Nancy Hayden, “The Teacher’s Teacher”
Ms. Hayden, certified to teach through rigorous exams by New York State and Dance Educators of America, has taught over 10,000 students in her 40-year career. Many of Ms. Hayden’s students have gone on to open their own studios across the country, from coast to coast, perpetuating the practices, lessons and teaching theories instilled in them by Ms. Hayden to their own students - earning her the title, “The Teacher’s Teacher”.
Nancy began her training with dance legends: Gus Giordano, Frank Hatchett, Debbie Dee, Charles Kelly, Luigi, Gregory Hines, Phil Black and Karen Herbert to name a few. Throughout her own teaching career, Nancy continues to study and stay abreast with advancements and dance trends (while creating many of her own) to provide her students with a dance education that is always current, fresh and up-to-date in an ever-changing art form. Her studio has been named in the Top 50 Nationally by Dance Spirit magazine.
As a well-respected teacher and choreographer Ms. Hayden is in demand to judge many well-known national dance competitions including Starpower, Onstage America and Starmaker. Her students have held numerous National titles and her choreography for dance production has consistently won Highest Overall Scores from the youngest competitors to Pro-Am. She has also been a choreographer for the Miss Long Island Beauty Pageant.
Her student’s professional credits include numerous Broadway shows over the years from Cats, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, to Gypsy! as well as cast members of off-Broadway musicals. The professional ballet world is also graced with many of Ms. Hayden’s students including the Joffrey Ballet.
Ms. Hayden’s students have worked with artists, including Sia, in music videos; worked and danced at Radio City Music Hall, Disneyland, Disney World, Carnegie Hall; appeared in regional and national commercials and have appeared on the cover of Seventeen Magazine. In addition, her students have appeared in movies and have been cast members of popular television shows including Law and Order.
The NFL and NBA have also benefitted from Ms. Hayden’s teaching. Her students dance on many of the professional dance teams as well as being captains of college team dance squads. Her students have earned dance scholarships at local and New York State colleges as well as those across the country.
Although Ms. Hayden has had immeasurable successes and accolades in her career, her theory and philosophy remains the same: “Whether reaching for a professional career or dancing for recreation, my goal is always consistent. I want all my students to not only advance in dance art skills and have fun doing it but, more importantly, gain confidence in themselves, develop positive self-esteem, learn that successes come from failures and anything is possible if you believe in yourself and consistently work towards your goals whatever they may be”.
Carol Peretz began her ballet training as a child with Sylvia Umlas at the National Academy of Dance. She credits Ms. Umlas with giving her a lifelong love of the art of dance.
Her training continued at the School of American Ballet, and at the Thomas-Fallis School/New York School of Ballet under Richard Thomas and Barbara Fallis. She studied under Oleg Briansky as well. She studied Character dance for several years, and Flamenco with Gloria Marino and Antonio Alba.
At 16, Carol was awarded a Casey Grant to choreograph a full length classical ballet for a professional company, just one of several ballets she choreographed and produced while dancing and performing with regional Long Island and New York area companies. The ballet, Contrapunta, choreographed to the Brandenburg Concerto #1 by J.S. Bach, was produced and performed at Eisenhower Park with dancers from The Joffrey Ballet.
She then took a twenty-year break from dancing to attend The Parsons School of Design, and to concentrate on a fashion design career. Today she is regarded as one of the important dress designers currently working in the U.S…But her love of ballet pulled her back into the dance studio after the twenty-year hiatus.
Originally trained in the Cecchetti technique and the Balanchine style, she later studied the Vaganova technique. Returning to classical ballet as an older adult gives her a unique perspective as to what an adult ballet student experiences. She understands the body's limitations and how to overcome them and how to build strength, beauty, and technique. Her classes are a fusion of the Vaganova and Cecchetti techniques. She equally enjoys teaching adults and children, passing her love of ballet on to others, seeing their personal satisfaction as they progress, learning the most challenging but beautiful of the performing arts.
In 2017 Carol completed the final of three levels of teaching certification by the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Moscow, Russia, and is a Bolshoi Ballet Academy Certified Teacher.
Began her dance training at the age of 2 at NDF. She continues to train with the finest teachers in the world today. Haley has had the honor of taking classes with Brian Friedman, Mia Michaels, Laurieann Gibson, Whitney Carson, Megz Alfonso, Adam Gericke, Marlena Wolfe, Travis Breen and many more.
Haley has performed across the country. Her performance credits include Disneyland, Knott's Berry Farms,Disney World and Wild Woods Convention Center to name a few. She can also be seen as a costume model in the Galaxy Costumes catalog.
Haley's students competition credits include Title winners at Dancers Inc., High Score Soloists at Hall of Fame, Lead Role winners at Open Call. Her choreography consistently wins High Scores, Best choreography and Special Judges awards.
Besides being an exceptional mentor, Haley instills a love of dance in all her students that will last a lifetime.
Megan "Megz" Alfonso was raised in the Bronx . One of her many accomplishments television show “So You Think You Can Dance” where she became one of the Top 6 finalists. consisted of assisting choreographers Nick Zobrowski at Adrenaline Dance Conventions, Shelia Barker at MPAC, and Cynthia Geffon and Nick Zobrowski at the Choreographer Ball in LA. Megz has traveled all over the US and UK touring with Deca Dance Company and Matrix/Loreal. Megz was an extra in the movie Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist, danced in the iDog commercial 2009, and appeared in the Step Up movie. She has choreographed and danced for singer, Raquel Castro, from "The Voice". She also appeared on Fox 5 where she danced for her crew "Decadance Company " and performed at the Apollo Theatre. In additional, she performed a piece entitled “Four Seasons” at the hip hop festival for London brought to New York . Megz aspires to continue training and bettering herself as a dancer, teacher and choreographer so that she can achieve all of her goals for her future and inspire others to do the same.
Taylor is one of most sought after teachers and choreographers in the country. She is a popular convention teacher and judge for national organizations throughout the US and abroad. We are so proud to have Taylor on our staff
Travis Be rtell
Travis Bertell is born and raised in Long Island, New York. He began his dance training at Michelle Ferraros Dance USA. His fast improvement was gained from working with the industrys top choreographers in both New York and Los Angeles. After finishing high school Travis had moved to Los Angeles to train & improve his movement quality. Now being back on Long Island he is teaching & choreographing for multiple different dance studios & inspiring others with his love for dance. Travis currently is training at Broadway Dance Center in New York City. Travis also is now on Theresa Stone’s professional dance company AbstraKT Beings as well as Megz Alfonso’s company Unique Soulz. As his career is starting as an industry professional, he is very excited to keep growing himself in addition to watching his students grow as well.