Renee Loucks has 16 years of dance teaching experience. She grew up competing in all styles of dance in Albany, NY, and won many awards for her solos in jazz and lyrical. While in college, Renee taught recreational and competitive classes and was a member of the nationally ranked UAlbany Dance Team. She moved to the Northern Virginia area where she coached All Star teams, a College Dance Team, and Competition Teams, including Studio of Excellence and Outstanding Technique Award Winner; Axis Dance and Acro Centre. Renee’s competitive dances won many top scoring awards, as well as Choreography and Apogee Awards. She also is the Regional Director for a preschool dance program, Little People’s Creative Workshop. Over the past year, she taught the DU competitive team technique and ballet and is so proud of their growth! She choreographs and teaches technique to the DU competitive team and is so proud of their growth! Renee is so happy to share her love of dance with her daughter, Eliana, who dances at the Branford studio. She is also blessed to announce the birth of her second daughter, Wrenley, who was born in March.
John is a Dance Unlimited alumni and has been dancing since the age of 11. During his time at Dance Unlimited, John gained a passion for hip-hop, performing in many dance competitions, musicals and festivals while also having the opportunity to serve as an intense assistant teacher to Ms. Aja Bogan Denison over the years.
John is also a college student and currently attends southern Connecticut State University, where he is studying Criminology and Criminal Justice.
John would like to thank Ms. Janet and Ms. Aja for this teaching opportunity.
Her Academy students are growing and excelling with each new year. Her competition team students have won many Overall High Score recognitions and titles this year, and she is extremely proud of their accomplishments. Erica is thrilled to have her daughter, Rosella Lisa, a part of our Dance Unlimited family and can’t wait to see her perform in her 4th recital, and her newest addition Mariella Rose will be debuting this weekend in her first Diaper Dancer’s recital. Miss Erica is so excited to see all of her students shine!
Alivia Iannucci has been dancing ever since she was young and has been a part of the Dance Unlimited Performing Company for seven years. Also in the entertainment industry, Alivia is represented by Nouveaux NY for acting, voice over work, and modeling. As of now, she is choreographing for multiple productions such as music videos and a staged Broadway concert series. Alivia graduated in 2020 from Platt Technical High School in the top of her class as an apprentice electrician. After graduation, she began training in martial arts and circus arts on various different apparatuses. “The more you analyze the different art forms, the more you realize they all connect in many different ways. I’d like to take all of the techniques I’ve learned from the multiple sports I’ve trained in and teach them to my students so they can become the best possible version of themselves as dancers and people.” Alivia hopes to continue teaching at DU for many years and to constantly grow in her craft.
Leigha Sullivan has been dancing since the age of 2 right here at Dance Unlimited and never looked back. Through her years, Leigha has become a multi genre performer, an Assistant Teacher (since the age of 10) as well as a Choreographer. Along with Dance Unlimited, Leigha has studied with some of the best in the world by attending Dean College in Massachusetts, performing and studying Jazz, Musical Theatre, Modern, Ballet, Tap, Hip-Hop, Lyrical, and Contemporary. Leigha has made her mark in the competition dance world as well by winning solo titles and overall achievements, too many to list; Duo accomplishments and notoriety as well as group accolades in every genre she entered. Breaking into the world of choreography, she has been awarded Young Choreographer awards. Leigha has been chosen to receive many dance scholarships such as $1,000 from Legacy, scholarships to Broadway Dance Center, and the NYCDA Scholarship to name a few. Leigha was honored to perform on the USS intrepid as well as Disney World, and Universal Studios as a member of the United States Dance Team. Leigha is exited to continue this new chapter of teaching and sharing her passion for dance with each of her students while she continues her dance studies in NYC.
Michelle Powell - Level-Up Instructor
Madison is a Dance Unlimited alumni and danced for 13 years. Madison has won multiple regional and national awards with her dance groups including a National Scholarship to Dean College and 2018 Senior Miss Nexstar. She attends Southern Connecticut State University for Special/ Elementary Education and is on the SCSU Dance Team. While attending school, Madison spends her days working with preschoolers in East Haven at Overbrook. Madison has taken the opportunity to be a teacher on staff at Dance Unlimited and assist Ms. Erica.
Michelle has been studying gymnastics since the age of 12 and has performed in many exhibitions. Michelle trained with the group you UJIMA, it is one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. It means collective work and responsibility; run by Reginald Wilder and Tony Williams, who were competitive gymnast on Southern Connecticut, State University‘s gymnastics team.
Michelle started her teaching career at the age of 17 and continue to teach through her college years after becoming a registered nurse.
Michelle has two daughters, Shaylice and India, who was a competitive dancer for dance unlimited for nine years, where she has made lifelong, everlasting family and friends. Michelle is currently working full-time as a registered nurse for the state of Connecticut . Michelle currently teaches the level up acrobatics class at dance unlimited. She enjoys working on acro skills with our competitive dancers, how things you improve their self-esteem and ease their minds as they perform their tricks in their dances.
She is excited about her two grandchildren, Kayden and Mila joining the DU Family.
Alivia Iannucci- Choreographer & Dance Arts Instructor
Madison Longobardi - Choreographer & Dance Arts Instructor
Stefanie is currently the Assistant Director of Special Education and Pre-K Liaison for the town of Ansonia and absolutely loves her career. She is thrilled to have her 12 year old daughter, Myrissa, as part of the DU competition team as a Junior and looks forward to many years of watching her take to the stage as she once did!
Choreographers in Residence
Janet choreographed and staged the award winning dance routine for former Miss Connecticut, Nikki Palmieri, and continually wins awards for excellence in costuming and choreography. She is a very vivacious and energetic person who shares not only her knowledge of dance with her students, but also her love of dance in every class she instructs. We are proud to announce that in both 2014 and 2016, Miss Janet won the National Teacher of the Year Award of Distinction by the judges and staff of the On Stage America National Competition. Janet has been voted on to the Board of Directors for the Connecticut Chapter of Dance Masters of America Inc. She is proud to foster and educate young dancers, models, singers and actors to pursue their dreams, as many of her students are featured on American Idol, national and international TV shows, Division I & II Dance Teams, commercials, ads, Broadway Shows (pre COVID “Dear Evan Hansen”, “Cats” and “The Bronx Tale”), and major motion pictures! Janet is proud to be voted CT’s number one dance school by Dancer Magazine and recently awarded number one Dance Studio in the New Haven Living Magazine for “Best Dance Lessons” in the Greater New Haven area. She is a certified member of Dance Masters of America, Inc., both the Connecticut and New York Chapters, Dance Teacher’s Club of Connecticut, Inc., Dance Educators of America, and More Than Just Great Dancing. She is certified by test to teach dance. We are proud to announce Janet has recently been certified as a Y.P.A.D. Instructor (Youth Protective Advocates in Dance), as well as certified the entire studio as a Y.P.A.D. Studio!
Stephanie Carchia - Choreographer & Ballet Instructor
Renee Loucks - Ballet Instructor - Jumps & Turns Instructor
Lauryn Bryant started dancing at the early age of 2 years old here at Dance Unlimited. As a member of the competition team, her passion for dance grew. In high school, continuing at the studio, she also attended Cooperative Arts High School where she majored and continued her dance studies. She also became a member of the Hamden High Dance Team for all four years becoming captain her Senior year. After graduating from high school, Lauryn attended the University of Connecticut where for the first two years of her time there, she was a member of the UConn Dance Team and served on the Leadership Committee. While in college, she also worked as an instructor with Universal Dance Alliance where she traveled across the East Coast teaching and training young high school dancers as well as working as a freelance choreographer. Today, Lauryn Bryant has returned back to DU as a substitute teacher and choreographer. Lauryn is trained in the styles of jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hip-hop, modern, Afro-Caribbean, pom, and kickline. Lauryn would like to wish Dance Unlimited a Happy 40th Anniversary!
Angie Santamorena - Tap Instructor
Alyssa started dancing at the young age of 3. She joined the Rising Star Performing Company at age 10 and the Dance Unlimited Elite Company at the age of 11. She started assisting classes at the age of eight and started teaching her own classes last year. Alyssa has performed many dances and has won numerous awards with her groups over the years. Alyssa is a graduate of Wilcox Technical High School where she studied and got her CNA. She is first aid, CPR, and AED certified. She graduated in the top 10 of her class and now attends Quinnipiac University where she is a health science major and hopes to continue on the physical therapy path.
Choreographers in Residence
Nicole began dancing at age 9 winning many awards and titles. She attended Dean College where she was a member of the Dean Dance Company as well as the Dean Musical Theater Company studying under Joan Paladdino, Jean Wenzel and Jill Silverman. She has been teaching dance and acrobatics since age 16 and has many award winning students under her belt. Nicole has been on staff at DU since 2006. She is the Acrobatics instructor as well as Academy Dance Instructor in our Branford studio.
We are also proud to announce that Nicole has recently been certified as a Y.P.A.D. Instructor (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance)
You’ve probably met her husband Paul and her son Xander volunteering at our recital. Her daughter Andie is an alumni of the award winning Dance Unlimited Performing Company.
Andie has been dancing for as along as she could walk. She has been a part of the Dance Unlimited Performing Company since age 6 and has been an assistant to her mom in acrobatics and dance classes for many years. She has performed in many competitions, festivals and dance shows.
Andie is a graduate of Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School where she was a dance major. During her time at Co-op, she has taken class with many influential teachers including classes at The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She was also inducted into the National Honor Society of Dance Arts. This fall, Andie attends Albertus Magnus College where she has been awarded the Devaney Scholarship. She is majoring in Sports Communications.
Congratulations to Andie on her acceptance into MegaHurtz Entertainment Crew. There are a goal based company where they strive to be different from their choreography to their teaching aspects. They are driven by movement, music and their passion for dance.
Nicole Rivera - Acrobatics & Dance Arts Instructor
Miss Karen attended The Connecticut Conservatory in New Milford, CT to receive the majority of her early dance training. She continued her higher level of study at Broadway Dance Center in NYC, concentrating in Classical Ballet and Pointe. Karen has also had the honor and privilege of attending classes conducted by the legendary Master Teacher David Howard of The Royal Ballet at Ballet Academy East in Manhattan. She has choreographed and performed in numerous productions, including venues such as The Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield, CT and the Bushnell Theater in Hartford, CT. Karen enjoys continuing her dance education training by attending various workshops, conventions, seminars and online programs, thus enabling her to share with her students the enrichment from fellow instructors from around the world. Karen’s teaching style incorporates both Vaganova and Cecchetti techniques with Balanchine influences. She earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Medical Technology from Western CT State University with a Minor in Chemistry and has received training in the sciences of Anatomy and Physiology. Karen is extremely honored to be able to continue Dance Unlimited‘s exceptional Ballet training and spearhead their program.
Jennifer Pollio has been a member of the Dance Unlimited family since she was 2 years old, winning numerous awards and high scores while here at Dance Unlimited. She has become a vital part of Dance Unlimited where she is our Assistant Director. We are proud to announce Jennifer has recently been certified as a Y.P.A.D. Instructor (Youth Protective Advocates in Dance.) Jennifer was Assistant Choreographer for Sacred Heart Academy’s “West Side Story”, “Singin’ In the Rain” , and “The Little Mermaid”. She was also the NCAA Elite Eight Choreographer. Jennifer is a well-known choreographer in the competition world and, again this year, was recognized for her choreographic excellence for her routines. Jennifer was awarded three National Choreography Achievements and continues to be recognized for her choreography each year at the Regional Level as well. Jennifer is also our Jazz Technician and Lyric/Modern Expert and loves to bring new ideas and choreography into our classrooms. Jennifer loves spending time with our youngest performing group in our Hamden studio, the Darlin’s, who had an amazing year of competition. Jennifer is extremely proud of all her hard-working, exceptional competition students.
John Alston - Hip Hop Instructor
Ms. Stephanie started dancing when she was 2 and has passed down her love to her daughters. Stephanie has taught ballet for more than 11 years and relies on expertise gained while studying and performing for New Haven Ballet, Hartford Ballet, Festival Ballet Providence, Ballet Regent, and Joffrey Ballet. When she is not teaching, Stephanie works as a licensed practical nurse.
Ms. Stephanie is so excited to see her two daughters, Ava and Cora perform!
Karen Laham - Ballet Department Head
Andie Rivera - Hip-Hop & Dance Arts Instructor
Angie trained at Seven Star School Performance Arts Collective Dance Company for 15 years and has competed at the regional, national and international levels. She has performed tap routines choreographed by Anthony Morigerato, Mike Minery, Jillian McNamara, Ryan Maw, Nicole Aravena, Bill Coates, and Alicia Monaco.
She is a member of the USA Tap Team and has represented the USA, winning a gold medal in 2017 and bronze in 2019. She has been selected for the past 3 years as a soloist and will be competing again this year in Reisa, Germany. Angie will be pursuing a degree at Western Connecticut State University next Fall.
Stefanie Savo has been a part of Dance Unlimited since 1982 at the age of three and was one of Janet’s first students. Over the years, Stefanie has competed in New York City and all over Connecticut. Stefanie thanks Miss Janet for the opportunity to come home to DU and teach. Stefanie competed in many Miss Charm and Hemisphere pageants while at Dance Unlimited and won the Miss Hemisphere crown back in 1991. Stefanie also took part in a commercial which was shot in New Haven in 1990 called “Kids Count” as a back-up dancer.
She then went on to Sacred Heart Academy where she was part of the cheerleading squad which won nationals her Junior and Senior years. In 1995 while at Sacred Heart Academy, Stefanie had a lead dancing role in their play Showboat which was choreographed by Janet and held at the Shubert theater in New Haven. In 2015, Stefanie competed in the Mrs. Connecticut Pageant held at Foxwoods and thanks all of her DU family for being there to cheer her on and for Miss Janet’s help and guidance! She walked away with the “Miss Congeniality” Award and plans to compete for the title again.
Stefanie Gambardella Savo - Star Leader Liaison & Dance Arts
Born in New Haven, CT, Aja started dancing at the age of 4. At age 16 she traveled to NYC to attend schools such as Manhattan Motions and Broadway Dance Center. With her New York style training and artistic choreography Aja choreographed combinations of hip-hop and jazz performances all over the East Coast.
Aja landed a project choreographing for Latin recording artist XIO for “Borinquen” Video on Univision. She then toured with XIO along the East Coast and Puerto Rico. Aja performed with Brenda K. Star at the New York Congress in 2001. She then went on to perform for recording artist Usher in his album promotional performance in Atlanta, GA.
Aja has performed at several venues including the January 2008 Presidential Inaugural Ball celebration at the Omni Hotel and the MGM Grand opening at Foxwoods Casino. She continues her work with Dance Unlimited as our Hip-Hop Instructor as well as choreograph for their National Dance Competitions. She is a mom of two beautiful daughters who dance with Dance Unlimited as well. Aja is a member of Dance Masters of America-CT Chapter and is a certified dance instructor. Aja is now a certified Personal Trainer and owner of Let’s Get It, Fitness - Nutrition Life Coaching Program! We are also proud to announce that Aja has recently been certified as a Y.P.A.D. Instructor (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance)
Aja Bogan Dennison - Hip Hop Department Head
Alayna Ann Ricciardelli - Tap Dept. Head & Costume Designer
Jennifer Pollio - Assistant Director
Alayna Ann Ricciardelli has been a member of the Dance Unlimited family since the age of 2, competing and performing since the age of 5 all across New England for nine years, winning awards for her tap excellence, costume designs and charismatic stage presence.
Alayna is our Tap Teacher on staff, choreographing our Competitive Team tap routines. She also volunteers her time and devotion to the Sons of Italy organization as well as St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital Fundraising events. We are proud to announce that Alayna has recently been certified as a Y.P.A.D. Instructor (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance)
Alayna has choreographed several award-winning routines for competition working side by side with the famous Anthony Morgierato, well known tap choreographer on “So You Think You Can Dance.” She has also designed many of the beautiful costumes you will see in this program that wIn several costume awards every season! Alayna wants to congratulate all her students for their awards in tap excellence this season
Erica Martone Corso - Branford Director
Erica Martone Corso has been involved in dancing and pageants since the age of one. She began helping her Mom (Miss Janet) teach at the mere age of 7. Erica has won over 40 crowns for both Pageants and Dance Titles and also numerous accolades with her groups throughout her years of dance. Erica is now a certified member of Dance Masters of America, CT Chapter, as well as the Dance Teachers Club of CT. She is certified by test to teach! Erica is currently on staff as a Special Ed Teacher in Middletown. We are proud to announce that Erica has recently been certified as a Y.P.A.D. Instructor (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance)
Erica has been the Dance Director and Instructor of the Silver Sands Beach Club Summer Camp as well as the JCC Camp and also performed on ESPN National TV as a member of the Elite Eight Dance Team. Erica’s highlight of her performing career was dancing with Starpower’s “Power Pak Dancers” at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Erica had the privilege of traveling to Salerno, Italy to teach Master Classes at Centro Danza II for their Summer Intensive and was offered a spot on their prestigious faculty for 2023.
Erica is very excited about teaching and directing in our state-of-the-art, TV monitored classroom studio located at 246 Main Street in the Richlinn’s Plaza, Branford where they are celebrating their 14th season of Dance.
Janet Gambardella Bracale has been the director of Dance Unlimited since its opening in April, 1982. She is well known as an International Choreographer and Performer as well as a Teacher. She had the privilege of traveling to Salerno, Italy in 2019 to teach Master Classes at Centro Danza II for their Summer Intensive and was offered a spot on their prestigious faculty for 2022. Janet Marie has staged and choreographed routines for several organizations and schools, including “Carousel“, “Showboat“, “Singin’ In the Rain”, “West Side Story”, “The Little Mermaid”, “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and “Leader of the Pack” for Sacred Heart Academy where she was nominated for six years in a row for “Best Choreography” by the Halo Awards as well as the Connecticut High School Musical Theatre Awards. Janet has also staged and choreographed “Oklahoma“ for Quinnipiac College and is proud to announce she was the Choreographer for “Peter Pan” for Sacred Heart Academy this past fall held at the historic Shubert Theater. Her dance “Warrior Girls” won a Halo Award for Best Specialty Group. Janet was the NCAA’s Elite Eight Dance Team Choreographer. She judges both dance competitions and cheerleading competitions in the New England Area and Nationally. She also had the honor of being a judge for The Miss Connecticut Scholarship Pageant Program. Janet is the official dance judge for Connecticut PTA’s Reflections Program.
Our Founder & Director - Janet Gambardella Bracale
Leigha Sullivan - Choreographer & Dance Arts Instructor
Alyssa Handy - Hip Hop & Dance Arts Instructor
Adrianna Celeste Bracale has been a part of the Dance Unlimited family since the age of 2. Adrianna began assisting dance classes at the mere age of 10 and has grown to be one of our most beloved Teachers on Staff. Dancing for the past 19 years, Adrianna has been a part of our Performing Company winning many awards throughout the New England area including Miss Sportswear and Miss Photogenic several times.
Highlights of Adrianna’s dance career include being chosen to be a member of the United States Dance Team where she had the privilege of performing at the prestigious Madison Square Garden during half time for the New York Knicks basketball team; and also performing on an outdoor stage on the famous Shubert Ally in New York City.
We are also proud to announce that Adrianna has recently been certified as a Y.P.A.D. Instructor (Youth Protection Advocates in Dance)
Adrianna Bracale - Academy & Rising Star Coordinator
Lauryn Bryant - Jazz Technique - Jumps & Turns Instructor
Where Confidence Takes