Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio
Tradition...with an EDGE
Studios in Warwick, Cranston, Smithfield, RI
Winner PROJO Best RI Dance School 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Staff Bios
CDDS Staff are CERTIFIED and proud to be members of these amazing organizations:
Ashley Andreis
Ashley began dancing at the age of 5 and received her early ballet training at Eastern Connecticut Ballet. She attended several summer programs including Boston Ballet and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, as well a performing in the Youth America Grand Prix for 2 years.

Ashley completed her last three years of schooling with Festival Ballet in Providence, and soon after joined the company at age 17. She has performed in numerous productions, such as Balanchine’s Rubies and Donazetti Variations, Antony Tudors Leaving are Fading, danced the lead in Romeo and Juliet, and various soloist roles in Nutcracker, including the Snow Queen and the Sugar Plum Fairy. Other various works have included pieces by Viktor Plotnikov, Avichai Scher, and Mihailo Djuric.  She also has danced as a guest artist for many schools and companies throughout the New England.

Ashley’s passion for the art of ballet has not only allowed her to perform, but has also lead her to quite the career as an instructor.  She shares her art as a faculty member at several studios in and around Massachusetts, Rhode Island and in San Diego.  She is always excited to train and influence her students in the wonderful world of ballet!
Miss Ashley teaches Company Ballet!

Megan Amalfitano has been a CDDS dancer for 18 years, and staff member for 5 years. She is a former Company Member and Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Soloist.  She graduated from the prestigious Dance Teachers Club of Boston Teacher's Training Course and has attended the Hip Hop Intensive at the DanceLife Retreat Center.  Megan is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a degree in Youth and Development and is the Art teacher at Immaculate Conception School.
Miss Megan teaches Preschool, Primary, Acro, Hip Hop, Level 1, 2, 3 and 4!

Phylicia (Denson) Proulx  was a Carolyn Dutra Dancer for 16 years and has been a staff member for 3 years.  She is a former  CDDS Company Member and Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Soloist, notably the Sugar Plum Fairy!  Phylicia is a graduate from Bryant University with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. She is currently  the Purchasing Manager for Pet Food Experts.
Miss Phylicia is an Office Staff Member and teaches all levels of classes!

David Dixon
David has coached competitive gymnastics with the Ocean State School of Gymnastics for nearly a decade. During that time he graduated from Rhode Island College with a B.S. in Community Health and Wellness, and went on to become a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  We love David's enthusiasm, knowledge and energy and are SO happy to have him on our team!
Mr. David teaches all levels of Acrobatics!

Blair-Victoria Dutra is the Studio & Accounts Manager for the three Carolyn Dutra Dance Studios and Co-Director of Dance For Art, Inc.  She has been with the Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio from the womb, and is a former CDDS Company Member, dance captain, and Southern RI Youth Ballet Company Member.  She is a current member of the National Dance Education Organization and Dance Alliance. Blair-Victoria pursued her educational career receiving a Masters of Social Work from Boston University and a B.A. in Psychology from Roger Williams University.  She is a Registered Yoga Teacher with Yoga Alliance, which acknowledges the completion of a 200hr yoga teacher training with a Registered Yoga School and Karma Kids Children's Yoga Teacher Certified. Blair-Victoria is the proud daughter of Miss Carolyn and honored to be a bigger part of the family business.
Miss Blair is now a certified POUND Pro Instructor!
Miss Blair teaches Kids, Dancers, and Adults Yoga is is the Company Liason!

Juliette de Roxas is the Studio & Production Manager for the three Carolyn Dutra Dance Studios and has been teaching dance for 20 years.  Juliette is a Certified Instructor with Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. RWID provides inclusive dance classes created specifically for kids and adults with individual learning differences and other special needs. She is a former Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio Company Member and Southern RI Youth Ballet Company Soloist.  Juliette is a Certified Coach and Evaluator for Dance Proficiency Requirements for RI High Schools, Graduate of Providence College & Former Captain of the Providence College Dance Team.  Juliette is a member of, and certified to teach by, the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston, has attended the Dance Teacher Conference in NYC and the DanceLife Retreat Center Conferences in Massachusetts. Recently, Miss Juliette was awarded by the Ronald McDonald House of Providence Women’s Leadership Awards for being an influential women in the community who make a positive impact and demonstrate exceptional leadership.
Miss Juliette teaches Mommy and Me, Preschool, Primary, Acro, Level 1 Hip Hop!

Diana Doorley is a former CDDS Company Member and Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Member.  She is a graduate of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston, Dance Education Training Course and is currently a student at Providence College majoring in History and Secondary Education.  DIana is a member of the Providence College Dance Company and loves continuing to learn and perfom.  Diana knows all the in's and out's of our CDDS studio life and we are so happy she is a part of our team!  You can find Diana in the office or in the studio sharing her love of dance!
Miss Diana teaches Preschool, Primary, Acro and more!

Tara Gragg received her early training in her hometown of Flint, MI at the Flint School of Performing Arts. She went on to graduate from the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Ballet. During her time with Oklahoma Festival Ballet, OU’s performing company, Tara had the opportunity to perform featured roles in works by renowned choreographers and was fortunate to participate in an international tour to Shanghai, China. Since graduation, she has danced with City Ballet of San Diego, Tulsa Ballet, and Grand Rapids Ballet; her professional repertoire includes ballets by George Balanchine, Twyla Tharp, August Bournonville, Paul Taylor, and Lew Christensen.  She was also a founding company dancer with NomadicLIMBS, a summer dance collective based in Milwaukee, WI from 2011-2012. In 2012, Tara moved to Chicago and performed with many companies in the city including Chicago Repertory Ballet, the Ruth Page Civic Ballet, and Aerial Dance Chicago; she also appeared as a featured solo dancer and aerialist in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. Tara began dancing with Island Moving Company in the summer of 2014.
Miss Tara teaches Company Level Ballet!

Shane Farrell is a native of Rhode Island and his dancing has taken him to such places as New York City all the way to Los Angeles, CA. At the age of seven he began taking acrobatics classes and eventually furthered his training in all areas of dance.  Shane has trained with the Brae Crest School of Ballet and has danced with the State Ballet of Rhode Island where he had the opportunity to perform in such ballets as Coppelia, Walpurgis Night, The Sleeping Beauty, and Giselle.  He is a graduate and scholarship recipient from the Dance Teachers Club of Boston and has also appeared on several TV shows including MTV's MADE, as well as being a semi-finalist in Las Vegas for the hit FOX TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" in 2007.  Shane can also be seen dancing alongside Richard Gere in the film Hachi. Aside from performing, Shane is also a choreographer. Some of his choreographic works include Island Moving Company, America's Junior Miss Pageant, Providence College Dance Team, as well as various dance studios and ballet schools throughout New England. Currently, he is a company member with the Island Moving Company in Newport, RI.
Mr. Shane teaches Company Level and Adult Ballet!

Rachel Ferrara is a member and scholarship recipient of National Dance Education Association (NDEO) and Rhode Island Dance Alliance.  Rachel is a graduate of the Dance Teachers Club of Boston, Dance Education Training Course, received an award for the Greatest Aptitude for teaching dance, and the Caitlin Ledwell award as Faculty Choice.  She is a former CDDS Company Member and Southern RI Youth Ballet Member.  She is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a degree in Youth Development. Rachel was the recipient of the Paulette Harwood Ballet Scholarship at the 2015 DETC, the highest written and performance scores in Ballet.  Most recently, Miss Rachel received her Acrobatic Arts Certification Primary-Level 6.  She received a perfect score on her written exam.
Miss Rachel is now a certified POUND Pro Instructor, licensed Zumba Instructor and a member of the Dance Teacher's Club of Boston!
Miss Rachel teaches Mommy and Me, Preschool, Primary, Level 1, 2, 3, 4, Hip Hop, Acro, Zumba, Pound and Company

Kaitlyn Hutchins

Heather Howard is a former CDDS Company Member as well as a former member of the Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet. She is a graduate of UMASS Amherst where she received her Bachelor's degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management and competed and performed as a member of the UMASS Dance Team. She also danced with the WBNA Solar Power Dance Team. Heather has returned to Rhode Island after 7 years abroad in the United Arab Emirates where she held various customer service management positions, most recently in the studio manager role at a boutique yoga, Pilates and dance studio in Abu Dhabi. She is thrilled to be back to share her love of dance as a part of the CDDS team!
Heather teaches all levels of dance!

Chryssa Mitchell  is a Certified Instructor with Rhythm Works Integrative Dance. RWID provides inclusive dance classes created specifically for kids and adults with individual learning differences and other special needs. She is an instructor at the Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio, a former Carolyn Dutra Company Member, former member and soloist with the Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Company, and was accepted into the prestigious Pennsylvania Ballet School Summer Program. She has successfully completed the Dance Teachers Club of Boston’s certified dance instructor program and received the award for highest Ballet scores, written and performance, in her graduating class. She is an Early Childhood Educator with a bachelors degree from Wheelock College, Boston, MA and has completed coursework in the Special Education Masters program at Lesley University, Cambridge, MA. In continuing her dance education, Chryssa has also attended the “8 and under curriculum” and “ballet intensive” workshops at the DanceLife Retreat Center, Norton, MA.
Miss Chryssa teaches Mommy and Me, Preschool, Primary, Level 1, 2 and Preparatory! 

Jenna Mixner is a Dean College alumni and is very excited to continue her journey as a staff member at Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio. Jenna started dancing at the age of 3 under the direction of former Radio City Music Hall Rockette, Carolyn Dutra in Warwick, Rhode Island. After high school she decided to pursue a career in the dance field and continued her education at Dean College where she earned her Bachelor’s in Dance Performance and Choreography. With the help of Miss Carolyn, she was awarded the Dance Teacher’s Club of Boston Dean College scholarship worth $70,000. During her time at Dean, Jenna choreographed more than 10 of her own pieces to be shown on the stage, as well as assisted in producing a show her senior year. She has also performed in original works by Bill Evans, Kristina Berger, Jeremy Howes, Todd Shanks, and more in Dean College’s Dance Company.
Aside from teaching at CDDS, Jenna is an Assistant Coach of the Braintree High School Junior Varsity Dance Team as well as a teacher at another dance school and Massachusetts.

Kayleah Pensalfini has a background in dance having studied at studios in RI.  She is a graduate of Rhode Island College with her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Dance Performance.

Natalie Phelps is a former student and instructor at the Diane Kelley Dance Studio in Massachusetts.  She trained in many forms of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, modern, contemporary, improvisation, and hip hop under instructors such as Diane Kelley, Katy Spreadbury, Sheri Nikitas, Mary Grace McNally, and Karin Tremblay.   She danced competitively receiving numerous special awards for stage presence and authenticity.  Natalie continued dancing at Providence College as a member of the PC Dance Company, performing within the school and in the community.  She is currently a teacher at Achievement First Providence Academy Middle School in Providence.

Christie Staudt has been with the Carolyn Dutra Dance Studio for over 20 years!    A teacher for the past 10 years, she is a former CDDS Company Member and Southern Rhode Island Youth Ballet Soloist.  She is a former Member of the WNBA Solar Power Dance Team, performed on stage for Rascal Flatts and is Graduate of CCRI.  Christie is a versatile teacher, instructing all levels from Preschool to adult!
Miss Christie teaches Preschool, Level 1, 2, 3, 4 , Preparatory and Pee Wee Company!

Guest Teachers

Jacqueline Baligian
Jacqueline Briar Baligian is a dance educator/choreographer/producer with over 25 years of experience. Born and raised in Rhode Island, Jacqueline moved to L.A after graduating high school, to attend California State University majoring in Theatre Arts & Dance. From there she was on to NYC where she became a scholarship student at the Broadway Dance Center. While studying at BDC Jacqueline was hired to co-direct the children's dance program. Since then, Jacqueline has taught around the world including England, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Her students have appeared in commercials, at Disney World , on Broadway, numerous television shows , and as Radio City Music Hall Rockettes.Also a performer, Jacqueline has danced in live industrials for Suave shampoo with the star of Modern Family, Sofia Vergara and . Jacqueline also recently performed on the Rachael Ray Halloween Special with Rachael Ray, Pee Wee Herman, and magicians Penn & Teller and on the Regis and Kelly Show with Kelly Ripa and Nick Lachey.  
Currently Jacqueline travels all across the country as a master class teacher, choreographer, and competition judge. Her choreography has won numerous awards and cash prizes. Jacqueline assisted teacher/choreographer, Sheila Barker on a show starring tap legend Savion Glover, entitled “Invitations to a Dancer”. She recently choreographed the opening number, starring Jerry O’Connell for the Rachael Ray show’s first episode  of the 6th season and was thrilled to be asked back to choreograph Rachael Ray’s 1,000th episode with Regis Philbin and Rosie O’Donnell. As a producer, Jacqueline has assisted on dance segments for Good Morning America, the Today Show, the Food Network, and many more.
Jacqueline was voted one of the most popular judges/instructors by “Dance Spirit Magazine”. One accomplishment that Jacqueline is especially proud of is the creation of "Dance Dice", a unique game/teaching tool for teachers to use in class with their students. In 2011, Jacqueline made her debut as a Broadway Producer, being one of the producers of Broadway revival of “Godspell.”
Tiffany Billings
Tiffany Billings is a Radio City Rockette who has been a member of the iconic precision dance company since 2011. She most recently worked as the assistant dance captain for The Rockettes during the 2019-2020 Christmas Spectacular season. Tiffany has appeared on the Tony Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show, Christmas in Rockefeller Center, The Chew, The Wendy Williams Show and she has also been featured in Vogue Magazine. Tiffany has extensive ballet, jazz, and precision dance training, and she truly loves to teach and share her passion of dance with her students.
Catherine Nicholson
Catherine Nicholson began dancing at the age of three and immediately fell in love. She was trained at Diane Kelley Dance Studio in West Boylston, MA and was selected to dance on the DKDS Competition team at the age of eight. Catherine performed and competed in all genres dance. She was Dance Master’s of America’s Petite Miss Dance of America 2004 and has received accolades in multiple styles of dance at both regional and national levels. After graduating high school Catherine received a Bachelor's degree in Communications from  the University of Massachusetts Amherst where she was a member and captain of the University's Dance Team.  During her junior and senior year she was both captain and coach of the student run organization and led the team to national rankings both years. Her extensive dance team experience led her to become a National Dance Alliance instructor which gave her the opportunity to travel the country and coach high school and college level dance teams.   After graduating college Catherine decided to pursue her passion for teaching dance and began teaching full-time across New England.  When she is not teaching dance, Catherine can be found instructing Lagree fitness classes on Newbury St in Boston at Strengthen Lengthen Tone (SLT).  
Anna McDonnell is extremely dedicated teaching and choreographing, and loves dance more than anything else! She trained in all styles growing up at Patti Eisenhauer Dance Center in Franklin MA, and spent some time in college taking dance courses as well. Back at PEDC, she currently works with both recreational students & competitive companies, teaching/assiting tap, acro, lyrical, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, and ballet weekly. She choreographs around 20 routines per season in various styles for students to compete at dance competitons. Anna also teaches an adult tap class and tap private lessons through Masters Dance Academy in Norwood MA. Outside of dance, she holds a bachelor's degree in psychology with a minor in childhood studies from Bridgewater State University and has applied this is many ways from tutoring to working in a clinical setting with disabled children. Anna is passionate about using dance to teach about mental health & about using mental health tools/techniques to improve the individual dancer. She loves working with people of all ages and abilities and is commited to helping others grow as dancers and as members of our community.