and is a company member with Amy Marshall Dance Company (AMDC).

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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 a New York based NFL team 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 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.

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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 Dance artist born in Germany, based in Brooklyn, and performing and teaching internationally. She writes, records, and performs her own original music, in which Tap is the predominant percussive instrument, both solo and with a band. Her performance highlights include Thomas Marek's show NOLA, the Tap Dance Days festival, Swiss Tap Days, Düsseldorf Photo Weekend, Symphony Space, LaGuardia PAC, Judson Church, The Duke on 42nd St, Basilica Hudson, and many more. Sandra has been invited to teach at renowned facilities such as tanzhaus nrw,  Cynthia King Dance Studio, and Soundspace Philadelphia, and to be a teaching artist in residence at Thomas Marek's Studio Footprints. She is an alumna of the Art Omi Music Fellowship Program. Sandra 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. 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.

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FORMER FACULTY/GUEST TEACHERS

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LUIZA KARNAS

Faculty

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ALEXIS ROBBINS

Faculty

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ALLISON REZZA

Faculty

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BRANDON COURNAY

Guest Choreographer

Dance Device Lab

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CAITLIN BRADY

Guest Choreographer