Faculty

Olivia Mode-Cater graduated summa cum laude from Mason Gross School of the Arts and received her Ed.M. in Dance Education at the Rutgers Graduate School Education.  Olivia Mode is a versatile dancer, choreographer, and singer based out of New Jersey.  She currently is signed to Sony Red Label as part of an up and coming girl band called Retro Glam (@retroglamband).  The group is featured on “Hunnids” the newest release from legendary hip hop artist Doc Ice of Whodini & UTFO.  Retro Glam’s next release is in collaboration with two-time Grammy nominated artist Skee-Lo.  Olivia is one of the choreographers for Retro Glam and has performed in various music videos for such artists as Doc Ice and Timeflies. Olivia also has experience in musical theater.  This past May she played Mrs. Woods in an off-Broadway production of “Legally Blonde.”  Her other regional theater credits include “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” “The Producers,” “Sweet Charity,” and “Singin’ in the Rain.” She is a company member of the modern dance group, Connolly & Co., and performed with the company at the Reverb Festival in Boston, Dixon’s Place in New York City, and Grounds for Sculpture in Trenton, NJ.  Lastly, Olivia is a passionate dance educator who has worked in NJ public schools for 3 years, started her own dance program, and designed her own curriculum.

Brandon Cournay is originally from Detroit, MI and is currently the Rehearsal Director of KEIGWIN + COMPANY.  Brandon has danced in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and with companies such as, the New York Theatre Ballet, The Chase Brock Experience, Company XIV, Morphoses, The Metropolitan Opera Ballet and the Mark Morris Dance Group.  TV credits include: Musical Chairs (HBO), commercials for Puma, Sesame Street, and Target, and PBS’ Great Performances “L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato” with the Mark Morris Dance Group. Brandon’s enthusiasm for dance also expands off the stage.  He is an award-winning choreographer and a sought after master teacher, he has worked with numerous universities, the Miss America Organization, and the Pennsylvania Ballet. Brandon received his BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School.

Claudia Cutler received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rio de Janeiro in 1986. Claudia has advanced and extensive skills in teaching ballet.  In Claudia’s earlier teaching years, after coming to the States from Brazil, she had a school in New York City and held a faculty position in the dance department of Oakland University, Michigan.  Claudia later moved on in life to live with her husband and children in Glenridge, where she still resides.  From this location, Claudia has held a position as a ballet teacher at New Jersey Ballet, contributed to the development of the ballet curriculum at Washington Rock Dance, and established and directed the Fort Lee High School dance department.

Emily Funicello, from Laurel Springs, NJ, earned an Ed.M. in Dance Education from Rutgers University and a B.F.A. in Dance from Mason Gross School of the Arts, graduating summa cum laude. She holds a PK-12 Teaching Certification with Advanced Standing from the NJ Department of Education. Emily is a Teaching Artist for The Dance Theatre of Harlem and has previously worked as a Teaching Artist for 10 Hairy Legs Dance Company. She has been a member of Zella Dance since 2013. Emily has performed at venues including The Kennedy Center, NJPAC, Ailey Citigroup Theater, Paramount Theater (Boston), and Dixon Place. She is an American Ballet Theatre Certified Teacher in Pre-primary through Level Three of the ABT National Training Curriculum.

Danella Lasinski is an alumna of Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. She has been the recipient of the Turner Prize Award for Choreography and has twice received a scholarship to the Nikolais/Louis Dance Theater Lab in NYC, to study with Murray Louis. Ms. Lasinski has traveled to Europe and South America performing and teaching Master Classes in Modern Dance and Theater Technique. She has performed in numerous Festivals throughout the United States as well as the Hungarian American Dance Festival in Hungary and the Nueva Tendencias Festival in Santiago, Chile. It was in Santiago that she received the honorable “Best Actress Award” for her performance in “The Shaft”. Ms. Lasinski has worked with very talented and diverse choreographers. She has been the Dance Director at various schools throughout New Jersey and Southern California and is the founder and artistic director of the Dance Out Loud Performing Arts Camp. Ms. Lasinski has worked with the Irvine Arts Council in California to help students in grades K-12, unleash their artistic talents and create a forum that allows them to show their artistry. She has concentrated on working with young children through a variety of movement approaches and techniques that she has developed for the past 15 years. She continues to advocate for quality Arts Education in all forms and capacities. Ms. Lasinski is honored to have worked with Cleo Mack and CMDP since 1997.

Tamara Marrow  began her career as a dancer for the New York Knicks, dancing and choreographing for thousands of fans in Madison Square Garden. Tamara has done several music videos, international and national tours, award shows, and feature films. Dancing with artist such as Missy Elliot, P Diddy, Toni Braxton, Whitney Houston, Tweet, Ludacris, Pharell, and Gwen Stephani to name a few. For the past five years she has toured over 79 countries with platinum artist Sean Paul.

Dan Mitra is primarily a tap dancer native to Woodstock Valley, CT. Since he has started tap dancing at a young age he has received awards such as the American Tap Dance Foundation’s Tap Future Award, youngARTS silver finalist, and one of two dancers selected to perform at the Kennedy Center as Presidential Scholars in the Arts in 2009. Shows Dan has been in are Joseph Webb’s “Beautiful Fire”, Henry St. Theatre’s “Urban Nutcracker,” Omar Edward’s “Passion of Tap”, in works by Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards in “On Tap at Summerstage,” the film “Black Nativity,” and is a member of Jason Samuel Smith’s A.C.G.I. Most recently Dan has performed in the “Jazz at Lincoln Center Gala,” performing choreography by Jared Grimes. In terms of teaching Dan Mitra is on faculty at Peridance and Mark Morris and is a Guest Teacher at Broadway Dance Center.

Christina Petrilli received her high school dance training at Dance Express. In college, she was co-captain of the Marywood Dance Team and graduated from Marywood University with a BFA and a minor in dance. In 2008, Chrissy received her MA in Fine Art Education from Kean University and is currently an elementary art teacher. In addition to teaching the younger students at Dance Express, Chrissy also practices and teaches Nia, a sensory-based movement that draws from martial arts, dance arts and healing arts.

Kat Sauma began training with Cleo Mack in the Washington Rock Modern Company, working closely in later years with the Cleo Mack Dance Project. Receiving her BFA in Dance from The Ohio State University, Kat won 2nd Place in Art & Architecture at the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum for her Senior Thesis work. While living in Berlin, Germany, she danced for Marcela Giesche and held internships with Sasha Waltz & Guests and Isabelle Schad. She spent a month in Denmark teaching dance and performing, while collaborating on a dance film by Ann Sofie Clemmensen. She has performed works by Bebe Miller, Noa Zuk & Ohad Fishof (Batsheva Dance Company), Jimmy Ortiz (Costa Rica), Dante Brown, Owen David and received extended improvisational study with Angie Hauser & Chris Aiken. This past year, Kat was trained with the National Dance Institute and taught in Columbus City Public Schools at the fourth grade level. She self-produced an evening length, site-specific work in Columbus, OH in March 2015 with the inception of her company Kat Sauma|Assembled Hearts.

Nikki Theroux received her BFA in Dance from Marymount Manhattan College in 2014, graduating magna cum laude. Throughout her career, she has been able to perform the works of Mike Esperanza, Max Stone, Elena Comendador, Nancy Lushington, Sabatino Verlezza, Anthony Ferro, Amanda Reichert, and Rachel Hettinger. Nikki dances for Mersiha Mesihovic/CircuitDebris as well as N Squared Dance and also serves as a video editor for Kate Weare Dance Company. Nikki has danced in film projects with Hollye Bynum’s Of Bones Dance as well as with Derrick Belcham. In addition, Nikki produces her own work and was recently awarded “Director’s Choice” at Spoke the Hub’s Winter Follies and has presented at Steps Beyond/REVERBdance Performance Lab, Peridance Capezio Center’s Student Showcase, and as part of the Moving Beauty Series. Nikki works in the children’s programs at The School at Peridance and Broadway Dance Center, and teaches a variety of ages throughout the tri-state area.

Becky Visintainer recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with her BFA in Dance Performance from Mason Gross School for the Arts at Rutgers University. During her studies at Mason Gross, Becky traveled abroad to expanded her movement studies at the Trinity Laban Conservatorie of Music and Dance in London, UK. While at Mason Gross and Trinity Laban, Becky has had the opportunity to perform works by many accomplished choreographers, such as Keith Thompson, John Evans, Bojana Cvejić and Christine De Smedt, Lizzi Kew-Ross, Valerie Preston-Dunlop, Kim Gibilisco, and David Parker. Currently, Becky is completing her final year of the Masters in Dance Education program at Rutgers University.