Hip Hop, Choreography
Becky is mainly a self-taught dancer. She took classes in Tap and Jazz at a young age, but soon discovered her love for Hip Hop over the years. She received some Hip Hop training from Terpsichore in Pittsfield, MA, and expanded on her own from there. Her first experience with choreography came at the age of 15 with The Berkshire Theatre Group's presentation of Romance, Soul and Rock & Roll at The Colonial Theater in Pittsfield, MA. She remained with this group until 2007, and it was here that she discovered her true passion not only for Hip Hop dance, but for dance in general. She graduated with a B.A. in English/Communications from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. After graduation, Becky worked at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival and taught weekly Hip Hop workshops to the Pillow interns. Since September 2011 Becky has worked at Berkshire Dance Theatre as a Hip Hop instructor and currently as the Co-Director. Since starting with BDT, Becky has choreographed a Flash Mob and presented numerous other pieces of choreography at the world renowned MASS MoCA in North Adams, MA and Jacob's Pillow in Becket, MA. She is also a co-founder of a community dance crew called dysFUNKcrew. They've performed at numerous community events in Berkshire County, including MASS MoCA, Tanglewood, the Colonial Theatre and the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, NY. She recently traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to teach underprivileged youth for International Dance Exchange (I.D.e) with her husband, Jamal.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Jamal did not grow up as a dancer. Lacking athleticism and a desire to play sports as a child, he gravitated towards his academic studies, cartoons and comics, video games, and weightlifting. During his youth, he was always around music and music lovers and was picked on for having bad music taste and no rhythm. However, all of that changed when You Got Served was released in theaters. Jamal loved the dancing in the movie so much that he wanted to learn. His last year of high school was spent in the dance studio as opposed to the weight room and when he eventually went to college at MCLA, he spent all of his free time teaching himself different styles and techniques. His exposure to dance movies such as Breakin’, Step Up 2, and Planet B-boy alongside MTV’s America’s Best Dance Crew really impacted his personal trajectory. At MCLA, he worked his way from being a general member to becoming a two-time MCLA Dance Company Co-President and even met his wife, Miss Becky, who he accredits with teaching him both how to choreograph and how to teach. After earning his undergrad degree, Jamal did not want to give up dancing and started sharing his passion with the BDT community. Since then, he has taught at several different studios and even co-founded dysFUNKcrew alongside other MCLA Dance Company alumni. He has come to enjoy teaching so much that he has become an High School teacher at Taconic High School in Pittsfield, MA, and is currently pursuing an M.Ed. at MCLA for secondary education.
Ballet, Jazz, Pointe, Tap
Stacey began dancing at the age of 3 at the Isabelle’s School of Dance in Schodack, NY, and began dancing competitively in tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, and ballet with the school at 6 years of age. Stacey later joined The Albany Berkshire Ballet to focus on her ballet training. She began teaching tap at The Cantarella School of Dance and The Albany Berkshire Ballet when she was 16, while touring with their company’s production of “The Nutcracker”. Throughout her career, Stacey has trained under dancers from the New York City Ballet through her attendance at the New York State Summer School for the Arts, and work with the Radio City Rockettes. She has also performed with the Burklyn Ballet Theatre. Stacey began teaching for Berkshire Dance Theatre in the summer of 2011, and teaches tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, and children’s classes.
Children’s Program, Hip Hop
Erica has been dancing since she was three with Berkshire Dance Theatre and later with Happy Feet School of Dance. She continued to dance until she was 21. She took a break from dancing; got married and started a family. Not long after she had her second child, she accepted a dance coach position at Mount Anthony Union High School. She has been coaching the Varsity Dance team for 10 years now. While Erica is mainly self-taught dancer, she has attended multiple dance intensives and trainings. Erica graduated with B.A. in Business Management and works full-time at the corporate office for Orvis. She lives in Bennington with her family. This is Erica’s first year at BDT teaching Hip Hop and Children’s classes. She is excited to be a part of the BDT faculty!
Bollywood and BollyX
Gina believes we are all inherently dancers, and enjoys working with people of varied levels, ages and abilities. She began dancing at age 3 with Gerry Burke in Leominster, Massachusetts. In high school, Gina discovered a passion for classical Indian dance, studying Odissi style and various folk traditions for more than 10 years with guru Ranjanaa Devi and performing with Nataraj Performing Arts based in Hadley, MA. Gina's background in dance also includes jazz, modern, tap, ballet, flamenco, Middle Eastern, lindy-hop, and yoga. Gina began choreographing while in college at Boston University, where she performed semi-classical and Bollywood fusion pieces with BU's Indian Students Association and Dance Theatre Group (DTG). Gina has taught at Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education in Cambridge, NY since 2008 and frequently leads master classes around the region. She has been a certified BollyX instructor since 2016, serves as a delegate for National Dance Week Foundation, holds degrees in Childhood Education and Television/Film Studies from Boston University, has taught in the US and the UK, and has performed throughout the Northeast. She is thrilled to join the faculty of Berkshire Dance Theater in Fall 2018.
Children's and Adult Programming
Kayla began dancing at the age of 4 at The Dance Project in Queens, NY beginning with tap, jazz, modern and lyrical. It wasn't until high school when she began to take hip hop classes as well as choreograph for her high school theatre productions. Kayla considers her favorite dance style to be "lyrical hip hop," a style coined by the show "So You Think You Can Dance." She decided this style fit best for her love to choreograph pieces that take audiences through a story or theme. Kayla went to Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) and wanted to continue dancing for fun. It was fellow BDT faculty member, Mr. Jamal, who convinced her to go to MCLA's Dance Company auditions her first semester. After that, there wasn't a semester that went by that Kayla was not dancing in three or more pieces or choreographing. Her senior year, she was Co-President of the company with Miss Amanda! Since graduating, Kayla works in the Office of Admission at MCLA recruiting new students to her alma mater. Kayla is also a co founder of a community dance crew called dysFUNKcrew. Along with other BDT faculty, dysFUNKcrew travels locally to perform at community events. She is excited to begin teaching at Berkshire Dance Theatre in Fall 2019!
Ballet, Pointe, Lyrical, Adult Progrmaming
Bethany started dancing at the age of 3 at Amiees Academy in Connecticut learning ballet, jazz, hip hop, and lyrical. She was on her High Schools competition team where she competed in Pom and Hip Hop. She later joined Children’s Studio of Performing Arts her junior year of High School learning ballet, pointe, and jazz. When she attended MCLA she joined Dance Company where she fell in love with choreographing. Bethany has never once taken a break from dance and does not plan too, she continues to learn and teach her self new skills to improve on her dancing and to teach others.
Children's Programming, Ballet, Jazz, Tap
Ashley holds a Master's Degree in Education from Western New England University and is licensed by the state of Massachusetts to teach dance in public schools. She began dancing at Berkshire Dance Theatre at the age of five but was too scared to go onstage and perform until she was seven! She continued studying with BDT under the direction of Susan Hakes and took classes at other local studios throughout her school years. During her undergraduate years at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA), Ashley continued dancing and began choreographing while she was president of MCLA Dance Company. Her dance studies have led her to classes and performances with Marilyn Cavallari (Manchester Ballet), Stefan Harris and Dianne Walker. Professionally, Ashley has taught at local studios for many years and had the amazing opportunity to create and implement the Dance curriculum at Hoosac Valley Middle and High School. After taking a few years off to be with her children she is elated to be dancing again!
Children's Programming, Choreography, Lyrical, Jazz, Tap,
Amanda started teaching at BDT in the Fall of 2015. She began dancing at age 4, but her dance career really started when she was in third grade at Planet Dance in West Milford, NJ. Through the 8 years she was apart of the studio she took jazz, tap, ballet, modern, lyrical, hip hop, and pointe. She was part of the Planet Dance Eclipse Dance Company. This company performed monthly throughout the year at different venues, were the leaders and role models representing the studio, and were honored to perform the opening and closing numbers in the end of the year recital similar to BDT's company. Amanda was also selected as one of the first dance assistants for Planet Dance. In high school Amanda made the West Milford High School Dance Team that competed in the area and in the UDA Nationals down in Florida each year. In 2006 she was a part of the team that won the NJCDCA Dance State Championship in the Varsity Jazz category. Her junior year of high school her family moved back to Dalton, MA where she continued dancing at the Dalton Ballet Studio until graduation in 2008. She then attended Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts where she joined the Dance Company and started teaching and choreographing. She choreographed 5 semesters, was elected treasurer and then co-president her senior year. She graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration in 2012 and has continued dancing and choreographing with the MCLA alumni dance group dysFUNKcrew.
Children's Programming, Jazz, Tap, Musical Theater
Kristi is a graduate from The Boston Conservatory of Music with a BFA in dance. In addition, Kristi has studied under the tutelage of Madame Darvash, Frank Hatchett, Jeanette Neill, Sandy Hagen(Luigi) and Charles Kelley. Her professional performing career has provided her the opportunity of not only touring the United States, but also throughout Europe. Notable credits include, Cats, Mamma Mia, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, 42nd Street, and Anything Goes. She has also choreographed many local school productions including The Wizard of Oz, The Addams Family, Oliver!, Lion King Jr., Shrek Jr., Bye Bye Birdie Jr., and You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown. She has also worked privately with students throughout the Bennington area. Kristi has lived with her family in Bennington for 11 years and is very happy to be back on faculty at BDT.
Ballet, Jazz, Modern
Christa has been engaged in dance consistently for 19 years; nearly 13 of which included instruction at Berkshire Dance Theatre where she also served as a Central Cast member, teaching assistant, and volunteer. A senior at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and minor in dance in collaboration with Williams College, she served as a dancer and performer with CoDA (Contemporary Dance Ensemble) at Williams College. In addition to BDT, Christa has studied at four other dance studios, engaged in master-level classes and intensives with Moscow Ballet’s Natalya Getman, New York City Ballet’s Jenifer Ringer, and dance courses both at MCLA and Williams College. She recently instructed her third summer musical/theater/dance camp at a another dance studio where she also taught ballet, was a substitute teacher, office assistant, and backstage volunteer. Her arts background also encompasses several years of music, theatre and studio arts, each of which have won her multiple awards and scholarships. Christa is a Drury Drama Team alumna nationally recognized Thespian as well the first student in the history of the high school to have choreographed a musical. Additionally, in 2016, she was commissioned to choreograph dance for Hoosac Valley High School's spring musical, “Gypsy." Christa has been cast over the years in several lead roles at Drury, Barrington Stage Company and Mill City Productions. A lover of all dance genres, Christa mostly enjoys Limón modern technique. She is delighted to have come full circle with the BDT.