Instructors

Fontaine Dollas Dubus, Owner/Director

Fontaine began teaching at The Dance Place soon after Irene Weiss established it in 1984. She majored in the Arts at Bradford College then went on to The Art Institute of Boston to study illustration. She taught and studied dance while at art school, taking classes in various styles, concentrating on the Luigi Technique with Weiss. She also studied with Luigi, Francis Roach, Christien Polos, Diane Arvanites, Tommy Neblet, Denise Collins, Julia Boynton, and Pam Smith. While touring Europe she attended classes in Dublin and Copenhagen. She has taught dance at The Governor’s Academy for nearly 25 years, and also directs Joppa Teen at The Dance Place. She covers many styles, including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Hip Hop and more. In addition to dance Ms. Dubus has a passion for theater and has appeared in many plays, most often with Theater in the Open. In 1987 she co-founded Exit Dance Theatre, a modern dance company based in Newburyport. Exit performs locally, in Boston and the North Shore. In 1994 Exit performed her piece, Kristallnacht at the Auschwitz Museum in Poland. She hopes to encourage artists young and old to explore beyond the traditional techniques, to find what makes them feel passionate about creating and moving, no matter what form it’s in. That is the philosophy of her studio, The Dance Place. Fontaine is married to author, Andre Dubus III and lives in Newbury, MA.

Jennifer Steeves, Studio Manager (Jazz-Hiphop/Contemporary/Ballet/Joppa Dance Co. Director)

Jen grew up and trained in Calgary, Alberta Canada. During her studio years she competed in many dance competitions in Western Canada. While she was in college she was a professional cheerleader for the Calgary Stampeders which is part of the Canadian Football League (CFL). She received a BA in Dance from the University of Calgary. After graduation Jen danced professionally for Carnival Cruise Lines in their main production shows. Jen has been teaching locally for the past 10 years and began teaching for the Dance Place in Newburyport in 2008. She has danced locally with both Forty Steps Dance and Green Glass Dance Companies and is a current member of Exit Dance Theatre.

 

Susan Atwood (Ballet/Lyrical/Luigi Jazz)

Susan is a co-founder of Exit Dance Theatre. She began dancing in early childhood and has studied with numerous inspiring teachers. Over the years, she has performed and choreographed in many venues and companies including Karlins and Company and TurnPike Project. She has also been teaching throughout the area and directed the dance program at Governor's Academy in Byfield, MA from 1994 until 2003. She is currently back teaching at The Dance Place, Newburyport, MA and has a busy practice in Newburyport in Asian Bodywork and Craniosacral Therapy.

 

Julie Pike Edmond (Creative/Dance Mix)

Julie began her academic pursuits in Dance Education and Performance at Columbia College in Chicago and completed her BFA at Bradford College. Upon graduation, Julie immersed herself in the Greater Boston dance community and has had the pleasure of performing with Brian Crabtree, Caitlin Corbett Dance Company, Exit Dance Theatre, Karen Murphy-Fitch, Nicola Hawkins and WeberDance. Julie currently performs with EgoArt Inc. In 2003, Julie founded the TurnPike Project, an experimental contemporary dance company, and has since shown her work in Cambridge, Newburyport, and New York City. Julie teaches ballet, creative movement, modern and jazz at The Dance Place in Newburyport, MA and The Ipswich Moving Company Dance School in Ipswich, MA.  She also runs an independent Shiatsu, Craniosacral, and Reiki practice where she works on humans and pets alike.

 

Jennifer Berube Grinnings (Tap/Jazz-Hiphop)

Jennifer began her study of dance at the age of four. She trained under the direction of Miss Helen Deane and Miss Cynthia Marnik at the Deane School of Dance in Salem, MA for 18 years. She has appeared in numerous performances with the Salem Ballet Company sharing the stage with such distinguished artists as Frank Ohman of the NYC Ballet as well as Laura Young, Tony Cantazaro and Stephanie Moi of the Boston Ballet. She taught dance for Dance Exclusive in Swampscott, MA both prior to and after college. During college she studied ballet under the direction of dance veteran Franco Jelincic. After taking a break to start a family here in Newburyport, she is very excited about teaching and dancing again.

Nicole Francois (Luigi Style Jazz)

Nicole considers herself fortunate to have taught for and with LUIGI in his studio @ 62nd @ Broadway for 8 wonderful years. She also taught his technique at Broadway Dance Center for 7 years. “He is my mentor and I strongly believe in his technique. She has been at The Dance Place since 2002.

Tracey Kimball (Zumba/Barre)

Dance and fitness have been a part of Tracey's life since the age of four. With a background in competitive baton twirling and modern, ballet and jazz dance, Tracey has always made fitness and movement classes a part of her life and relishes the opportunity to inspire and encourage others to enjoy its many benefits. A certified group fitness instructor and personal trainer for over a decade, Tracey holds certifications from the American Fitness Association of America, Les Mills International, Resist-a-Ball, Balletone, Zumba, and the American Aerobic Association International. Tracey is also a certified mat pilates instructor through AAAI and has completed Level 1 mat and equipment (reformer, cadillac, barrels) based pilates through STOTT PILATES. Tracey enjoys helping individuals find their inner dancer through her Zumba and Barre classes.

Greg Coles (African)

Between his sophomore and junior years in high school Greg spent a summer on scholarship at the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater School in New York and returned in the spring to study with, among others, Pearl Lang of the original Martha Graham Company. From his learning at the Ailey school and at Taft, Greg choreographed a production for which he won the school’s award for the Most Outstanding Independent Studies Project. Greg continued his dance career throughout college (Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT) where he studied technique, movement analysis, kinesiology, anatomy, choreography and instruction. Combining dance with his academic aspirations, Greg continued his dance training in African and Latin dance and drum during his graduate work in Boston (Harvard Business School, Boston, MA). Greg studied with every African and Latin instructor in the Cambridge and Boston areas about everyday for over five years. He performed as a member of professional dance troupes, dance teams, and performance companies; and, assisted with the instruction of Latin dance classes. Greg eventually developed his own style (blending that of his most recent instructors and past learning) and kept to the authentic patterns through his on-going study of the history of both African and Latin Dance. He has traveled to Mali, West Africa, to Costa Rica, to Puerto Rico and plans to visit the Dominican Republic and Cuba. Greg currently teaches Street Latin Dance classes for course credit at Salem State College. He offers public classes in Newburyport, Rowley, Beverly, Peabody, Salem and Marblehead and offers private instruction to individuals, small groups and couples at his home studio in Marblehead. He regularly hosts private and public parties either at his home or at his clients’ locations and hosts weekly dance parties at Rockafellas in Salem.

Former, Substitute, and Seasonal Instructors:

Pam Smith (Ballet/Modern/Pointe)

Pam began her training in Ballet at the age of three. She has studied at the Joffrey School of Ballet and with the members and directors of the Royal Ballet and The Pennsylvania Ballet. She trained in Modern Dance with company members and directors of the Graham, Cunningham, Paul Taylor, Dan Wagoner, Viola Farber and Twyla Tharp dance companies. Pam has performed in both ballet and modern concerts in New York City, Washington D.C., and throughout New England, including concerts with her own company. She is a recipient of an Individual Artist Grant from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts. She appeared in the casts of James Lapines’ off-Broadway productions of Twelve Dreams and his Obie Award wining play, Photograph. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Pam has taught at Albertus Magnus College, has been an artist in residence at the University of Bridgeport and has been a faculty member at Bradford College. She has been Department Head of Dance at Interarts and at the Education Center for the Arts, high schools for the Performing Arts in Connecticut. She also headed the dance department at the Center for Creative Youth, a summer residency program at Wesleyan University for high school students talented in the arts. In Los Angeles, she was the head of the children’s school at Stanley Holden’s Dance Center. Locally she has taught at Ballet New England and The Dance Place in Newburyport and has been a guest teacher and choreographer for many studios in the North Shore area, as well as at Phillips Exeter Academy.

April MacDonald (Zumba)- April has been teaching Zumba at The Dance Place since 2012. She has developed a large and devoted following due to her creative choreography incorporating Latin and pop music and dance styles. She has an extremely upbeat approach and celebrates students mastering new moves, and achieving fitness goals. She has been inspired by how students use the positive effects of dancing to battle illness, and has been moved by stories of how skills and strength gained in class have empowered students to grow stronger in other areas of their lives. Her class philosophy is all about moving and smiling, and getting results that reach beyond just the physical. 

Victoria Grinnings (Ballet/Pointe/Modern)

Victoria has studied a wide range of techniques from her pre-professional ballet training at the Walnut Hill School for the Arts to her comprehensive modern technique  from the School of Theater and Dance at James Madison University, where she has just obtained her BA in Dance. She has been lucky enough to study with some of the most up and coming choreographers not only in the United States but also in the UK and Europe. This includes Kyle Abraham, Julie Nakagawa, Luke Birch, Thomas McManus, Doug Varone, the DASH Ensemble, Riley Watts, Anne Marie Holmes, Levi Marsman, Ryan Corriston, Cynthis Thompson, Ruben Garaciani, Denise Lewis, Micheal Owen, Diane Arvanities, and Tommy Neblett. She has worked and performed with the Abraham in Motion Company, Danceworks Chicago, DASH, the Trinity Laban Center in London England, as well as Student Dance Concerts at JMU.

Elisa Kennedy (Contemporary/Modern/Lyrical/Dance Mix)

Elisa got an early start at The Dance Place in Newburyport, MA. She recently graduated from Connecticut College with a B.A in Dance and American Studies. While at Conn, Elisa studied numerous styles of dance including modern, post-modern, ballet, and contemporary. She has worked with and performed in pieces choreographed by faculty members David Dorfman, Heidi Henderson, Lisa Race, and Ellie Goudie-Averill, in addition to master classes with companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem, BalletX, David Dorfman Dance, and former Cunningham dancers Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Riener. In early 2020, Elisa performed in New York City, debuting a piece choreographed by a Conn graduate. While in college, she choreographed multiple Dance Club pieces and performed in several senior projects. As the culmination of her dance major this past semester, Elisa choreographed “Home Before Dark” for her Senior Capstone project. She has worked as an administrative intern for David Dorfman Dance and a tech intern at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth, and plans to pursue a career in arts administration while continuing her love for teaching.