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 Julia Boynton, Christien Polos, Diane Arvanedes, Tommy Neblet, Denise Collins, and Pam Smith, (whose classes she still enjoys). While touring Europe she attended classes in Dublin and Copenhagen. She has taught dance at The Governor’s Academy for nearly 20 years, and also directs Joppa Teen at The Dance Place. She covers many styles, including Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Modern, Contemporary, Latin, African, Hip Hop and more. She helped develop Joppa Dance Company as a premier youth dance troupe for students ranging from 4th to 12th grade. In addition to dance Ms. Dubus has a passion for theater. She has appeared in dozens of plays, including equity productions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Hello Dolly! 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 continues to study locally, in Boston, and New York whenever she can, usually at Luigi’s Jazz Centre. She continues to perform and choreograph regularly with Exit in addition to acting and directing and writing for theater. She hopes to encourage artists young and old to explore beyond the traditional techniques, to find what makes them feel passionate about creating, 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 with their three children.
Jennifer Steeves, Studio Manager (Jazz-Hiphop/Contemporary/Leaps,Turns/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)
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.
Greg Coles (African, Latin)
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 troops, 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. Because he enjoys dancing with beginners, Greg was asked to teach Latin dance classes for beginners in Boston. Later he was asked to teach in Gloucester; and, when he and his wife, Martha, moved to Marblehead in 2001, Greg started a series of North Shore dance and drum programs designed to teach young people and beginner to professionals adults African and Latin dance and drum. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Donna Roaf (Luigi Style Jazz)
Donna started dancing as a teenager, finding the Luigi technique early on. She studied it under Irene Weiss, a Luigi purist, for twenty years, and began to teach at The Dance Place when Weiss first opened the studio in 1984. In 1986 Donna went on to study and teach at Luigi's Jazz Centre in New York. She has taught at The Dance Place since her return in 1993.
Cheryl Fisher (Jazz/Contemporary/Joppa Dance Co. Director)
A founding member of Exit Dance Theatre, Cheryl began her dance career in 1980 at Bradford College, graduating with a BA in Humanities. As a member of the Bradford College Dance Co., she trained with Irene Weiss, Kathryn Mickel, Luigi, Adrienne Hawkins and Christina Polos. She also studied polish laboratory theatre and Grotowski acting technique with Stephen Haley. In 1987 she co-founded Exit. She then began a 2-year certificate program in Laban Movement Analysis and Post-Jungian psychology in New York City and came back with a certificate in Movement Analysis and Psychology. Cheryl is a Nationally Certified Licensed Massage Therapist with a private practice called Body by Fisher Therapeutic Massage in Newburyport.
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.
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.