ABOUT OUR DIRECTOR:
Michelle Cole – A graduate of Rhode Island College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. She is presently a Kindergarten teacher for the Cumberland School Department, formally teaching Preschool at ‘Little Angel’s Academy’ in Johnston. Michelle has been with The Dance Connection for 26 years as both student and instructor. Her dance education began at the age of 3, while the studio was under the direction of Kathy St. Jean-Deats and continued while under the direction of Cheryl Lawrence-Lima. She has had the privilege of participating in classes taught by Mia Michaels, Cris Judd, Juan Sanchez, Charles Kelly, Rhee Gold and others at various regional and national dance conventions. While a student at Rhode Island College she was enrolled in Ballet classes taught by Eva Marie Pacheco and Ballroom classes taught by Kathy St. Jean-Deats.
A member of the Dance Company for 18 years, she began choreographing her own solos at the age of 14. She has received 1st place, High Gold, and Platinum awards as well as Overall High Scores in her age category. She was also selected as a semi-finalist for ‘Dancer of the Year’.
Ten years ago she began coaching and choreographing for the Dance Team. Her students have competed both regionally and nationally, receiving High Gold, Platinum and Extreme Platinum awards as well as Overall High Scores in Solo, Duet, Trio and Group divisions. Her petite small group ‘Single Ladies’ won the ‘Xcalibur Award’ in 2014 for being the top scoring group for their age division in the entire competition. Her dancers continue to win many special awards including the intensity, entertainment and technique award. Most recently, Michelle was presented with the Top Teacher award three times at Star Systems National Talent Competition; where two of her soloists and one of her groups came in first place overall. She has traveled to Disney World three times, once as a performer and twice as both performer and choreographer.
Michelle has had the pleasure of performing alongside Mario Hilario for the past 5 years, where she has been choreographing a section of the Opening number for ‘Dancing with the Stars of Mentoring’.
Her main objective as a teacher, coach, and choreographer is to bring her passion for dance into the hearts of all of her students.
ABOUT OUR INSTRUCTORS:
Kimberly DiOrio-Rooney - Kim is a graduate of Rhode Island College with a Master’s Degree in Social Work and a B.A. in Psychology. She was an active member of the Rhode Island College Dance Team. She had the honor of taking classes with choreographers that included Chris Elam, Drika Overton, Deb Meurnier and many more. Kim was trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, pointe and tap under Angelica Vessella at Neon Dance Theatre until its closure in 2008. Kim has been a part of The Dance Connection for the past 5 years and coaches for our dance team. Her students have received multiple over all high scores and special awards. Most recently, Kim was awarded the Top Teacher award at Star Systems National Talent Competition when her tap group ‘Let There Be Drums’ came in 1st place. This past April, she performed for the first time with The Total Convergence Dance Company, alongside Mario Hilario, for ‘Dancing with the Stars of Mentoring’.
Katie Ryan - Katie grew up dancing at The Dance Connection and was an active member of The Circle of Excellence Dance Company. She has won various awards competing in dance competitions across New England and her own choreography has been recognized and awarded at competitions. Katie coaches for our dance team where her students have received high gold awards as well as overall high scores. She has performed in Walt Disney World twice and has been a part of the Total Convergence Dance Company, alongside Mario Hilario, performing the opening number for ‘Dancing with the Stars for Mentoring’ for the past 4 years. Katie attended the University of Connecticut for two years where she studied Physical Therapy and was a member of the University’s D1 Dance Team. Katie traveled the country competing in Universal Dance Association College Nationals as well as dancing halftimes for UCONN’s basketball and football games.