Photo of Donna Tellier

DONNA TELLIER, Executive Director

Donna is the Founder and Director of J-DAPA. She has studied tap, jazz, lyrical, ballet, acro, hip hop, and ballroom, starting at the age of 8 years old. Donna comes from a large family and her love of dance and acting often proved too great of an expense for her parents. Because of this, she was often forced to quit her performance classes as a child. Donna vowed that one day she would offer affordable dance classes so that children with family financial hardships would have the opportunity to experience the art of dance, singing, and acting. Donna has studied with Theresa Landry, Fran Golombiewski, Jeremy Anderson, Elaine Colenieri as well as many master classes from various artists over the years. When she isn’t teaching dance she enjoys directing and doing choreography for J-DAPA’s musical plays.

Photo of Aubrey Tellier

AUBREY TELLIER, Executive Administrator

Aubrey is a Johnston Senior High School Alumna who recently graduated with a bachelor’s degree in IT with a concentration in Software Development from Southern New Hampshire University. She has been involved with J-DAPA since its start and is the designer of our official logos! Aubrey runs our Instagram and other social media, oversees the J-DAPA website along with Matthew, sets up all ticketing through Tututix, and is the face behind most of the responses to emails, messages and other forms of customer service. She is also responsible for all of our video and audio editing as well as the graphic design of J-DAPA’s signs, playbills, and other promotional materials.

Teachers

Photo of Brieanna Tellier

BRIEANNA TELLIER

Brieanna is a jazz, tap, acro, lyrical, and hip hop teacher as well as the choreographer for J-DAPA’s musical productions. She has been dancing for over 25 years. Brieanna began as a dance teacher’s assistant around the age of 8 before moving on to take over her own classes around age 14. Brieanna is a graduate of Johnston Senior High School and holds a bachelor’s degree from Rhode Island College in Elementary and Special Education. When she isn’t teaching or performing with J-DAPA you can find Brieanna working as a competition choreographer and elementary school teacher in Johnston, RI.

Photo of Holly Crider

HOLLY CRIDER

Holly has been dancing for over 30 years.  She has studied several styles of dance including Ballet technique, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Ballroom and Acrobatics.  At an early age she discovered this was a passion that she wanted to share with anyone who was interested.  Holly has performed semi-professionally on variety of cruise ships, in Disney, and various places around the country including Las Vegas.  She also credits her resume with performing with the Edwards Twins.  She is certified through Dance and Gym USA.  Holly has been teaching for over 10 years, sharing her knowledge and passion for the arts. 

Photo of Sarah Johnson

SARAH JOHNSON

Sarah is a senior at Rhode Island College, majoring in Dance Performance and minoring in Creative Writing. She has been dancing for 12 years, studying lyrical, modern, jazz, ballet, pointe, hip hop, and tap. Throughout the years she has worked with choreographers such as Adrienne Hawkins, Rennie Harris, David Dorfman, and Jenn Blosil. She has choreographed multiple pieces for companies such as Franklin School for the Performing Arts, Dance to Save, and Rhode Island College Dance Company. 

Photo of Jess Lee

JESS LEE

Jess has an extensive dance and musical theatre background and is excited to bring her experience and skills to J-DAPA! She has been performing since she was 4 years old, receiving intensive training in musical theatre, jazz, ballet, tap, modern, and hip hop. As a graduate of Wagner College’s Musical Theatre Performance program with a concentration in Dance, Jess has trained in choreography, partnering and musical theatre styles, including those of Bob Fosse, Jerome Robbins, Susan Stroman, and Jerry Mitchell. Jess performed in regional musical theatre productions and with Floorwork Dance Company, transitioning to teaching in New York in 2014.

KRISTEN MACTAVISH

Kristen has been a lifelong Providence resident where she began her dance education at the age of 3 under the great Donna Carter, Susan Messier and Hope Specht, totaling 18 years of training. Kristen has many years of experience teaching dance, ranging from her own dance school, Step by Step Dance + Fitness (1998 – 2006) as well as teaching cheerleading, school programs and other prestigious dance academies throughout RI and MA. These include Carolyn Dutra School of Dance, New England Dance Academy, Dancing Spirit, Tracie Ciccone Performing Arts, Denise Dance & Exercise, Warwick Dance & Gymnastics, Dance unlimited, Susans School of Dance, Theresa Landry’s School of Dance, RI Gymnastics Village and now J-DAPA! Kristen teaches all forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and acrobatics. Her strength lies in acrobatics, contortion, strength and flexibility and holds a fun, energetic class that challenges students! Kristen puts a lot of emphasis into alignment and technique, ensuring that students have both a fun and educational experience in her class. 

Photo of Norma-Jean Pirri

NORMA-JEAN PIRRI

Norma-Jean has been Tap Dancing since 1967. She was trained by Elaine Colaneri (the queen of Tap in RI) for most of her years. Norma-Jean studied the Henry LeTang Tap Technique extensively through Carousel Dance Studio and The Center for the Arts (Modern Jazz Dance Company) with a concentration on technique, placement and timing. She attended Master Classes with some of the great ones including Henry LeTang, Savion Glover and Diane Walker. Norma-Jean performed as part of an Adult Tap Dance Team for various showcases and events throughout RI, MA, and CT. 

“The rhythm is in the silence between the steps”

Photo of Kyle Weaver

KYLE WEAVER

Kyle is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a degree in Music. He has been teaching hip hop professionally throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts since 2004. Over the years he has coached hundreds of students that have gone to regional and national competitions, and Kyle’s choreography and his dancers have won many top awards including the Young Choreography award in 2005 at ADA, as well as numerous 1st and 2nd place highest overall score awards regionally and nationally. Kyle enjoys guest teaching master classes and dance intensives and is currently teaching hip hop at several studios where he shares his passion, unique perspective and intricate style with many aspiring dancers, teachers, and choreographers.

Behind the Scenes

Photo of Matthew Eisemann

MATTHEW EISEMANN, Technical Director

Matt is a Communication and Computer Science major at Rhode Island College. In addition to performing with J-DAPA since 2016, Matt took over the company web site in 2018 and has served as lighting designer for J-DAPA’s productions of Beauty and the Beast and Shrek as well as both dance recitals in 2019.

Support Staff

Photo for Marla Tellier, Mascot

MARLA TELLIER, Mascot

Marla is J-DAPA’s doggy mascot! She is a ten-year-old Standard Poodle. When she isn’t spending time at the new studio, Marla loves playing fetch and frisbee!

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