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(203) 758-5644

NEFRA SULLIVAN-WIHBEY(OWNER/DIRECTOR)

A highly sought after Dancer, Choreographer, and Director throughout the area. Miss Nefra has studied with professionals such as Henry La Tang, Frank Hatchett, Phil Black and Alvin Ailey ( to name a few). She has staged and choreographed countless professional equity and regional theatre productions and has also choreographed Miss America State and Local pageants, music videos and talent performances for many Miss America hopefuls. After performing Nationally and finishing her studies in New York, Miss Nefra returned to CT in 1988 where she joined forces with her mother Miss Susan as Co-director of Connecticut Dance Theatre& the Arts.

Since then, Miss Nefra has made Connecticut Dance Theatre & the Arts one of the hottest dance, theatre and art schools in the Northeast. Her students are some of the areas most talented performers. Miss Nefra created the Connecticut Dance Theatre & the Arts National Competition Team which to date, ranks in the top 7% of dance schools. Winning top ranking awards such as: Top Teacher, Best Choreography, Outstanding Tapping and Great Technique . Her students have caught the eye of some of the most recognized names in National Judging. Since 2000 Miss Nefra has taken over the school as owner and director.

 


​CONNECTICUT DANCE THEATRE & THE ARTS FACULTY
MISS SIERRA BATISTA (Recreational Pre-School, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop )- Miss Sierra Batista began her dance career with Connecticut Dance Theatre & the Arts at the age of three and became a competitive dance team member at the age of 5. She has been dancing for 15 years and now continues to pursue her love for dance through teaching. Sierra is currently working on her Bachelor's Degree in Biomolecular Science at Central Connecticut State University and she hopes to reach her goal as a pediatric oncology assistant at St. Jude's Research Children's Hospital.
MISS RACHELE CALO (Recreational Pre-School, Jazz and Hip Hop)- Miss Rachele has been studying with Connecticut Dance Theatre & the Arts for 15 years, and has been a competitive dancer for 10 years. She now continues her passion for dance through teaching. She has been working for Turn It Up Dance Challenge for three years, as well as completed an internship for Elite Dance Challenge. She starred as a backup dancer for Michaela Baranov's music video for her hit song "Video". Rachele will now begin working on her Cosmetology License by attending Paul Mitchell the School beginning fall of 2017. 
MISS CRISTINA DUQUETTE (Competition and Recreational Pre-School, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop )​- Miss Cristina Duquette began her dance career with Connecticut Dance Theatre & the Arts at the age of three. Within her dance career, she was asked to join the Connecticut Dance Theatre & the Arts Competition Team and competed all over the state and East Coast, winning many prestigious awards in both group and solo performances. By the age of fourteen, she began assistant teaching. Since, she has actively choreographed routines in tap, jazz, ballet, and hip hop for both recreational and competitive classes. Her group and solo performances have gone on to achieve many judges’ and overall awards. Miss Cristina holds a Connecticut certification in Elementary education. She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with a concentration on Mathematics from Central Connecticut State University and a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction in Technology Integration from Southern New Hampshire University. At the present time, she is currently working as a Curriculum and Instructional Specialist for a Montessori school in Hartford.
MISS JENNIFER ETTER (Competition Jazz, Lyrical and Contemporary) -​ Jennifer Etter has been a dance teacher for the past 14 years. She is very passionate about her work and loves sharing that passion with her students. She specializes in many different genres of dance, as well as all ages and levels. Teachers and students have described her as a “jack of all trades”. In the past years, she has worked for many different studios and a few high school dance teams, such as the Gulf Coast School of Performing Arts, The Conservatory of Ballet Aviv, Creative Dance and Meta Fairburn’s Dance Academy. The dances she has created and perfected have won many awards at various competitions, such as Access Broadway in Biloxi, MS, one being “Best Choreographer”. She has also taught technique and competitive dances for both Chalmette High School and SSA dance teams. Her goal is to enhance her students’ talents and boost their confidence, which is something Jennifer finds very important in order to teach one’s potential in the challenges of dance.

MISS JILLIAN GORMAN (Recreational Pre-School, Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop)- Miss Jill has been dancing her whole life. Starting at Connecticut Dance Theatre and the Arts in 1999, making the competition team in 2005, and started her interest of teaching here as an assistant dance teacher in 2012. She then became a member of the Pennsylvania State University dance club while studying physical therapy, and participates in the 48-hour dance Marathon at PSU every year to support pediatric cancer. Miss Jill is always excited to return to CTDTA to teach and work with the students identifying their individual and collective learning needs and provide a constantly changing, fun environment.

MR. COREY HUTCHINS (Competition Tap and Rhythm Tap)- Corey Hutchins is a Native of Manchester CT and has been tap dancing for 27 years. Hutchins began his studies at The Betty Jane Turner School of Dance (Manchester CT) andThe Artist Collective (Hartford CT). He has studied with Derick K. Grant Lady Dianne Walker, The Late Harold "Stumpy" Cromer, and Clare O'Donnell (also from CT). He has workshopped with The late Gregory Hines, The Late Dr. Jimmy Slyde, Savion Glover , and more. He has been seen on stage at numerous Tap City Performances (New York City Tap Festival) 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2013. In 2004 Corey started  a 6 year run with "Riverdance the Show" where he performed on stages around the world which include Radio City Music Hall (NYC), Pantages Theatre (LA),  Numerous Fox Theatres around the U.S.,  And the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin Ireland. In 2010 Mr. was invited to Perform at The White House for The First Lady Michelle Obama and other Celebrity guests. 2013 Corey Co-formed "Medusa" (A CT based live Jazz band). In February of this year Hutchins was casted as the soloist Tap dancer in The Apollo Theatre's Europe Tour of "James Brown- Get on the Good Foot, a Celebration in Dance." Recently Corey Hutchins Joined the Cast of "Soulwalk" an Original Tap Dance Show Performing In New Jersey earlier this year and at the New Jersey Tap Festival where he was apart of the teaching Faculty in August of this year. 
MISS KAITLYN KING (All levels- Ballet)- Kaitlyn started dancing at local studios in the Kansas City, Missouri area at the age of six, and continued dancing in Topeka, Kansas, through high school-enjoying roles in her student company including Snow Queen and Mouse Queen in the Nutcracker and Czardas Lead in Swan Lake. Kaitlyn was accepted into the Ballet 5:8 Trainee Program in Chicago in the spring of 2013 and began dancing there for the 2013-14 season. She earned a scholarship there for the 2014-15 season and graduated with distinction. While in the program, she had the opportunity to tour with the professional company and also performed soloist and corps roles in the Trainee and School of the Arts ballets. During the summer of 2014, she had the opportunity to attend the Gelsey Kirkland Academy's Repertory Workshop and Milwaukee Ballet's Summer Intensive. Kaitlyn danced with Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet's second company for the 2015-16 season. She joined Vivid Ballet for its inaugural season in 2016-17, and is excited to be dancing there for the 2017-18 season as well. Since joining Vivid, she has had the opportunity to work with guest choreographers and teachers such as Silas Farley and Lars Nelson, from the New York City Ballet, Caleb Mitchell, formerly of Houston Ballet, Vincent Hardy, formerly of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, Steve Rooks, formerly of the Martha Graham Dance Company, and Miro Magloire, the artistic director of New Chamber Ballet. She has also had the opportunity to perform all over Connecticut, as well as in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Hampshire. Kaitlyn's teaching experience started at the age of 13, when she started a ballet program for homeschoolers in Topeka, Kansas. Her second year as a trainee with Ballet 5:8, she taught classes in the Children's Division of their school. Since then, Kaitlyn has enjoyed a wide range of teaching opportunities at studios all over Connecticut.

MISS CONNIE LABBE (Vocal, Piano, Guitar and Saxophone)- Connie Labbe is presently our vocal, piano, saxophone and guitar teacher here at Connecticut Dance Theatre and the Arts.  With a K-12 Music Teaching Certification in both Connecticut and New York, Connie brings her vast experiences in teaching music to our studio here in Prospect. She has established, directed and conducted many children’s choirs to perform at an assortment of venues and competitions in New York State and produced and directed numerous musicals for her Elementary School students.  Children learn in different ways, and “Miss Connie” believes that she can find the best way for your child to learn and perform music, and love it! Miss Connie has over 35 years of Music Teaching Experience a Masters Degree in Music Education K-12 she is a Connecticut and New York State certified Music Educator, Member of Connecticut Music Educators Association, Member of New York State Music Educators Association and a Member of National Music Educators Association.

MISS ERICA MANCINI (Competition Tap and Rhythm Tap)- Erica Mancini is a dancer/ choreographer who resides in Watertown, CT. Starting at the age of 5, she has trained in tap, jazz, ballet, lyrical, contemporary and hip hop dance. She has studied in Los Angeles, CA at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy and currently studies at Broadway Dance Center and Steps on Broadway in NYC. She was awarded the Artstone Global Entertainer Award, Overall Excellence in Tap Award, Gene Kelly Award, Savion Glover Award, and Gregory Hines Award. Erica has traveled to Riesa Germany in 2009 and 2010 to compete in the World Tap Dance Championships representing the United States. As part of the USA Tap Team she placed in the top 4 against 30 other countries. Erica is a former tap dancer for Speaking in Taps Company out of North Andover, MA under the direction of Aaron Tolson. She has performed in several shows and performances in NYC and around the New England area. Erica is currently a tap instructor at CT Dance Theater and the Arts, teaching advanced and intermediate tap technique and competition routines. Throughout her years she has studied with several top choreographers including Savion Glover, Brenda Buffalino, Aaron Tolson, Derick Grant, Barbara Duffy, Acia Gray, Laurie Johnson, Chloe Arnold, and many choreographers from the hit TV show So You Think You Can Dance. As a choreographer her students have won several regional and national awards. Erica’s choreography has been recognized with Overall Choreography Awards, Best Choreography, Overall Technique, Most Entertaining and Overall Performance Awards. Most recently, Erica was recognized as “Choreographer of the Year 2016” at a national competition. She currently travels throughout the U.S with Elite Dance Challenge working both regional and national events. Erica continues to further her dance career studying and performing in NYC and sharing her love of dance with her students.
MISS CHRISTINA RINALDI-SANCHEZ (Competition and Recreational Tap, Jazz and Lyrical)- Miss Christina received her bachelors degree in dance from Manhattan College, New York.  She has performed in the off-Broadway Production of "Move."  While in New York, she was a member of the ensemble with the "Crowd Theater Company."  She has also danced with the "MFA Jack Cole Project" at New York University and assisted in choreographing various projects with Ed Kresley, Professor at Marymount Manhattan College.

MISS KIM THOMPSON (Competition Tap, Jazz and Hip Hop)- Miss Kim has been dancing at Connecticut Dance Theatre and the Arts since the age of 6 and is proud to call CTDTA home. She was a member of the studio’s competition team for a number of years and has been an instructor at the studio for more than 12 years. Over the years, her competitive dances have received numerous choreography, entertainment, and special judges’ awards. In 2005, Kim held the title of Miss Greater Waterbury and was able to compete for the prestigious title of Miss Connecticut.  She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice – Investigative Services and a Master of Science Degree in Elementary Education, both from the University of New Haven.   Upon graduating she was awarded the Student Affairs Leadership Award for her contributions to the campus community.  In addition to teaching at the studio, Kim spent three seasons with the Woodland Hawks High School Dance Team, initially as the Interim Head Coach and later as the Assistant Coach.  She has also spent numerous summers working at YMCA Camp Mataucha in various capacities including: Dance Camp Counselor, Performing Arts Camp Counselor, Unit Director, and most recently Assistant Camp Director. Kim loves working with children, helping them critically think and problem solve, and has spent many years working in area school systems.  She currently teaches sixth grade language arts and social studies. 

MR. MATT TORLA (Competition Hip Hop)- Over the years, Matt Torla has been trained in the styles of hip hop, break dancing and house.  While attending the   University of Connecticut, Matt was able to link up with Kuda Air Max, the breaking crew on campus.  It was with their help and motivation that he really began to delve into dance and shortly afterward joined UConn’s Dance Team, a hip hop group ENCORE, and started his own group, iLLumin8 Dance Crew.  As his involvement increased, so did his passion for dance, and he eventually had the opportunity to assist with Nationals choreography under Toya Ambrose.  Out of UConn now, Matt is an instructor at several studios and teaches workshops regularly.  He also continues to travel and choreograph high school and collegiate Nationals routines under TRA Choreography.  Matt currently trains with Team Leggoo and Double Up Dance Group, where he continues to hone his skills in dance, instruction, and performance.

Professional Affiliations


Connecticut Dance Theater & the Arts is a proud member of the following organizations:

Dance Educators of America

 Dance Masters of America

Professional Dance Teachers Association

 National Association of Dance and Affiliated Artists

Actors Equity Association

Broadcast Music Inc. 

Licensee of American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers 


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Contact Information

Connecticut Dance Theatre & The Arts
9 Old Schoolhouse Rd
Prospect, CT 06712
Phone: (203) 758-5644
Email: info@conndta.com

Business Hours

Mon - Thu: 04:30 PM - 07:30 PM
Sat: 09:00 AM - 01:00 PM
Sun: Closed
Appointments Available

Payment Options

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